With Finland and Sweden poised to join the NATO military alliance, neutral Austria is looking for closer cooperation with like-minded EU nations Cyprus, Ireland and Malta.
Austria’s defence minister, Klaudia Tanner, says the neutral quartet could play a key role in helping to mediate peace between Russia and Ukraine.
“It is very important that we coordinate more closely with the neutral countries or those that do not belong to an alliance like NATO,” Tanner told Euronews.
“Maybe it is also an opportunity, when the time comes, to offer a stage for diplomatic opportunities — at some point, not at the present time — but at some point, this day will come.”
Moscow has recently rejected an Austrian mediation role between Russia and Ukraine. By going along with the anti-Russian sanctions, Vienna has been too pro-Western, the Kremlin said.
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