MONTREAL (Nov. 2)
Canada will consider asking the United Nations to withhold the pension of former Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, now the President of Austria, External Affairs Minister Joe Clark told the House of Commons Saturday.
Clark spoke in response to Liberal MP Sheila Finestone who called for an independent inquiry into Waldheim’s Nazi past, specifically recent allegations that he participated in atrocities. Finestone said Canada should press the UN to withhold Waldheim’s retirement pension which amounts to $81,500 (Canadian) a year, until an inquiry establishes his guilt or innocence.
Clark said he would consider the request, adding that Canada has made an effort to determine whether an independent tribunal should be established to delve into Waldheim’s past.
“We checked with all the available files that exist in the UN and elsewhere and we are consulting with other countries to see if there is action that would be appropriate for Canada to take or for others to initiate,” Clark said.
He also said that Canada is examining new allegations that Waldheim participated in a brutal Nazi “pacification operation” that cost the lives of thousands in Yugoslavia during World War II. The allegations were published in The Washington Post last week. Waldheim denied them, although an aide to the Austrian President admitted at a press conference that Waldheim was in the area where the “pacification operation” took place.