WASHINGTON--U.S. 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) said today the summit of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has highlighted the need to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as part of a holistic view of security.
The summit which concluded today in Astana, Kazakhstan, marks the first time the OSCE has held its highest level meeting in Central Asia.
"This summit and the negotiations in which the Helsinki Commission contributed demonstrated the OSCE is a vital forum for promoting comprehensive security in Europe," said Chairman Cardin. "If the Astana declaration is to mean anything we need a path forward, particularly for states who have failed to comply with their international commitments."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton led the U.S. Delegation in Astana. President Obama recently called for the United States to deepen its cooperation with the OSCE, the world’s largest regional security and leading human rights organization.
“The Kazakhstani chairmanship of the OSCE deserves recognition for bringing the first such high-level event to Central Asia,” said Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL). "The challenge this Summit faced in reaching consensus language about protracted conflicts demonstrates the urgency with which we must work, using more creative OSCE approaches to prevent and resolve conflicts. I also hope next year's Lithuanian chairmanship will work with our partners to encourage stability and peace in the Middle East where increased direct dialogue and consensus-building diplomacy can lead to a better future."