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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07VIENNA1260 2007-05-14 12:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vienna
Cable title:  

AUSTRIAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS: May 14, 2007

Tags:   OPRC KPAO AU 
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VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVI #1260/01 1341250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141250Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7301
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITEHOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS VIENNA 001260 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/AGS, INR/EU, AND EUR/PPD FOR YVETTE SAINT-ANDRE

OSD FOR COMMANDER CHAFFEE

WHITEHOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO AU

SUBJECT: AUSTRIAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS: May 14, 2007


Inquiry Looking At Redacted Files



1. Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer (OeVP) will
appear before the parliamentary investigative committee looking into
the Austrian Eurofighter purchase today. Topping the agenda are once
again the interceptor deal's tax files, large parts of which were
redacted by the Finance Ministry before they were handed over to the
Eurofighter committee.
Like all Austrian media, liberal daily Der Standard continues to
report on the controversial Eurofighter purchase and comments on the
"war of nerves between the governing parties SPOe and OeVP" over the
issue. Shortly before the planned delivery on May 23 of the first
interceptors to Austria, accusations continue to fly regarding the
alleged payment of bribes, the quarrel over the tax files and other
documents, and the dispute over a quality control test Defense
Minister Norbert Darabos (SPOe) believes the planes will fail. The
parliamentary investigative committee is meanwhile going to question
Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer (OeVP) on the redacted sections of
the Eurofighter tax files, and will also hear the statements of
constitutional law experts Bernd-Christian Funk and Theo Oehlinger
on the matter.


Fischer Calls For Decision on Kosovo



2. As Austria is preparing to provide another 200 troops to Kosovo
for the planned EU rapid reaction force, President Heinz Fischer, on
an official visit to Cyprus, called for a common solution to the
situation. Fischer, along with Tassos Papadopoulos, his Cypriote
counterpart, met to discuss the Kosovo question and other topics
last week. The Austrian President will arrive in Greece today for a
two-day official visit.
Semi-official daily Wiener Zeitung reported on President Heinz
Fischer's "visit to the divided country Cyprus." Opinions on the
future status of Kosovo differ, as Cyprus is far more skeptical than
Austria with regard to the UN plan, which envisages a form of
controlled independence for the Serbian province. Cyprus is
concerned that the Kosovo could "serve as an example for the
Turkish-Cypriote northern part of the island," President
Papadopoulos indicated in a meeting with his Austrian counterpart.
Fischer, meanwhile, described the Kosovo question as an "unsolved
problem" and that the EU is pushing for a joint position on the
issue.


Rice in Moscow for Talks



3. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling to Russia for
talks with President Vladimir Putin amid growing tensions between
Moscow and Washington. The Kremlin has expressed its strong
opposition to US efforts to extend its missile defense shield in
Europe, and has also attacked Washington's backing for Kosovo's
independence. For her part, Condoleezza Rice has criticized
democratic setbacks in Russia.
According to mass-circulation tabloid Oesterreich, the US Secretary
of State is hoping to improve the strained relations between
Washington and Moscow with her visit to Russia. Her meeting with
Russian President Vladimir Putin "won't be an easy task," however,
the daily believes.


NATO Confirms Taliban Leader's Death



4. NATO officials have confirmed that Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's
top operational commander in Southern Afghanistan, was killed during
a clash between Western and Afghan forces. His body was shown to
reporters in Kandahar, and Taliban sources confirmed the death after
initial denials. Dadullah's death is the heaviest blow so far to
the Taliban insurgents, Austrian media say.
Like all Austrian media, independent provincial daily Salzburger
Nachrichten reported on Mullah Dadullah's death, which "may have
brought the NATO forces in Afghanistan considerably closer to their
goal to take out or capture as many radical Taliban leaders as
possible this year." The NATO generals are "hoping that without its
radical top leadership, the Taliban militias might be more willing
to come to the conference table and participate in a serious debate
on how to end the ongoing conflict," the Salzburger Nachrichten
explained. In contrast, terrorism expert Rolf Tophoven told
mass-circulation tabloid Oesterreich: "We know from experience that
both with al Qaeda and with the Taliban the top functionaries will
be replaced quickly." Nevertheless, the expert argued, Mullah
Dadullah's death is "a heavy blow to the Taliban, and a
psychological success for NATO."


Suicide Bombings in Iraq



5. At least 45 people have been killed and dozens wounded by a
suicide truck bombing in Makhmur in northern Iraq. It was the second
suicide attack in the mainly Kurdish area in the past week. In
Baghdad, at least ten people died and more than 40 were wounded when
a car bomb exploded near a market in a predominantly Shiite
district. Meanwhile, thousands of American troops have been
searching for three US soldiers missing in Iraq after an attack on
their convoy on Sunday.
Meanwhile, ORF radio early morning news Morgenjournal reported that
the United States and Iran intend to hold direct talks on the
security situation in Iraq. Commentator Elisa Vass explained that
both the US and Iran "want a stable Iraq and a strong government in
Baghdad. Their influence could be decisive for improving the
situation" in Iraq. Tehran and Washington have not had direct
diplomatic relations for about 25 years, so the announcement of
direct talks "must be considered a positive sign." Vass also argued
that although "both sides have emphasized they are not going to
discuss any topics beyond Iraq, and that the Iranian nuclear
ambitions or the US-Iranian relations are not going to be on the
agenda, we can expect the talks to be difficult." But whatever the
results of these talks, the primary representatives for the daily
and disastrous attacks in Iraq these days must be sought among the
Sunnis, and neither the US nor Iran have any influence to speak of
on that particular group," the commentator concluded.
Kilner