Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl surprised everyone at Saturday's UN General Assembly when she started her address to attendees in Arabic.
"As an Austrian Minister, I choose to start my speech in Arabic. Why? Arabic is one of the six languages of the United Nations. I studied the language at the UN center in Vienna. It is a beautiful and important language and part of the Arab and ancient civilization,” she said.
During her 20-minute speech, Kneissl also hailed the resilience of Arab men and women who refuse to let conflicts and wars define their lives.
"I studied in Lebanon during the years of war. I learned how people keep on living despite all difficulties. This is the secret of life. There are people, men and women, from Baghdad to Damascus, who continue to survive. All respect to them," she added.
Kneissl's address took Arab Twitter by storm
Kneissl continued her speech in Spanish, French, and English, but her Arabic words are what resonated most with thousands of Arabs on social media.
This came after a video of her address went viral on Twitter over the weekend.
People loved it
"I am all ears."
And hailed the Minister's gesture
"A beautiful gesture on your behalf."
"All of our respect to you"
Many felt Kneissl's words reflected great intellect
"All respect to Ms. Karin Kneissl. Speaking in Arabic at the UN reflects her great intellect and knowledge of the Arab history that some unfortunately forgot."
Others used the video to send a message
"An image without a greeting to those who learn two words of English and use them in every discussion while asking 'What do you call this in Arabic'."
And make this point
"To all those stupid Arabs who boast that they can speak English and use the skill to prove they're civilized, this is Austria's Foreign Minister speaking Arabic. Lest it be a lesson for you, so that you learn to be proud of your roots."
Not everyone was happy with the speech though
"Happy that Austria's Foreign Minister speaks Arabic and we applaud her. We gratefully hear her accent and applaud. We have a problem with our identity, we love to see it on others."