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    SCHROEDER MAY CANCEL JAN. 1 VISIT TO AUSTRIA

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    VIENNA, December 28 (RIA Novosti's Borislav Pechnikov) - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany may cancel his New Year's Day visit to Austria, a competent source in the Austrian Chancellor's Office told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

    Mr. Schroeder and several of his Cabinet ministers were planning to arrive in Vienna January 1, at the invitation of Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel. They were scheduled to meet with Mr. Schuessel and Austrian President Heinz Fischer, to hold a joint press conference, and to visit a New Year's concert at the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic.

    The reason for the cancellation of Mr. Schroeder's visit to Austria is the devastating earthquake in Southeast Asia. According to Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the number of German nationals who went missing since the huge quake hit the region earlier this week is reported in triple-digit figures.

    The Austrian Chancellor's Office has not confirmed the cancellation reports, however. Mr. Schroeder is expected to make his decision public on Wednesday.

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