Executive Intelligence Review


Vienna Reiterates, Austria Will Not Expel Russian Diplomats

April 5, 2018 (EIRNS)—Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz yesterday repeated his argument made last week, on why his nation would not go along with Britain for the expulsion of Russian diplomats, over British charges against Russia in the Skripal poisoning case. Kurz said on the Puls4 television talk show yesterday, as reported by TASS,

“One-third of the EU countries did not expel Russian diplomats, and we were among them. Together with the Foreign Minister, I made a decision not to do this, as we traditionally maintain good relations with Russia, and are a neutral country, and act as the headquarters for many international organizations such as of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.”

He went on,

“Every day hundreds of diplomats hold talks in Vienna, on a neutral territory, and we develop our role in building bridges. We could have made another decision, there are different arguments, but I think we made the right decision.”

Others in the EU are speaking out. Exemplary of the lack of support for the British anti-Russian crusade, the Brussels correspondent for Germany’s ARD media, Karin Bensch, blasted the EU as “caricaturing its own values” in the Skripal case.

“In a state of law, the presumption of innocence is assumed—including in the Skripal case. But with the expulsion of Russian diplomats, the EU has encroached on this very principle and caricatured its own values.”

Also, in an interview with ARD TV’s “Morning Magazine,” German government coordinator for Russia policy Gernot Erler called for a “break” in the diplomatic war between Britain and its sympathizers, and Russia. “I think we should now recognize the threat of an escalation and say: we need a break,” Erler said. There are “no alternatives” to talks between East and West.

Also in Germany, a group of artists, scientists and engineers in Dresden has written an open letter to Angela Merkel criticizing her behavior in the Skripal case and demanding a de-escalation in the relationship with Russia. The letter was initiated by Angela Hampel, a modernist painter, who had co-founded a circle in opposition to the East German ruling SED party in December 1989.

The letter, which was excerpted in the Sächsische Zeitung, explains that “sanctions against Russia were implemented without any concrete evidence.” Merkel, they wrote, should remember the criteria for scientific publications, from when she was a physicist:

“When a physicist discovers a new elementary particle, or a chemist synthesizes a new substance, he must offer precise and irrefutable arguments so that such a discovery is accepted in the relevant competent sector. Power plays or media hype are no help. Stringent evidence is required....

“It looks like the opposite goes in politics: Whoever has power need not provide evidence. A couple of allegations, artfully formulated and presented as pseudo-evidence, are enough to convince the mass media, and thereby, a large section of the population, that sanctions are legitimate.”

Thus, it is not the crime which is the starting point for sanctions, but the intended sanctions are the starting point for the evidence. The signers demand of the government “that it emphatically act for a de-escalation in the Russia policy and for an improvement of relations.”