HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON RAMIFICATIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA
(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), will hold a hearing entitled “Georgia in 2008: Elections or Street Politics?” on Wednesday, February 6 at 2:30 p.m. in B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Over the last few months, Georgia has experienced considerable turmoil, with the violent confrontation between riot police and protesters in November, the imposition of a state of emergency, the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili and the holding of a snap presidential election in early January. Although President Saakashvili narrowly won re-election in the first-round, opposition leaders refuse to recognize the outcome and have pledged to launch another round of protests beginning on February 15 unless their extensive list of demands are met. The hearing will examine the ramifications of these developments for Georgia, the United States and NATO, which Georgia is hoping to join.
Chairman Hastings led the International Election Observation Mission for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and was accompanied by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
Testifying before the Commission will be:
Mr. Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia
H.E. Vasili Sikhuralidze, Ambassador of Georgia
Salome Zurabishvili, former Foreign Minister of Georgia, now opposition leader and head of the "Georgia's Way" Party
WHAT: Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on Ramifications of Presidential Elections in the Republic of Georgia
WHEN: Wednesday, February 6 at 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.