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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President Pulls Out of Austria Fete

VIENNA -- President Boris Yeltsin will not visit Austria as planned in April to mark the 50th anniversary of its independent rebirth after World War II, Russia's ambassador to Austria said Friday.

Russian envoy Valery Popov was quoted by the Austrian news agency APA as saying the controversial Yeltsin visit will not take place because of scheduling difficulties. "It will not work out in April because Yeltsin is very busy at the moment," Popov told APA.

Austria's deputy premier Erhard Busek led a growing chorus of voices opposing Yeltsin's visit because of human rights violations in the breakaway region of Chechnya. Busek, head of the conservative People's Party sharing power with Chancellor Franz Vranitzky's Social Democrats, told the Vienna daily Die Presse on Friday that Yeltsin should not be welcomed in Austria.

"I would consider a visit by President Yeltsin in Austria unbearable in view of the war in Chechnya," Busek said. "I would reject the visit because of the human rights violations in Chechnya and because of the signal that would be sent to the West."

Austrian President Thomas Klestil had invited Yeltsin and the leaders of the other three wartime powers -- the United States, Britain and France -- to ceremonies next month marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of post-war Austria.