BRUSSELS (Sep. 3)
The European Community has criticized Austrian President Kurt Waldheim for his recent visit to Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The E.C. Commission called the visit a “breach in the international solidarity against Iraq.”
The European commissioner in charge of transport, Karel Van Miert, last week summoned the Austrian charge d’affaires in Brussels to the commission’s headquarters, to express the views of the 17-member E.C. executive body.
“I noted that there was solidarity against Iraq not only in the community but also elsewhere, and this was not the case with this unilateral move.” the European commissioner was quoted as saying about the Waldheim visit, the first by a Western leader since Iraq invaded Kuwait.
The Austrian president, who has been diplomatically isolated by most Western European leaders because of his attempts to conceal his Nazi past, returned from the Iraqi capital on Aug. 26 with 96 Austrian citizens who had been detained since the Aug. 2 invasion.
Diplomatic source in Brussels noted that Waldheim’s unilateral move is likely to have a negative impact on the Austrian drive to join the European Community.