HASTINGS LAYS OUT PLAN FOR STRONGER MIDDLE EAST ENGAGEMENT
ATHENS—The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should arrange for more robust engagement with its Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) said today at the Fall Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
“Our partners should develop the agenda for how we interact. Specific task forces led by a partner State on the various dimensions of the OSCE or rotating leadership among the partners would help strengthen engagement,” said Congressman Hastings, addressing more than 200 parliamentarians from 49 OSCE participating States. “The OSCE process can be a model for engagement in the Middle East, but for us to have the biggest impact we must clearly define the expectations of our Mediterranean Partners and articulate what the OSCE participating States gain from increased engagement with them.”
Congressman Hastings, the Assembly’s former President, is currently its Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs and hosted a seminar in July in Washington with parliamentarians from the organization’s Mediterranean Partners. Mediterranean Partners include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
In Athens, Congressman Hastings called for greater exchanges between civil service members in Mediterranean Partner States and OSCE institutions. He also advocated for increasing use of the OSCE Partnership Fund to provide opportunities for fellowships within the OSCE.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.