VIDEO: Austrian Foreign Minister begins her UN General Assembly speech in Arabic

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Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl began her address at the General Assembly in Arabic, which she said she had learned at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna and in Beirut during the war.

“Arabic is one of the six languages of the United Nations. I studied Arabic at the UN in Vienna. It is a beautiful and important language and part of the Arab and ancient civilization,” she said.

When she began speaking in Arabic at the beginning of her 20-minute address, there was an audible applause from the General Assembly audience, presumably from the Arab delegations present at the time of her speech.

“I also studied in Lebanon during the years of war. I learned how people continued with their lives despite all odds and difficulties. This is the secret of life,” Kneissl added. “There are women and men from Baghdad to Damascus who continue to live. All respect for these people.”

Kneissl then spoke in French and Spanish before concluding her speech in English.

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