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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal   Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Stakeout Following Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C., February 8, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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QUESTION: I've got a couple of questions I would like to ask you about Mr. Haider and the situation in Austria. There's some concern. Can you explain - I know you have in the various forums - but can you explain why the reaction to Mr. Haider's party being part of the government is so strong on the European side? But more particularly on the American side?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that there are two parts to this. Basically, Austria has been a country of good standing within the EU, which is a community of democratic and human rights values, as well as a way that Europe is pulling together. And when a country such as that has an election in which there has been an appeal to some policies which are repugnant -- re-statements about World War II or immigration policies or minority policies that are not within the mainstream of where Europe is going --I think it is troublesome.

I have made clear, as has Ambassador Hall, to now Chancellor Schuessel that it's very important for them to live up to the words in their preamble where they are saying that they will stay within the mainstream. What I am troubled by is Mr. Haider who makes one statement one day and then retracts it and then says something equally bad the next. And I think that we have to now watch what the government does and keep - obviously - talking to the Austrian people. But there is also a concern that in some other countries, how there is the possibility of extremist right wings. And I think we need to make clear where our values are.

Clearly, the Austrians have a right to elect whom they want. But the United States has a right to have a reaction.

QUESTION: Is it possible that the reaction will cause a backfire to take place in Austria, that the extremists, as you say, will come out stronger than they are now?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: There are those who say that that is possible. But I think that Americans who believe that making statements about Hitler's employment policies and immigration policies that don't welcome anybody or treating your minorities as if they don't count, Americans have a right to react to that. The Europeans did also. I think we just need to watch this on a day-to-day basis.

[End of Document]
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