Remarks With Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 4, 2016


SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I’m very happy to welcome my friend Sebastian Kurz, the Foreign Minister of Austria, to Washington – his first trip since I’ve been Secretary, though we have seen each other many, many times because of the extraordinary hospitality of the Austrian Government hosting the talks that we had on Iran and on Syria. Very important – two communiques came out of Vienna as a result of the work we did there, which had the start of the cessation of hostilities. And, of course, we negotiated the final moments of the Iran negotiation as well as many other meetings there. So the hospitality was tremendous and we’re very, very grateful for that.

Austria is also playing a very important role right now regarding the enormous challenge of migration in Europe. This is a challenge of enormous humanitarian consequence, but also strategic and political consequence, and it has a major impact on every country that has been affected, so we look forward to talking today about the various ways in which this pressure can be relieved. Austria has been a leader in helping to stop the flow, frankly, to give a breathing space to be able to make decisions about other causes of this – like Syria, for instance – and other economic challenges that countries face. But it’s a global problem. It does not belong just to Europe; it’s a global problem and we all need to be part of the solution.

In addition to that, Austria will assume responsibilities as the chair of the OSCE in 2017, and so we’re beginning to talk about those pressures and challenges and we welcome that leadership role as well.

And finally, Austria is also a member of our coalition in the fight against ISIL, Daesh. We’re making significant progress at this point in time, but there are still great hurdles ahead of us and the fight is – as we’ve seen in Brussels and Paris and Ankara and elsewhere, it continues to pose a threat. So it’s a serious conversation. Austria has been an important partner in that. We have other economic challenges – the TTIP and other things – a lot to talk about.

Welcome. Happy to have you here. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER KURZ: Thank you so much, John, for receiving us. It’s great to be in Washington today. We are very thankful that you were present in Vienna so many times for the Iran nuclear talks and also for the talks on Syria. We also are very thankful that we have the opportunity to be here in Washington today. As you mentioned, we are pretty much affected by the refugee crisis and we are working hard to reduce the flow of refugees but also of illegal migrants coming to the European Union, and we are preparing the Austrian chairmanship in the OSCE in the next year. The U.S. is a strong partner, especially in the fight against radicalization and terrorism, and this will also be the main issue for us during our chairmanship. So thank you very much for giving us the chance to be here today.

SECRETARY KERRY: Pleasure, my pleasure. Welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER KURZ: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.