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Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Austrian Chancellor visits Hungary

The Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, arrives in Budapest today on his first official visit there since coming to power in January.

The Hungarian government has made clear it intends to maintain close and friendly relations with Austria, even though members of the European Union and some non-members have shunned diplomatic contacts because of the presence in the government of the far-right Freedom party.

In the run-up to Mr Schuessel's one-day visit, Hungarian officials have insisted that while they share some EU concerns about Austria's political situation, they regard Austria as their most important economic and political bridge to the EU and therefore have no choice but to remain friends.

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