Austria to pull out from United Nations migration agreement

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Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is an immigration hard-liner who rules in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, which was launched in 1956 by former Nazi and SS Officer Anton Reinthaller.

"We have decided that we will not join the pact", Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Austrian public broadcaster ÖRF.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 U.N. member nations except the United States, which backed out a year ago. It is due to be formally approved at a December 11-12 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache said Austria won't sign the document or send an official representative to the meeting in Marrakech. "It cannot, therefore, be the case that no distinction is made between legal and illegal migration flows".

The Austrian government is due to make a cabinet decision on the treaty today, APA added.

In September 2016, all 193 U.N. member states, including the United States under President Barack Obama, adopted a declaration saying no country can manage worldwide migration on its own and agreeing to launch a process leading to the adoption of a global compact in 2018.

Hungary said it would withdraw from the process in July, when Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the pact was contrary to Hungary's interests.

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The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the first-ever United Nations global agreement laying out a common and comprehensive approach to worldwide migration.

The compact has 23 objectives that seek to boost cooperation to manage migration.

Austria's interior minister, Herbert Kickl, denounced what he called "an nearly irresponsibly naive pro-migration tone".

Austria will in this way follow the example United States and Hungary in backing out of the agreement.

Austria's opposition criticized the decision.

United Nations officials in Geneva had no immediate comment on Vienna's decision.

"We continue to believe that migration is a global challenge where only global solutions and global responsibility-sharing will bring results", she said at a regular briefing.

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