Media Contact: Ben Anderson
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing on the challenges facing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2005, featuring the testimony of His Excellency Dimitrij Rupel, Foreign Minister of Slovenia and this year’s OSCE Chairman.
Slovenia’s Leadership of the OSCE
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
192 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Slovenia has assumed the annually rotating chairmanship of the OSCE, just as the world’s largest regional security organization seeks to uphold common standards and engage in concerted action to enhance European security.
In 2005, when the OSCE celebrates its 30th anniversary, it can point to numerous success stories, the most recent being its critical support for Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. The organization also faces a Russian-led diplomatic offensive designed to dilute its effectiveness and shift its focus away from the development of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law as core elements of European security.
The OSCE has undertaken a wide array of initiatives regarding issues like human trafficking, organized criminal activity and official corruption, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, human rights violations in Central Asia countries and areas of tension or conflict in the Caucasus, the Balkans and elsewhere in the expansive OSCE region.
New and emerging threats from external actors, including terrorist organizations and rogue regimes, have led the organization to take a greater look at its periphery and seek multilateral responses to issues ranging from terrorist financing to arms proliferation. Issues related to OSCE work were on the agenda of the recent Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava and could impact the organization’s future activity.
Dimitrij Rupel’s diplomatic career includes service as Slovenian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United States. His country has achieved NATO and EU membership within 15 years of independent statehood. This will be his first visit to the United States since taking leadership of the OSCE, the world’s largest regional body. As OSCE Chair-in-Office, Dr. Rupel has visited Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
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.