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Russia, Austria have potential to cultivate ties - Austria’s president

"I am very glad that relations between Russia and Austria are traditionally good," Van der Bellen said
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen Ronald Zak/AP
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen
© Ronald Zak/AP

VIENNA, May 13. /TASS/. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen believes he can contribute to the further development of traditionally good relations between Russia and Austria. He said as much in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman in the run-up to the first Sochi Dialogue Russian-Austrian forum scheduled for May 15.

"I am very glad that relations between Russia and Austria are traditionally good. I would say that they are very good and have a long history. I hope that I will be able to contribute to their further improvement. During my visit to Sochi, we will launch the Sochi Dialogue between representatives of businesses, arts, sports and other areas of the so-called civil society," Van der Bellen said.

"It is apparent that we have had good relations in the oil and gas sector for decades. I believe that Austria can offer a lot in this area, namely, everything related to environmental technologies, which make it possible to protect the environment. During my previous foreign trips I noticed that several companies almost got a foothold there (in Russia - TASS)," he stressed.

He cited the Doppelmayr Austrian-Swiss group, which specializes in manufacturing ropeways and equipment for them, as an example. According to the president, the company based in Wolfurt, Austria, took part in the construction of ski lifts in Sochi.

During a meeting in Vienna in June 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen agreed to facilitate the realization of plans aimed at establishing the Sochi Dialogue public forum, which should become a platform for informal cooperation between Russian and Austrian civil societies.

On March 12, Russian and Austrian Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Karin Kneissl signed a statement on setting up the Sochi Dialogue forum.

The forum is co-chaired by Russian Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko and Christoph Leitl, former head of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and current President of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry.