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Austrian Far-Right Party Signs Cooperation Pact With United Russia


Austrian Freedom Party (FPOE) leader Heinz-Christian Strache renewed his call to lift "damaging and pointless international sanctions" against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

An Austrian far-right party has signed a "cooperation pact" with Russia's ruling party, which is loyal to President Vladimir Putin, the latest sign of ties between the Kremlin and populist, anti-EU parties in Europe.

Heinze-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party (FPOe), announced the five-year agreement with United Russia in Moscow on December 19.

Strache said the parties pledged to strengthen political and economic ties between Vienna and Moscow as well as "strengthen the friendship and education of young generations, in the spirit of patriotism and of finding joy in work."

Norbert Hofer, the FPOe's presidential candidate, missed out on becoming the European Union's first far-right head of state after losing a repeat runoff on December 4.

Strache also renewed his call to lift "damaging and pointless international sanctions" against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing of separatists in the southeast of the country.

United Russia confirmed the parties had agreed to organize "regular consultations" as well as "conferences, seminars, and roundtables."

"There are ancient cultural and economic links between Austria and Russia," party official Sergei Zheleznyak said in a statement.

Based on reporting by TASS, AFP, and dpa
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