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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schüssel Thanks Putin for Support

APSch?ssel and Putin preparing to sit down for talks in the Kremlin on Tuesday.
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel thanked President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday for Russia's support amid the criticism of his government's inclusion of a far-right party.

Sch?ssel's visit focused mainly on deepening economic ties.

"The most important issue is building economic links, namely the diversification of these links," Putin said.

"There are good opportunities to increase cooperation," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said after the talks.

Schüssel said the two leaders continued discussions on trade that begin when Putin visited Austria last year.

He also praised Russia for its measured reaction when Schüssel included the far-right Freedom Party, then led by Jörg Haider, in his government. That move had prompted Austria's European Union partners to declare political sanctions on Vienna.

"Two years ago, I spoke to the Austrian government about the professionalism with which the Russian government reacted to the election. I think our relations have improved further," Schüssel said.

Schüssel also thanked the Russian government for its progress on rehabilitating cases of Austrians who were executed or imprisoned for political reasons in Soviet times. The Austrian leader met Monday with top prosecutors to press them to act quickly on the cases that stem mainly from the 1930s to the 1950s, including nearly 4,000 Austrians.

During their meeting, Schüssel also gave Putin a photograph of him taken with a boy who met Putin during his Austrian trip.