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Ansprache beim Neujahrsempfang des Herrn Bundespräsidenten (14. Feber 2023)

Your Excellency, esteemed Federal President!
Esteemed First Lady Doris!
Your Excellency, esteemed Federal Minister Alexander Schallenberg!
Excellencies, dear colleagues!
Ladies and gentlemen!

It is with sentiments of profound emotion and gratitude that today I once again have the honor, as Dean and on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Austria, to wish you all the best for a Happy New Year. I am even happier to do it today, because it is the first time since 2020 that it is possible to do it again in this festive assembly and not in a very limited context due to the pandemic.

First, allow me to congratulate you once again, dear Federal President, also on behalf of my colleagues here, on your re-election as Federal President for a second six-year term by the Austrian people and on your inauguration two weeks ago. May you, as in the past, be blessed with happiness and success, good health and a happy hand in the discharge of your duties for the next six years!

The last six years have certainly not always been easy. But with wisdom and balanced judgment you managed again and again to smooth out many ripples and not to lose the overview even in difficult situations.

What we especially need these days is confidence and courage. Your Excellency has repeatedly given courage to the Austrian people and to all of us in these six years.

Now we sincerely wish you this good courage, good luck, success and God's blessing for his second term, which is starting!

May we be granted a moment of breath and trust! First of all, allow me to express our solidarity and deep sadness to the people of the Republic of Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic at the great loss of life caused by the earthquake in south-eastern Turkey and north-western Syria.
In 2022, we were initially happy with the containment of the corona pandemic. Unfortunately, the Russian Federation launched a military strike against Ukraine on February 24th.

As Pope Francis said in his last Message for the World Day of Peace: While a vaccine against Covid-19 has been found, an adequate solution against war has not yet been found

The war in Ukraine is devastating innocent victims and spreading insecurity, not only for those directly affected, but in a widespread and indiscriminate way for everyone, even for those thousands of kilometers away who suffer its collateral effects.

Russia's brutal war of aggression in Ukraine has reduced the European security order to rubble. The Russian president has broken international law, defied borders, committed land expropriations. The Russian attack is an attack on all the lessons the world has learned from the two world wars of the last century.

Unfortunately, the non-compliance with international law by one of the countries of the United Nations Security Council also does not facilitate the resolution of many other conflicts around the world.

For the future, there is an urgent need for peace in Ukraine and other war-torn countries. Unfortunately, after eleven months of war, there are no serious peace initiatives that can end the suffering of the Ukrainian population and the massive destruction as quickly as possible and create the conditions for a just and lasting peace.

A just peace that does not reward land grabbing or leave the Ukrainian people at the mercy and violence of its occupiers. Until peace comes, it is a human requirement that we stand with those who are attacked, threatened and oppressed. With this too we put a light of hope in the darkness of injustice.

Today's worrying geopolitical scenario therefore asks diplomats to rethink itself with creative audacity, rediscovering the profound meaning of its being the art of the possible.

We need to build and maintain a peace which will be authentic only if it is a peace in truth, a peace in justice, a peace in solidarity and a peace in freedom.
In addition to the efforts needed for peace, the world faces the challenge of climate change. Climate change is increasingly becoming the most pressing problem facing humanity.

Your Excellency, you have invited us on various occasions not to lose courage and hope despite the current and growing crises. At the same time, you haven't shied away from addressing problems and putting your finger on the wound.

We are called to face the challenges of our world with responsibility and compassion. We must renew our efforts to promote peace actions to end conflicts and wars that continue to cause victims and poverty; to take concerted care of our common home and take clear and effective action to combat climate change; fight the virus of inequality and adopt adequate measures to promote acceptance and integration.

In Austria, which has enjoyed such peace for many decades, much of what has long been attempted and often even accomplished and implemented with admirable commitment. May it also be successful in the future, for the good of the citizens of this country, but also as a stimulus and encouragement for Europe and for the world!

In this sense Austria will continue to play an important role in Europe and in the world.

On behalf of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Austria, I ask you once again to accept our warmest wishes for a happy new year and well-being for you and your esteemed family. To the members of the Federal Government, especially the Foreign Minister and all his staff, our best wishes for the year 2023!

Thank you for your commitment to Austria, which is always a service to the whole world, and also for all the help and support you have given us over the past year!

Thanks for the attention.

H.E. Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio, as dean of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Republic of Austria on the occasion of the New Year's reception by the Federal President on February 14, 2023