Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Neil Simon
October 28, 2009


WASHINGTON - Three assistant secretaries from the Departments of State and Defense are slated to testify at a hearing chaired by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL).

“Advancing U.S. Interests in the OSCE Region”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2:00 p.m.

Room: SVC 210/212 (Capitol Visitor Center)

The hearing will examine U.S. policy toward the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the largest regional security organization in the world, ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers to be held in Athens in early December. Greece currently holds the chairmanship of the 56-nation OSCE focused on enhancing security, promoting economic cooperation, and advancing democracy and human rights. Kazakhstan assumes the chairmanship in January. 

The Commission will examine timely issues, including: security arrangements in Europe, simmering tensions in the Caucasus region, relations with Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, developments in the Balkans, OSCE engagement on Afghanistan and developments in Central Asia. The hearing will also assess ongoing efforts to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance and backsliding on fundamental freedoms.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:
Hon. Philip H. Gordon, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Hon. Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Hon. Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

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.