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Foreign minister: Austria neither 51st US state nor branch of Russia

Foreign minister: Austria neither 51st US state nor branch of Russia

Austria was neither the 51st U.S. state nor a branch of Russia, the foreign minister said Wednesday in clarifying the country's position on a proposed U.S. missile defense shield in eastern Europe.
Ursula Plassnik's comment, made after a Council of Ministers meeting, was related to remarks last week by Norbert Darabos, the country's defense minister, about the planned shield.
Darabos said in a newspaper interview he did not believe there was a credible threat that would justify building the anti-missile system. He urged U.S. officials to seek a compromise with Russia, which fiercely opposes the plan.
The United States countered that Darabos's comments were unhelpful and reflected Cold War thinking. The U.S. says the system, which would include 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar based in the Czech Republic, would help guard against a potential threat from Iran.
"Austria is not the 51st U.S. state, but also not a branch of Russia," Plassnik said, according to a statement.
Plassnik said she was not criticizing Darabos, but that his comments had unleashed "enthusiastic media reactions" in Russia that needed clarification.
Plassnik has previously said that Austria is not the 51st U.S. state. In April, her comment was related to BAWAG P.S.K., an Austrian bank bought by a U.S.-led consortium that refused to continue serving Cuban customers. BAWAG had defended its policy by pointing to U.S. law, which prohibits not only American businesses but also their subsidiaries abroad from conducting any commerce with Cuban nationals.


Updated : 2020-12-01 20:40 GMT+08:00