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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
www.csce.gov
October 29, 2001

HELSINKI COMMISSION HEARING REVIEWS
ROMANIAN LEADERSHIP OF OSCE


(Washington) – The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing on the Romanian leadership of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) featuring the testimony of The Honorable Mircea Geoana, Foreign Minister of Romania and Chair-in-Office of the OSCE.

Romania assumed its one-year chairmanship of the OSCE in January 2001. The hearing will review the work of the OSCE in strengthening security, preventing conflict and managing crises in the OSCE region, as well as promoting respect for human rights and democratic values in the OSCE participating States under Romania’s Chairmanship.

ROMANIA’S CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE OSCE
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
385 Russell Senate Office Building

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Chairman Geoana created a Task Force to determine what steps the OSCE can take, in coordination with the international community, to combat terrorism.

The hearing will be held in advance of the OSCE Ministerial December 3 – 4, 2001 in Bucharest, Romania. The Ministerial will be an opportunity for the Chair-in-Office to address corruption issues throughout the OSCE region, a particular focus of the Commission Chairman. Background:

The OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The OSCE approach to security deals with a wide range of security-related issues including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence-and-security-building measures, human rights, democratization, election monitoring and economic and environmental security. All OSCE participating States have equal status, and decisions are based on consensus.

The OSCE operates more than twenty missions and field activities located in southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It works on the ground to facilitate political processes, prevent or settle conflicts, and promote civil society and the rule of law.

The 1999 Istanbul Charter of the OSCE declares that “participating States are accountable to their citizens and responsible to each other for the implementation of their OSCE commitments.” The Charter also states that “International terrorism, violent extremism, organized crime and drug trafficking represent growing challenges to security. Whatever its motives, terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is unacceptable. We will enhance our efforts to prevent the preparation and financing of any act of terrorism on our territories and deny terrorists safe havens.”

This hearing will examine the challenges to, and accomplishments of, the OSCE during the past year including re-establishing the OSCE mission in Chechnya, addressing the crisis in Macedonia, elections in Belarus, ongoing tensions in Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the deteriorating human rights situation in Central Asia, the plight of the Roma, promoting good governance and transparency in the fight against corruption and organized crime, as well as renewed efforts within the OSCE context to combat international terrorism.

The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, 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. Additional information about the Commission is available on the Internet at http://www.csce.gov.

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
202.225.1901
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