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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
July 25, 2013


(Washington, DC) The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) today announced the following briefing:

The New Silk Road Strategy: Implications for Economic Development in Central Asia

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2:00 p.m.

Cannon House Office Building, Room 340

As the United States prepares to leave Afghanistan, questions remain about what the impact will be, not only in Afghanistan, but also in its neighboring countries. To assist Afghanistan’s economic development, the U.S. Government has accelerated efforts to integrate Afghanistan with the economies of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and has built a framework for sustainable economic growth in the region modeled after the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road. 

There are many questions, however, about the ability of these governments to create the necessary conditions for more trade and exchange, including infrastructure development, efficient customs regimes and reliable transportation networks. The deep political divisions in this region that prevent collaboration on basic necessities such as water and electricity are also hindrances to building greater economic cooperation. To address these and related issues, we have invited a panel of experts to discuss the current situation and the future outlook for economic development along the New Silk Road.

The following panelists are scheduled to participate:

Craig Steffenson, North America Representative, Asian Development Bank

Danica Starks, Senior Desk Officer for Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce

Eric Stewart, Executive Director, U.S.-Turkmen Business Council

Joshua Kucera, Freelance journalist and analyst


The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.

Media Contact: Shelly Han
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Chairman Chris Smith (L), Bill Browder, author of Red Notice, and David Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedom at the McCain Institute. Courtesy of The McCain Institute for International Leadership. (Feb. 2015)