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    6 April 2011

    Director-General of United Nations Office at Vienna Marks 50th Anniversary of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

    VIENNA, 6 April (UN Information Service) - At a special discussion panel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) Yury Fedotov described the Convention as the bedrock of diplomacy.

    Addressing an audience at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna today Mr. Fedotov said the Convention was an important milestone in the history of diplomatic relations: "In the 50 years since its adoption 186 countries have ratified the Convention. It is the fundamental framework for all international relations between States, helping them to work together to build peace, stability and development."

    Speaking at the event were the Director of the Diplomatic Academy Hans Winkler, the Head of the Department of Public International Law at the Austrian Foreign Ministry Gregor Schusterschitz, and the welcome remarks were given by the President of Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria (UNA-Austria) and former Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel.

    The Vienna Convention of 1961 outlines the rules of diplomatic relations to facilitate friendly relations between States and to enable States to develop economic, cultural and scientific relations. Among other things the Convention sets out the privileges of a diplomatic mission and provides the legal basis for diplomatic immunity.

    The event entitled '50th Anniversary of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations - the Past, the Present and the Future' has been organized by UNA-Austria and the Diplomatic Academy in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna.

    Given the important role played by Austria in facilitating peaceful relations among States and as a major supporter of the United Nations, Mr. Fedotov said it was fitting that the Convention was signed in Vienna: "For over 30 years, the Government of Austria and the City of Vienna have been generous hosts to the United Nations, in the spirit of the Vienna Convention. I am very pleased to thank Austria for its firm commitment to the ideals of the United Nations and its longstanding support." As one of the four headquarters of the United Nations, Vienna had become an important hub for promoting peace and development, he said.

    Mr. Fedotov outlined the important work done by the Vienna-based organizations in addressing issues of global importance: "Their work is fully integrated into the UN agenda for peace, development and human rights." The Director-General of UNOV and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently told the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the necessity of integration and international cooperation to confront global challenges effectively.

    "Diplomacy is the lynchpin for all such efforts," he said, "Only by working together can we create a better world - a world in which people have opportunities and hopes for the future; in which communities are free of crime and violence; in which Governments can provide for the health and safety of their citizens and govern effectively."

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    Anne Thomas
    Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
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