In the light of recently announced bids by Sweden and Finland to join NATO, Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Monday that Austria had no plan to join the military alliance.
"We have a completely different geographical situation," Schallenberg told reporters on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. "We also have a very different history and I believe that this simply has to be taken into account."
This did not mean that Austria was politically neutral, however, Schallenberg added.
"There is no neutrality in a war of aggression," he said, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We have taken a very clear position, we support all sanctions and we are doing what we can from our side in terms of support."
Asked whether Austria's security could be guaranteed despite remaining outside NATO, Schallenberg said Austria intended to increase investment in its security.
It was important to realize that "the world is not as friendly as we might wish it to be," he said, adding that there are states who were prepared to use military force in order to assert their interests.
Sweden and Finland have both announced plans to apply for NATO membership in the coming days, following the changed geopolitical landscape in Europe since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.
Source: A News