The Swiss branch of a European civic rights group has protested against plans by the federal government to receive the new Austrian chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel.This content was published on March 1, 2000 - 17:05
The Swiss branch of a European civic rights group has protested against plans by the federal government to receive the new Austrian chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel.
In a full-page advertisement in the prestigious Neue Zürcher Zeitung daily, the organisation appealed to the Swiss to write to the president, Adolf Ogi, and urge him not to meet Schüssel.
It said Switzerland would become the first foreign country to receive the new chancellor, and would be legitimising his government as a result. The group also said Schüssel, the head of the conservative People's Party, was responsible for giving the far-right Freedom Party respectability by allowing it into a coalition.
The organisation also called on Berne to break off all contacts with Austrian government representatives from the Freedom Party, and to express Switzerland's deep concern about political developments in Austria.
It added that the full-page notice had been funded by private donations, and that it would continue its campaign with further advertisements in other newspapers.
The advertisement includes an appeal for support by Austrian citizens, which first appeared in the International Herald Tribune last week.
The Swiss government has so far refused to join European Union attempts to isolate the new Austrian government. Swiss ministers have repeatedly said they consider the composition of the coalition in Vienna to be an internal matter, and would judge the government by its actions.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry announced that the Austrian foreign minister, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, would be making her first visit to Switzerland next week.
Ferrero-Waldner, a member of the People's Party, will hold talks with her Swiss counterpart, Joseph Deiss, in Berne on March 8.
From staff and wire reports
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