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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
January 31, 2001


(Washington) - Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana assured United States Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) that, as the newly appointed Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), he will make fighting corruption a top priority.

Minister Geoana met with Chairman Campbell at the United States Capitol along with Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ). Commission Ranking Member Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) and Commissioner Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) also took part in the meeting.

As a former Deputy Sheriff, Chairman Campbell applauded Minister Geoana’s commitment to combating corruption among the OSCE participating States and urged Romania to lead by example in that regard.

Chairman Campbell noted his heritage as an Native American and how it leads to a personal understanding of the discrimination faced by Roma. Romania will host a conference on Roma this year in Bucharest.

Co-Chairman Smith said that corruption is the “Achilles heel” of emerging democracies and encouraged Romanians to maintain pressure against corrupt individuals who stand in the way of democratic reform.

Mr. Smith also urged the Romanian Foreign Minister to be straightforward against the horrific practice of human trafficking – slavery of the 21st Century.

Commissioners Hoyer and Cardin both reiterated their support for the International War Crimes Tribunal as one of the most effective ways to stop the cycle of violence and retribution which has devastated Southeastern Europe.

The United States Helsinki Commission by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
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