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Switzerland calls on Austria to maintain policy of tolerance

The Swiss government has called on the new coalition in Austria (pictured) to ensure tolerance towards all sectors of society. The cabinet said it was watching the situation in Vienna closely.

This content was published on February 4, 2000 - 14:06

The Swiss government has called on the new coalition in Austria to ensure tolerance towards all sectors of society. The cabinet said it was watching the situation in Vienna closely.

In a statement, the cabinet said it was confident that Switzerland's traditionally good relations with Austria would continue, despite the inclusion of the far-right Freedom Party in the Austrian coalition.

Switzerland will closely follow developments in Austria, particularly the government's commitment to ensure respect, tolerance and understanding for all people, irrespective of their origin, religion or opinions, the statement said.

The cabinet also reiterated its rejection of every form of intolerance and suspicion towards foreigners.

Before the inauguration of the new government, Switzerland's policy was to call for the respect of the democratic process in Austria. The foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, said earlier this week the government would judge the Freedom Party, led by Jörg Haider, by its actions.

Only one of the four parties in the Swiss government, the Social Democrats, came out in support of the European Union's threat of sanctions against Austria.

A foreign ministry spokesman refused to be drawn on what Switzerland would do if Austria was isolated by its fellow EU-member states.

From staff and wire reports

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