Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Co-Chairmen of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), will lead a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Kazakhstan from June 26 to July 3, 2008. The Members of Congress that will be traveling with the delegation are U.S. Helsinki Commissioners Representatives Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Hilda Solis (D-CA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) as well as Representatives Zach Wamp (R-TN), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), and Gwen Moore (D-WI). This will be the largest U.S. Congressional delegation to ever visit Kazakhstan, which will be Chairman-in-Office (CiO) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010.
While in Astana, the delegation will attend the 17th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. This is the first meeting to be held in Central Asia for the Annual Session, which will focus on the theme of ‘Transparency in the OSCE.’ The session will focus on such issues as energy security, trade, combating sexual exploitation of children, violence against women, cyber security, and migration. A series of regional issues will also be discussed, including Afghanistan, Georgia, and Chernobyl. Additionally, election observation and human rights issues affecting the OSCE, such as human trafficking, will be a focus of the meeting. The Annual Session will adopt a final document, called the Astana Declaration, which will include recommendations on these and related issues.
The delegation plans to hold bilateral meetings with parliamentarians attending the OSCE PA Annual Session. Additionally, the delegation intends to meet with leading Kazakh officials including, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin and Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev as well as with prominent human rights activists and opposition leaders.
On Tuesday, July 1 at 10:30 a.m. the delegation will hold a press conference with the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan John M. Ordway, at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Astana.
During the press conference, the delegation is expected to discuss U.S.-Kazakh relations, Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010, energy security, human rights issues and regional issues of concern to the OSCE community.
Press Conference Details
WHO: U.S. Congressional Delegation and U.S. Ambassador Ordway
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Tuesday, July 1 at 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Radisson SAS Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan
Sary Arka 2 – 2nd floor (room)
Contact/RSVP: Lale Mamaux
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.