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What new leaders signed

Excerpts from the official English text of the statement signed Thursday by Joerg Haider and Wolfgang Schuessel affirming their commitment to democratic principles:

Declaration of Responsibility for Austria _ A Future in the Heart of Europe

The Federal Government reaffirms its unswerving adherence to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of the peoples of Europe and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy.

The Federal Government stands for respect, tolerance and understanding for all human beings. It condemns and actively combats any form of discrimination, intolerance and demagoguery in all areas. It strives for a society imbued with the spirit of humanism and tolerance toward the members of all social groups.

The Federal Government works for an Austria in which xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism have no place. It will take vigorous steps to counter every way of thinking which seeks to denigrate human beings, will actively combat the dissemination of such ideas and is committed to full respect for the rights and fundamental freedoms of people of any nationality _ irrespective of the reason for their stay in Austria. It acknowledges its special responsibility as regards the respectful treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.

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Austria accepts her responsibility arising out of the tragic history of the 20th century and the horrendous crimes of the National Socialist regime. Our country is facing up to the light and dark sides of its past and to the deeds of all Austrians, good and evil, as its responsibility. Nationalism, dictatorship and intolerance brought war, xenophobia, bondage, racism and mass murder. The singularity of the crimes of the Holocaust which are without precedent in history are an exhortation to permanent alertness against all forms of dictatorship and totalitarianism.

The European Union's project for a broad, democratic and prosperous Europe, to which the Federal Government is unconditionally committed, is the best guarantee against a repetition of this darkest chapter of Austrian history.

The Federal Government is committed to a self-critical scrutiny of the National Socialist past. It will ensure unreserved clarification, exposure of the structures of injustice, and the transmission of this knowledge to coming generations as a warning for the future. The government parties desire to solve problems, deal with challenges and make consistent use of opportunities, because they are committed to Austria's future in Europe. Austria, as a stable and reliable country, will make her contribution in partnership for a peaceful and secure life together in Europe and the world.

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