Austria wants Waldheim off US Nazi list

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Austria's foreign minister on Monday asked the United States to remove former president Kurt Waldheim from the "watch list" of people barred from US soil because CIA files opened on April 27 had no proof he was a war criminal who helped persecute Adolf Hitler's victims.

"Nothing against him has been found and I think for that reason it was a question of national respect to raise this here. Secretary Powell agreed to a review and that is what I could have expected," Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner said after meeting Secretary of State Colin Powell.

But a senior state department official made clear she should not hold her breath. "She talked to the secretary in private about Waldheim and the secretary made clear we were not in a position to change our determination," he said.

He added, however, that the United States would certainly look at the aide memoire that she brought on the issue.

Waldheim conceded in a 1996 autobiography that he had concealed his service in the Nazi army from 1942 to 1945 but insisted his behaviour was above reproach.

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