SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE:
U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION
THE FUTURE OF THE OSCE MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERS FOR COOPERATION
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE ON MEDITERRANEAN PARTNER AFFAIRS,
OSCE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
THE HEARING WAS HELD FROM 2:01 P.M. TO 3:25 P.M. IN ROOM 210, CANNON HOUSE
OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C., [REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D-FL)], MODERATING
THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2009
REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D-FL): It’s my distinct honor to convene this hearing of
the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on “The Future of the OSCE
Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation.” I welcome you all here today – and so
does the thunder, apparently – and commend the leadership of my good friend who
will be here shortly – who is here now – of Senator Ben Cardin, who serves as
chair of the Helsinki Commission, and my fellow commissioners. We’ve been
joined by Mr. McIntyre and others are coming, I believe.
As many of you know, for the past several years I have served as Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s special
representative for Mediterranean affairs. And I’ve had the distinct pleasure
of having been appointed by President Emeritus Lennmarker in that capacity, and
by the now-president of the parliamentary assembly, João Soares, also, to the
The objectives are to enhance the long-standing relationship between the OSCE
participating states and the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation that
extends back to the Helsinki act of 1975 of the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe, now the OSCE.
In the succeeding decades the OSCE Participating States and their Mediterranean
partners have worked to increase mutual confidence and develop economic and
environmental cooperation in order to promote security and stability throughout
Europe and the Mediterranean basin. It is through this unique forum that
Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco – as my friend from Morocco enters the
room – and Tunisia continue develop their capacity for leadership in the
region, all the while exchanging expertise with the OSCE participating states.
Near the end of 2008, I toured all of the Mediterranean Partner states, with
the exception of Jordan – which I have visited on many occasions. During
discussions with my interlocutors, beginning in Morocco, that I proposed
bringing them and asking them to come to Washington to have a candid discussion
about participation mechanisms for their partnership with the OSCE and how
these might be improved.
Over the past two days, the proposal that I made last December became a
reality. High-level delegations of parliamentarians and dignitaries and
academics from the OSCE Mediterranean Partners states – of all of the partner
states – gathered here in the Capitol Visitor Center for the Helsinki
Commission’s “Seminar on OSCE Mediterranean Partner Engagement.”
These delegations were joined by the gentleman who’s walking there, now – my
president of the OSCE parliamentary assembly, João Soares of Portugal – and by
previously-mentioned president-emeritus Goran Lennmarker of Sweden and vice
president of the OSCE, Jerry Grafstein of Canada, and representatives of the
Greek chair in office, and representatives of the future Kazakh chair in
office, and Ambassador Jonas Hafström on behalf of the Swedish presidency of
the European Union.
Sessions for this seminar included notable panelists, such as Paul Fritch of
the OSCE Secretariat, an exciting presentation this morning by Dalia Mogahed of
the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Barry Pavel of the National Security
Council, and a very thought-provoking professor, Dr. Ian Lesser, of the German
Our discussions with these panelists centered on OSCE Mediterranean Partner
participation mechanisms, security in the Mediterranean, youth empowerment and
challenges of the OSCE region, respectively.
I’m going to ask unanimous consent that the rest of my statement be made a part
of the record in the interest of time and because so many of my colleagues are
here. But we are joined by distinguished witnesses who will help us to
synthesize the topics discussed throughout our seminar as well as share their
vision for future or empowerment of the OSCE Mediterranean Partners.
I’ll identify our panelists after I hear from colleagues and I’d like now to
ask the chair of the CSCE, my good friend from the U.S. Senate, Senator Cardin,
if he would make opening remarks.
SEN. BENJAMIN CARDIN (D-MD): Well, to Congressman Hastings: First let me
thank you for arranging the Mediterranean Partners meeting here in Washington.
It was an extremely important opportunity for our partners to get together and
exchange their views. I also want to thank you for chairing today’s hearing as
we in the U.S. Helsinki Commission look at the Mediterranean Partners and ways
in which we can enhance our effectiveness within OSCE.
Let me apologize from the beginning that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
will be meeting shortly with the prime minister of Iraq so I’m going to have to
excuse myself to attend that meeting. But engagement with our colleagues
representing the OSCE Mediterranean Partner countries has been a particular
focus of the OSCE parliamentary assembly for many years as evidenced by the
work of its successive special representatives on Mediterranean affairs and the
assembly’s annual Mediterranean seminars, which are a critical part of the
agenda of the assembly’s fall meetings.
We and our Mediterranean Partners have paid particular attention to the issues
of security and economic cooperation. In 2002, the parliamentary assembly
convened its first conference dedicated to ensuring peace, democracy and
prosperity in the Mediterranean region. Since 1993, security, trade and
economic cooperation have been the subjects of debate during the assembly’s
annual sessions and have been addressed in the final declarations of those
Most recently, the Vilnius Declaration ratified at the conclusion of the
parliamentary assembly’s annual meeting this month in Lithuania includes a
resolution on Mediterranean free trade authored by our good friend Senator
Jerry Grafstein of Canada. This resolution calls for the creation of the
Mediterranean Economic Commission with the mandate to reduce trade barriers and
facilitate the transition to a knowledge-based economy in the countries of the
region. It also recommends the creation of a Mediterranean agricultural
marketing board with the aim of creating jobs in the agriculture sector for
young people, which could be a very valuable part of the security in that
During my service as chair of the parliamentary assembly’s committee on
economic affairs, science, technology and environment, the committee also
focused on trade and economic cooperation in the Mediterranean region. As many
of you may recall, during the 2005 annual session of the parliamentary assembly
in Washington, D.C., our committee hosted a panel discussion on developing
trade and economic cooperation with our Mediterranean partners, which featured
an address by the ambassador of Morocco to the United States. The Washington
declaration adopted at the conclusion of the 2005 annual session contained a
resolution addressing both soft and hard threats to security, enhancing
economic cooperation, dealing with the challenges of migration and promoting
tolerance in the Mediterranean region.
So as you can see, within the OSCE and within the OSCE parliamentary assembly,
we’ve made significant progress in advancing the interests of our Mediterranean
partners within the context of the commitments within OSCE. What I have urged
is taking a look at how we can further that process.
It’s interesting, Mr. Chairman, that the commission held a hearing in 1993, the
U.S. Helsinki Commission. At that time, we looked at creating an OSCME, an
Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East because we thought
that the Helsinki process was so valuable that the direct adoption of that
process by the countries within the Middle East could have direct benefit as it
had within Europe.
So we suggested that. I do recall we heard from, Abba Eban, the former foreign
affairs minister of Israel. We also heard from the distinguished ambassador
from Egypt, Ahmed Maher, el-Sahad (sic: el-Sayed), at that time, both very
favorable towards the concept. I have since travelled to the region many times
and have talked to the leaders of the countries in the region. They all think
that this makes great sense so – and I think we have one or two options that I
really do encourage the witnesses today to comment on this.
We could try to strengthen the role of the Mediterranean Partners in the
countries within the region within the OSCE framework. We could look at a
separate framework, which incorporates similar ideas although there’s no
cookie-cutter approach. I know we have to tailor it towards specific needs of
the region. But I do think, looking at the historic problems in the
Mediterranean and in the Middle East, that using the experience since 1975 with
what we’ve been able to do in CSCE gives us hope that we could make further
advancements in this area. And I look forward to the witnesses today and I
hope that we’ll be able to continue to make progress in promoting peace,
security and economic well-being within the Mediterranean area.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Senator. I’d also like to recognize the
secretary general of the parliamentary assembly of OSCE, Spencer Oliver, who
has joined us as well. I now turn to Congressman McIntyre for any statement
you may wish to make, Mike.
REP. MIKE MCINTYRE (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’ll simply say, in the
interest of time, we do welcome our friends who have joined us. We especially
appreciate your leadership, Mr. Chairman, in working with our Mediterranean
partners. I know a couple of years ago it was my pleasure when we were in
Vienna together to go to a special reception for our Mediterranean partners and
how pleased we are to see these types of relationships growing and continuing
and being enhanced. And we’re so glad to have you as well as others who are
here from the OSCE to join us here in our nation’s capital. Thank you.
REP. HASTINGS: Just like the partner states participate in the OSCE, our CSCE
has by now designated an auxiliary group but a very active member of the
American delegation when we attend the fori (sic: fora) of the parliamentary
assembly is Gwen Moore from Wisconsin, my colleague. Gwen?
REP. GWEN MOORE (D-WI): Thank you so much. I am so grateful that we have this
opportunity to meet with our Mediterranean partners. I think that the urgency
of developing these dialogues among parliamentarians and at NATO, the European
Union and OSCE is really trumped by the patience that our past presidents and
others have shown and our partners have shown in coming to the United States.
We welcome you here and I am anxious to hear the testimony of our panels.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, our congresswoman. On our first – well,
we’ll hold just one minute for Commissioner Darrell Issa if he has any
statement that he may wish to make. Come over here, Darrell.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): Chairman, I waive any opening statement considering
REP. HASTINGS: All right. And that allows then – thank you so much,
Congressman – that allows us to get to the first panel. And we are joined by
Ambassador William Hudson, the acting deputy assistant secretary for Near
Eastern Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Hudson has
extensive experience in the region as a senior career Foreign Service officer
and recently, ambassador of the United States to Tunisia where I had the good
fortune of visiting Tunisia when he was ambassador and was hosted extremely
well by he and the extraordinarily capable staff at the United States Embassy.
The ambassador’s curriculum vitae is outside. I won’t go into all the details.
And so ambassador, you have the floor.
WILLIAM HUDSON: Thank you very much. Distinguished chairman, members of the
commission, I want to thank you for calling this important hearing and for
providing us an opportunity to participate in this exchange on engagement of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with our Mediterranean
partners. I also welcome the interest of our partners in participating in this
forum with members of the United States Congress on an issue that is vital to
many of our shared interests.
The OSCE’s special relationship with the six Mediterranean Partners for
Cooperation goes back to the start of the Helsinki process. In 1975, the
Helsinki final act included a Mediterranean chapter emphasizing the close links
between the security of Europe and the security in the Mediterranean region.
This security link has been underscored in subsequent OSCE documents such as
the 1999 charter for European security and the 2003 strategy to address threats
to security and stability in the 21st century. The OSCE participating states
have committed themselves to exploring new avenues of cooperation and
interaction as well as to explaining the scope of broad exchanges on OSCE
norms, principles and commitments.
Through ongoing dialogue and joint activities with the Mediterranean partners,
the OSCE has successfully shared its unique, comprehensive, three-dimensional
approach to security with the Mediterranean partners on a number of topics
including confidence and security-building measures, OSCE as a platform for
dialogue in fostering norms of behavior, the 21st-century threats to security
and state stability, protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms as well
as linkages between the environment and security, media and new technologies
and migration and integration policies.
The annual OSCE Mediterranean conferences, which are usually hosted by the
partner state, provide the opportunity to exchange views and contribute to
further developing the relationship between the OSCE and the Mediterranean
partners. The conferences are also attended by international organizations,
parliamentarians, academics and importantly, NGOs, leading to a unique
cross-fertilization of ideas and recommendations.
In fact, a number of very interesting recommendations came out of the 2008
conference in Amman, Jordan, including suggestions to promote closer
involvement of civil society in counterterrorism efforts to address climate
change and desertification through regional cooperation and to support the
creation of civil society networks in the Mediterranean region. The United
States is very interested in following up on these and other recommendations.
Mediterranean partners have many opportunities to get involved in the work of
the OSCE. In addition to attending and participating in a wide range of OSCE
meetings and conferences, they are also invited to send observers to electoral
missions of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, who have
received training in Warsaw to that end. Thanks to the OSCE’s partnership
fund, we now have increased opportunities for conducting joint projects. The
United States already has used this fund to support two projects and hopes to
be able to contribute to it more in the future.
We are particularly encouraged by a lively discussion at the June 2009 workshop
conducted in Vienna on the topic of media. This workshop, which was based on a
suggestion made by Egypt, brought together more than 35 experts from the OSCE
and the Mediterranean regions to discuss challenges and best practices in
setting up and promoting mechanisms to encourage free speech. Such exchanges
provide us with an opportunity to learn and work together to foster security
and stability in our countries.
The United States is interested in increasing cooperation with the
Mediterranean partners in all three OSCE dimensions and in hearing
Mediterranean perspectives on broader issues as well. We sincerely look
forward to engaging with our partners on issues such as their approach to the
reintegration of Iraq into the community of nations and to ways to resolve
tensions over oil and gas supply and demand issues in Eastern Europe.
The Mediterranean Partner countries are at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and
the Middle East. Their historical and existing ties with other regions have
distinctively positioned them to play a key role on issues ranging from
regional conflicts such as Chad and Sudan to Middle East peace, migration,
terrorism and more. The Mediterranean Partners have played a positive role in
both the regional and the world arena and have the potential to make an even
greater contribution. We believe the onset of a new U.S. administration offers
a new chance to engage in the OSCE partnership and to intensify and reinforce
our relationships in this critical area.
The Obama administration has shown its willingness to listen and to think
critically about the United States foreign policy priorities and objectives.
In President Obama’s June 4th speech in Cairo, he said that he had come to seek
a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one
based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We have seen a promising start to
the new administration's engagement with the Mediterranean. Secretary Clinton
met with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia on the margins of
the Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in March.
She used that opportunity to discuss regional cooperation and other concerns of
mutual interest. Special envoy for Middle East peace, Senator Mitchell,
subsequently visited the region to solicit their ideas and support for peace.
We continue to look for opportunities to engage our North African partners
bilaterally and regionally on a wide range of issues, including migration,
terrorism economic cooperation and regional security.
In doing this, we are committed to working with the OSCE via the Mediterranean
Partners as well as other multilateral fora arrangements, to ensure that our
efforts with the countries of the region are consistent and mutually
reinforcing. The OSCE participating states and the Mediterranean Partners
should work together productively to confront the challenges at hand, and
promote security, stability, and individual freedoms throughout the region and
throughout the world.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I'm happy to take any
questions that you may have.
REP. HASTINGS: I’ll turn the questioning now to Chairman Cardin.
SEN. CARDIN: I thank you for that courtesy. Let me if I might, secretary,
just cover a couple points. The OSCE, I think, has had an incredible amount of
success considering it’s a consensus body, depends upon voluntary compliance,
basically, yet has rather strong commitments as far as human rights, security
and economic and environmental commitments.
When we take a look at what it’s been able to accomplish in avoiding conflicts
through its missions; when we look at the technical assistance that’s made
available to member states whether it deals with migration or it deals with
border security – and the list goes on and on and on – when you take a look at
the progress that it has made on basic freedoms including journalism and making
sure that we put a spotlight where countries are not doing, what they should be
doing and now taking on the issues of the Internet and what we need to do about
Internet freedom of expression.
And then you take a look at some of the initiatives of the United States
commission on trafficking in persons and anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim
activities and the fact that we can bring consensus among all states to an
action plan in these areas where I think it initially people thought that would
not be possible.
I mention that all because I really do believe this model can work in the
Mediterranean and the Middle East. And I guess my question to you – it seems
to me the Mediterranean partners have been a very valuable addition to the
proud record of the OSCE. But I think we should perhaps look at either
expanding that model or a separate model for the Middle East particularly.
One option could be to strengthen the roles of our partners in the OSCE itself.
Give them a stronger voice within the OSCE. Another suggestion could be to
expand the number of country states that are partners within the OSCE. I have
personally thought that Pakistan – partner in Asia acknowledged – it would be
nice to have them in our organization particularly since we do have Afghanistan
currently as a partner.
Or we could look at a separate organization using the OSCE as a model but that
takes time in order to go through all the diplomatic hurdles in order to
achieve a different organization. So I would just like to get your view as to
how you see the future from the point of view of either strengthening the OSCE
– looking at separate organizations or do you think that the dynamics in the
Middle East are such that it would be difficult to have a consensus
organization with the type of record that we’ve seen within OSCE?
MR. HUDSON: Thank you for that question. I – the OSCE is a very interesting
organization because as you know it brings together the Israelis with the
Jordanians and the countries of the Maghreb, they go to meetings together.
They have an opportunity to see each other face to face. It’s a very positive
forum for doing that kind of thing.
So, yes, I think anything we can do to push forward on dialogue and
participation in that regard would be a good thing. I do – and this is a
personal view, and I can give you a more official answer, if you like – but my
own view is a consensus, an organization that works on consensus, would find
some of the problems in the Middle East, particularly issues on the peace
process very, very challenging and problematic to deal with.
SEN. CARDIN: I just want to point out, I’ll never forget the discussion I had
with former Prime Minister Rabin in Jerusalem on this subject. And I sort of
said the same thing to him. I said, how would you like to be a member of an
organization where there are numerous Arab states and Israel? And he said he
He says if we have a chance to talk, if we can sit at the same table together
and better understand each other and if we can make progress on economic issues
and if we can make progress on basic rights and bringing down trade barriers
and making that type of progress – and if our people can get to know each other
better, the rest will come.
I don’t think anyone expects that this process will produce the peace between
the Palestinians and the Israelis. That’s going to happen, we hope, as a
result of direct negotiations with significant international interest. We
But as far as an ongoing relationship in the Middle East, one day we hope we’ll
see peace in that region. But for prosperity and economics and human rights
and security to really take hold, there’s got to be some more permanency in the
And that’s why the former prime minister thought this made sense. By the way,
King Hussein of Jordan felt the same way when I met with him. So I know
there’s new leaders but they seem to be saying the same thing. And I just
wonder if the United States should be more actively involved on parallel
tracks, not the substitute the peace initiative, not to substitute the
initiatives that are currently underway.
But on a parallel track to try to figure out how we can really get more direct
communications on basic OSCE principles among the countries in the region.
MR. HUDSON: Thank you for that. I – as you know, President Obama has
emphasized our willingness to have dialogue with mutual respect among all of
our friends and allies overseas. I think our position should be that we would
encourage any kind of regional organization that can bring Israelis together
with their Arab neighbors for discussion and addressing mutual problems that
all those countries have.
SEN. CARDIN: I’ll just make one last point on this. It was pointed out
yesterday by Mr. Lennmarker about the historic problems within Europe as to why
the OSCE came about, because of the conflicts within that continent being
unparalleled in the history of the world.
Well, the differences among the Arab states in the Middle East are dramatic.
It’s not just Israel versus the Arab states; there are historic conflicts among
our partner countries that I would think the pattern of OSCE and the progress
that was made in OSCE contributing to the overall stability in Europe could be
extremely helpful in leading us to a much more stable Middle East.
I would just encourage the United States and all of our member countries to
look at what has happened since 1975 in Europe and use that as an example of
what we can achieve particularly in the Middle East. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Chairman Cardin. I’d like to take
cognizance of the fact we’ve got a round of questions for everybody but we’ve
been joined by our commissioner Robert Aderholt who was just elected as the
vice chair of one of the committees of the parliamentary assembly, and I’m very
pleased that that occurred.
Ambassador Hudson, you mentioned a partnership fund, OSCE partnership fund, and
you cited to the fact that the United States has already accessed our two
projects. I’m interested in two things – what are those projects and what do
we intend, in the United States to do, to ensure that we are plus up the
MR. HUDSON: Thank you. The two projects involved bringing people from
Mediterranean Partner countries up to Warsaw for training on human rights
issues. And we consider the partnership fund to be a very positive
development. It allows us to, as I said, to develop projects where we can
bring some of the Mediterranean Partner countries, individuals in those
countries, up to important seminars, important training sessions. So we’re
very supportive of this.
I can take the question sir if you’d like on what our future funding would be
and get back to you –
REP. HASTINGS: All right. If you would then, I’ll have one other question in
this round. As I indicated to you and you know that we’ve concluded two days
of seminars with a robust delegations from our partner states. The continuing
theme or consistent theme that arose was the difficulty of negotiating the
multiple dialogues led by different actors in the region and principally the
OSCE and the European Union and NATO. My question would be what roles do you
think for our Mediterranean dimensions of these various entities should play to
encourage synergy among their various activities.
As I listened over the course of the last two days, ambassador, I can’t help
but agree with all of the sentiment that was expressed most sincerely by
virtually each delegation that it is very hard to keep up with who’s on first
and what’s on second. They didn’t put it that way, but I’m just putting in the
plain old vernacular.
And in addition to that, if we start with the Barcelona process and go all the
way through, every – and it was put bluntly by one delegation – every time we
come up with a new institution or a new program we never seem to complete that
before we start a new institution or program.
So implementing plans – I kept referencing Sarkozy. But implementing a plan
and trying to keep up with the dialogue and the different organizations.
What’s your take on that?
MR. HUDSON: Well, I sympathize with the delegations who express their concerns
to you because when I was ambassador in Tunisia, we had the Barcelona process,
we had the neighbors process, we had the OSCE process. So I can understand
their confusion and they have different delegations coming to them all the time
with – but these delegations are involved in different kinds of processes all
sort of hitting the same basic issues of political military environment and the
economy and human development.
So all these organizations sort of have the same focus. It would be nice to
find a way – I don’t personally have an idea of how this could be – but I think
you’ve hit on a very important coordinating problem that we have in that region
that needs to be addressed in some way.
REP. HASTINGS: Well, one thing that I’ll just float that my luncheon guests
were discussing is the possibility of having a first among equals type
structure that would have say two members from the European Union, two from
OSCE, two from NATO and two from each of the member states to assist as
transmitters and receivers for coordination and collaboration.
Otherwise, clearly what winds up is a lot of duplication and at some point we
reach diminishing returns because our partner states lose interest because they
can’t quite keep up with who it is that they’re dealing with. I won’t belabor
it because we have so many of my other colleagues that I would hope would go
forward. I’m just taking them in the order that they came, and Mr. McIntyre.
REP. MCINTYRE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you again for this time
today. When we think about the Helsinki Commission’s recent seminar that we
had parliamentarians and dignitaries from throughout the OSCE Mediterranean
Partners, one consistent thing that was raised was a difficulty of negotiating
the multiple dialogues led by different actors. When we look at the European
Union, we look at NATO and of course OSCE, what do you think the Mediterranean
dimensions of these various entities should play to encourage the synergy among
these various activities?
MR. HUDSON: Well, I think that gets at the issue that Congressman Hastings
brought up which is sort of a fatigue in some of these Mediterranean Partner
countries because they have so many people coming to them all the time.
They’ll have a NATO delegation, they’ll have a Barcelona process delegation,
they have an EU component – how that is coordinated – it’s an important issue
which I think has to be addressed by the international community and
particularly by the member states in the OSCE and the member states of NATO and
That’s – I don’t have a good resolution on that but I would say we would
encourage, I think our policy would be to encourage the dialogue in that regard
so that we could coordinate all these efforts in that region so that they would
all be more effective.
SEN. CARDIN: All right. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. MOORE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you ambassador for your sage
testimony. Not to be redundant – I was wondering, you mentioned a great many
very important issues that are of interest to the United States and certainly
to the OSCE: the re-entry of Iraq into the community of nations; the
apportionment and availability of oil and gas; Gaza reconstruction – certainly
you mentioned that the Mediterranean Partners were at the crossroads of the
I am wondering, in view of the fatigue that you just mentioned of all this
interaction with the European Union and NATO, do you have any specific
recommendations for OSCE in sort of drilling down on any been focusing in or
honing in on one of these issues that we could be particularly helpful with?
MR. HUDSON: Thank you. I don’t have an answer for you today, but I would like
to take this issue back to the Department of State because it is clearly very
important and to give you an answer about a strategy that we might follow to
address this important issue.
REP. ISSA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador, you are either very fortunate
or you’ve managed to simply end up in what has historically been the hot seat.
The deputy assistant secretaries for Near East inevitably have a war or some
humanitarian crisis during their tenure, no matter how long or short.
Congratulations, you haven’t had one yet. (Chuckles.)
But to that end, and Congresswoman Moore said it pretty well when she talked
about Gaza reconstruction, there are some residual effects that are on your
watch: the landmine issues, the cluster bomb issues in Lebanon, the lingering
effects of the takeover by Hamas of Gaza and the inability to reengage on some
peer-to-peer level between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
This organization is dedicated to human rights; it’s dedicated to democracies
that represent their people. Are function under the rule of law and for their
people. So it’s a particular frustration when I look throughout North Africa
and around the Levant that there’s more work to do there than in the countries
that we presently are engaged with.
Your point was very good and I think you’re absolutely right. We cannot bring
– normally we can’t even bring the Israelis and the Palestinians together
because one insists on being a nation and then insists that the other not be
Two, we have the obvious challenge that if there were consensus possible; A,
they wouldn’t need us; and, B, it wouldn’t be where we always are putting so
much of our energy. But having said that, how can this organization bring
these disparate groups on a consistent basis into a relationship where they can
see how the rest of our system works and be not studied by us from the outside,
even though they can’t be full members on the inside at the present time. What
would you suggest that we begin exploring if we’re going to work with you as
MR. HUDSON: Well, I think we have a real opportunity now with the partnership
fund and what we need, in my view is – we have a mechanism which brings
together the Israelis and their near neighbors, Jordan, other Arab states as
I’m sure you’re aware – Tunisia has always been very active in the peace
process as has Morocco.
REP. ISSA: I’m not sure I would be as diplomatic as you. They’ve always
insisted on having a role, a seat at the table and particular cuts of the pie,
MR. HUDSON: The OSCE presents a mechanism that’s already there to bring these
countries together to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest. I think
that is where the real value added is – instead of talking about very, very
difficult issues that we confront in the Middle East peace process, this
organization can start talking about the environment and the economy. There
are lots of interesting issues there and issues where all the Mediterranean
Partner countries have similar interests and concerns.
So you can start discussions at that level and that often can lead to something
else when countries suddenly realize that they can cooperate on a certain level
of issues, that sometimes encourages cooperation above.
So we would encourage the bringing these people into a process and I think
through the partnership fund we’ll be able to do more and more of that. That’s
REP. ISSA: And you mentioned Morocco particularly. You know, Morocco, as I’m
sure you’re more aware than I, really has the mandate for Jerusalem. Well,
Jordan has both historic occupation and a constant interest including of course
in the Palestinians. Is there a role we could play to bring them together from
a standpoint of a deteriorating situation both for tourism and for pilgrims in
the more less tourism, true pilgrim sense, to the holy lands? Is that
something that you think this group could use as a bridge before we could take
the next steps and the next steps that we usually go to Sharm and talk about?
MR. HUDSON: Well, thank you for that. I don’t have an answer for you on that
today but I’d be happy to take that question and come back to you with
something on that. I will tell you that Senator Mitchell has been very active
with the Moroccans as he begins his peace process activities. Historically the
Moroccans have been very helpful in this regard.
REP. ISSA: One last question. When you make your follow-up, if you could give
us, if you will, the best way – and I know Senator Mitchell is doing a good job
with shuttle diplomacy, and that’s usually how it works. You go to Morocco,
you go to Israel, you go back to Morocco and so on. Is there a better dynamic
to bring the parties together in some sort of a forum that we could potentially
facilitate some direct dialogue, perhaps even with our –
Senator Mitchell technically is one of the czars now, isn’t he?
MR.: Special envoy.
REP. ISSA: Special envoy. Well, he’s on my list of czars: high title,
questionable portfolio, but lots of backing from the president. But is there a
format that you think we could – when you follow up with the answer – kind of
give it to us because this is an organization that has the staffing and the
wherewithal to potentially go anywhere in Europe, the Mediterranean and put
together something which might bring parties together that up until now will
only come together at a summit, and as you know all too well, summits are only
after you’ve agreed to something that isn’t probably going to accomplish
anything but you’ve agreed to it so you’ll sign it.
And the hope is we’d get people together for the dialogue you spoke of. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much.
REP. ROBERT ADERHOLT (R-AL): Thank you, sir. I don’t have anything right now.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Mr. Aderholt. Ambassador, I genuinely
appreciate your time and the State Department participating with us. I am sure
you took notes, but I will make it a point to as our staff to see to it that
you do have the follow up questions. One of the things that we like to do is
to post on our Web site the particulars of hearings and briefings that we’ve
So the follow up is important to us and we thank you so very much, and as
always it’s good to see you. Okay?
MR.: Thank you very much.
REP. HASTINGS: We can now ask our second panel if they would join us.
Professor Sotiris Roussos of the University of Peloponnese in Corinth, Greece.
Professor Roussos and I share a similar mandate in his role as personal
representative to the Greek chair in office of the OSCE for Mediterranean
partners. And we are also going to be joined on our second panel by my good
friend, the honorable Joao Soares, the president of the OSCE parliamentary
assembly who is the former mayor of one of my favorite cities, Lisbon, the
capital of Portugal.
Since we call you up first, professor, we’ll begin with you.
SOTIRIS ROUSSOS: Thank you very much. It is great honor and pleasure to
attend and witness to this hearing of the Commission on Security and
Cooperation in Europe and to share views on how we can work together in order
to make the Mediterranean Partnership of the OSCE even more effective by
enhancing its potentials and fostering the ties between the organization and
our common Mediterranean neighborhood.
In this regard, Greece as an OSCE participating state of the Mediterranean
attaches great importance to the strengthening of relations with our
Mediterranean partners and to the promotion of their engagement with the OSCE
activities and mechanisms.
My appointment is underlining the strong will of the Greek chairmanship to
further upgrade these ties as it (emerges ?) the strategic importance of the
region for the Euro-Atlantic security. I would like last to share some
reflections and to present some ideas to be thought upon by the partners
honoring on our contribution on the triptych of synergy, symmetry and strategy.
Our times are marked by the most profound technical revolution in global
communications which transcends national cultural boundaries. International
partners of mass consumption with global brand names have become symbolic.
Market-oriented reforms and improvements in the business and investment climate
are facilitating these changes all through the past decade.
In the Mediterranean, the role of the market forces in the private sector of
the economy is expanding although sometimes it seems not so much. Governments
are privatizing state-owned corporations and the banking, telecommunications
and utilities sections. Trade systems are opening and restrictions on foreign
exchange transactions are being eased.
Moreover, in response to these changes, development indicators are beginning to
improve, especially in the past decade: Extreme poverty, people living on less
than $1 per day fell by 20 percent by 2000 and 2004. Over the past 15 years,
life expectancy has increased in the region from 60 to 70 years, while the
total fertility rate has fallen by 1.8 births per woman, the largest decline of
any region in the world.
Nearly 90 percent of children completed primary education in 2005, up from 77
percent in 1990. About 90 percent of the population now has access to
electricity and improved water resources.
Additionally, the enormous explosion in tourism, travel, commerce,
international media and the translation publishing industries arrive at
impressive cross-cultural transactions and nexuses. Side by side with this
cultural globalization we have the most xenophobic and, in total,
manifestations of narrow-minded nationalists and religious revivals.
According to a study by the joint project of the Dubai School of Government at
the Wilson Center for Development at Brookings, although there was an economic
revival between 2002 and 2008, however there were also other results. The same
study points out that the situation seems more complicated since education is
not a guarantee against unemployment in the Middle East.
In fact, unemployed rates in some countries are higher among those youth with
relatively high levels of educational attainment. In Egypt, for example, the
unemployment of university graduates reaches 25 percent whereas amongst
illiterates and those of intermediate education is five and 10 percent
The same more or less tendencies can be traced in Jordan and Lebanon.
Furthermore, employment prospects for youth in urban areas remain particularly
bleak; near by 76 percent of unemployed Moroccan youth live in urban areas.
Urban unemployment nearly doubled between 1982 and 2000, rising from 12 to 22
percent. About 60 to 70 percent of the youth in Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere
thought this is a bad time, a bad period, for seeking a job in the
Mediterranean and perhaps this is the beginning of thinking of migration as a
In both banks of the Mediterranean – not only the south, also in the north bank
of the Mediterranean, in our countries – much higher education produces instead
of conditions of prosperity, a proletarized, impoverished intelligentsia
deprived and resentful, directing its resentment against the elites as well as
the other – in the face of the migrant, of the different which as seen as the
agent of invasion, cultural and economic.
But the most startling effect of mass education is the collapse of earlier
hierarchical notions of religious authority based on claims to demonstrate of
fixed bodies of religious texts, even in countries with state-appointed
The erosion of traditional religious authorities allows a wider debate on
religion and science, democracy, modernity, gender, religious and ideological
tolerance. The same absence of authority gives, however, the opportunity to
radical and terrorist networks – personalities and institutions to hijack
religious discourse and fastly (ph) undertake the role of champion of the true
believers around the world.
Mediterranean societies have been saved through a large extent by a complex
cultural and social texture created by the combination of elements of modernity
and tradition. Moreover, identities in the Mediterranean have been and are
still being saved through the construction of separate bodies of knowledge in –
(inaudible). And intercultural dialogue should be brave enough to discuss
recent changes in the makeup, activity and the strategy of religious movements
It’s attack the role of migration communities in shaping an intercultural
dialogue in the Mediterranean and all over the world. Such a dialogue should
cope with a new process of pluralism and multiculturalism emerging in the great
seats of Europe and through the explore of dynamic interaction between conflict
and coexistence in multicultural cities in the Mediterranean and Europe.
There is a great importance in the role of press and mass media in supporting
neutral understanding, the role of non-state actors in shaping ideological
visions that affect state policies in the regions. The media have a serious
impact of how ethnic national identities and social parties influence regional
cooperation in the Mediterranean.
Moreover, the means of information technology and wired society combined with
mass education are capable of involving Mediterranean people in the discourse
and debate about the role of the state and non-state actors and thus create an
institutional and legal perquisites for the development of the open and
interacting Mediterranean civil society.
The role of gender in the development of such a civil society and intercultural
dialogue is indispensable, especially the role of women as primary socializer
for youth and childrens and the importance of women participation in activism
in all walks of life.
Women empowerment can not only increase households’ income but they can become
a remedy for social dislocation and the most useful tool for equitable growth
and social cohesion. It should not and could not however come as an imported
recipe from other parts of the world but it should be homegrown, based on
genuine social forces and the rich cultural tradition of the area.
Last but not least, the Arab-Israeli conflict and especially the
Israeli-Palestinian tract influences Mediterranean participation of the OSCE a
great deal. Of course OSCE framework could not solve these issues but it could
exploit the momentum given by the U.S. leadership initiatives in order to
expand the model of Helsinki, to expand the culture of dialogue, tolerance,
comprehension and human rights despite essential political differences.
At this particular moment, expanding membership of OSCE Mediterranean
Partnership, especially the case of the Palestinian Authority is not simply to
add new countries, but to expand a paradigm of confidence building and conflict
resolution. Now it is more necessary than ever.
Summarizing through all recent discussions and papers, we can discern three
main principles: flexibility, visibility, tangible results. Flexibility – it
is beyond any doubt that flexibility is increasing effectiveness, overcoming
sensitivities and various practical obstacles. It has been a well-taken point
in both the Egyptian and the Moroccan paper that we can concentrate on fewer
items. Greece and personally the foreign minister Ms. Bakoyannis has worked
very effectively on women empowerment through local and regional
entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, an issue that
combines human dimension and economy.
Visibility – it is important to increase the visibility of the OSCE
Mediterranean partnership in the societies of the partners. We also believe
that a young leaders forum would also provide the partnership with the –
(inaudible) – prominent young people in all walks of life. The first joint
seminar of young diplomats from OSCE Mediterranean partners organized by Greece
last year is a case in point.
Tangible results – concentration on certain issues and cross-dimensional items
can produce recommendation and results, which might lead to micro-projects
funded partly by the fund and partly by the Mediterranean governments aiming to
promoting the finds of the conference of the Mediterranean societies and of the
OSCE Mediterranean partnership.
Last, I’d like to share a personal reflection. Our Mediterranean basing can
provide us with materials of dual use. We can use them to erect walls of
division but with the same materials, build bridges of understanding. We all
opt for the latter. Thank you very much.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, professor. I now have the distinct honor
of asking my very good friend, the president of the parliamentary assembly to
give us his reflections, which I’m sure will be inspired by the two days of
activities such that with his capabilities he probably will summarize for us
all what we have done. João? Is your mike on?
JOÃO SOARES: Okay. Excuse me. Thank you, dear chairman, for this
opportunity. My first words are to greet you, Congressman Alcee Hastings and
Senator Ben Cardin and all your colleagues from the Helsinki Commission, for
this initiative. This seminar that took place until late in the morning today
from the beginning of the morning of yesterday was a great moment – a great
political moment. It was very important for us to have this possibility of
discussing with our Mediterranean partners at this eye level and that’s an
initiative that has an author and you are the author of this initiative. And I
have, as president of the parliamentary assembly, to thank you very sincerely
and to greet also our good friend and your colleague, Senator Ben Cardin, for
the work you have done.
I think that we have – as far as international relations are concerned – we
have in our hands one of the best international tools that exists, if not the
best: the OSCE and of course, its parliamentary assembly. The OSCE has proven
along the 30 years of its lifetime that it can deal with any difficult
situation and it has dealt in Central Asia, in the Caucasus, in the Balkans –
everywhere from Vancouver to Vladivostok. You know it better than anybody
because you have been a very good president of our parliamentary assembly like
our president emeritus who is here – Göran Lennmarker – you already quoted.
We have one – I strongly, personally believe that we have in our hands one of
the best political, international instruments that has shown during the 30
years of existence its flexibility, its capacity to adapting to different
situations and the capacity to deal with difficult challenges even in moments
of war. We have proved it.
And last September, when, during our Mediterranean fall meeting in Toronto, we
had the most widest discussion that occurred about the Caucasuses – south
Caucasuses – (inaudible) – and war between Georgia and Russia. And I think the
main problem for us and you gave – you, Helsinki Commission and you,
personally, Ben Cardin and Alcee Hastings, gave us a great contribution to make
our partner states from the Mediterranean believe that this is the good
instrument to deal with the difficulties we have in our future. We have no
other so good international institution including United Nations. This is the
But of course, we have problems and you’ve touched them when you made your
questions to the ambassador from the Department of State that was here. There
are too many institutions trying to deal with the Mediterranean problems. And
so, there has to be – and I agree completely with the suggestion you made and
the suggestion that was made to us by our secretary general Spencer Oliver –
there has to be a coordination.
And you, as a very dynamic special representative of the parliamentary assembly
for the Mediterranean and we – the nice work that we have done here thanks to
you here in Washington, you are in the best position to reach this coordination
between all these institutions – NATO, Mediterranean parliamentary assemblies,
all the other institutions that deal with the Mediterranean – without going so
far as we go over sea and as we can go because we have proved it.
We have just proved it here in Washington but we have proved anywhere else.
And it’s very good that our Moroccan colleagues that were in now a seminar
proposed to have in Morocco one seminar, an international conference on the
framework of the OSCE and the OSCE parliamentary assembly about the water,
which is one of the main problems. And I’m very glad because we have here and
since a long time ago, we hadn’t the opportunity of having Israeli
parliamentarians, Egyptian parliamentarians, Jordanian parliamentarians and
some other Arabic countries’ parliamentarians discussing in a civilized manner
with each other about the difficulties of the deals and the challenges that we
have in the future.
And that – for me, it’s very important. I agree completely with the quotation
that our good colleague and friend Ben Cardin made of ex-Prime Minister Rabin.
We should have, in the OSCE and in the framework of the parliamentary assembly,
the representatives of the Palestinian authority for the reasons that Rabin
gave to Ben Cardin when they talked in Jerusalem about Israel entering the OSCE
and entering the parliamentary assembly.
I think we have a big opportunity as our Greek friend said to us, the changes
that came with the new American administration and the new spirit that you, Ben
Cardin, and especially President Obama represent for all of us give us hope – a
great hope and a great expectation. I don’t remember, since the last 50 years
of my life, any time where there was so much hope concentrated in so few
people. And I’m sure you are going to stand for this opportunity – that it’s
an opportunity for the United States and it’s an opportunity for all of us.
And of course, we have now a very good chairmanship.
We have to recognize that – Dora Bakoyannis and his team of Greek diplomats and
Greek politicians are making a great work and with a great dynamic. And I
think that the last in former council of ministers made a new spirit and the
new approach and I am sure that our fall meeting that will take place in Athens
and the council of ministers that will take place in Athens until the end of
this year will represent new possibilities in approaching the complete
questions because I remember our Egyptian colleagues that were there so
experienced parliamentarians and diplomats that were always pushing us to look
at the concrete matters, not only to the beautiful resolutions.
And I know that you are also a man of the complete, Congressman Alcee Hastings:
my master and my friend and my teacher – and that’s very important. That’s
very important – to be people of the complete and I think that one of the most
important added values that we can bring to these difficult matters because
there are no miracle solutions for the conflict of the Middle East between
Israel and Palestine and between Israel and the Arab states.
But there are approaches that could be done and if we think – and the
opportunities that we’ve lost thanks to some European authorities at the time
and the previous American administration with the Iraq war and with this
terrible error that was committed – and if we think that all the resources that
we spent – we together spent, unfortunately – in the decision taken in my home
country soil in the – (inaudible) – unfortunately, I’m ashamed for it. But if
these resources had been used – human and financial – had been used in the
problems in the Middle East and in the conflict of the Middle East, Gaza strike
would not be like that. The – (inaudible) – would not be like that and Lebanon
would not be like that.
And I have a great hope and what I can assure you is that you can count with
the experience of the parliamentarians. You are very well-placed to know that
I have the greatest respect for diplomats and for other civil servants but the
experience that we have of fighting in elections, fighting for our own ideas
and our own ideals and being defeated sometimes and winning others – it’s the
most important added value that we can give. And I am sure that there is a new
spirit as far as the Mediterranean cooperation is concerned after this
Washington meeting and seminar. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Mr. President. We’ll turn to my
colleagues if they have any questions but I’d like to take a moment of personal
privilege. I have a constituent that came in the room and Alkia Lagerwal(ph)
though that perhaps I didn’t see him back there when he slid back on the wall.
That’s one of my constituents from south Florida and I’m glad to see you, young
man. And tell your dad I said hello in case I don’t get a chance to talk to
you. Mr. Aderholt, do you have any questions?
REP. ADERHOLT: I would like to ask our first panelist if – you had mentioned
something that sort of piqued my interest there about – you were talking about
the young leaders conference and the young leaders involvement in that. Could
you expand on that a little bit and how that’s currently going and what the
situation is and what you foresee coming out of that?
MR. ROUSSOS: Thank you very much for your question. I think it’s a very
critical one. I think we have to – I mean, to help preparing and lead, to help
prepare leaders that can expand the cultural of the OSCE because OSCE’s moves
foremost by – it’s a matter of culture of guidelines, culture of dialogue. So
we have to help preparing a leadership – young leadership – that is abiding by
And one step is the young diplomats joint seminar. It’s a seminar by young
diplomats from the OSCE Mediterranean partners who are coming together in
Athens and in Vienna. So there is a climate – there is an environment –
between all these young people, young diplomats who are going to, in a way, to
struggle against its others perhaps in various forum to help understand each
other and to share perhaps some common interests and also transplant – in a
way, transfer – this shared interest, this shared culture to their society.
We can actually do the same with other groups of leaders. We can do it with
young entrepreneurs. We can do it with young women leaders. We have done very
interesting – actually last year in Greece, we had a seminar on women
entrepreneurship and we have seen a great interest by young women entrepreneurs
from the region. So we can expand on this. And not only that – we can also
exploit new technology because we have a big discussion today about the use of
new technology, of telecommunications, of computer, of being wired. We can use
these potentials in order to create networks. That means these people can
communicate to each other and create networks around the Mediterranean.
And also, these projects can – these fora, these groups, these meetings can
offer tangible results. We can see the results. And we do not need big money
for this. For example, we talk about this partnership fund. Partnership fund
is not big money. I mean, it’s about half a million euros or so. So this is
not big money in terms of – I mean, for an organization of a partnership. But
in this kind of targeted initiatives and of this kind of groups, we can have
tangible results with not so much money. This is what we think about this
young leaders’ forum.
REP. ADERHOLT: Well, certainly I think it’s something to be pursued and it’s a
great idea and I would encourage you to –
MR. ROUSSOS: Actually, there is this idea – and again, we came back to this –
to the coordination. For example, NATO Aspen Institute has such a program of
young leaders. We can have a bigger one incorporating or coordinating the
Aspen Institute, NATO, young leaders for the Mediterranean and the young
leaders of the OSCE and perhaps a young leaders’ forum that is going on in the
new union for the Mediterranean. SO this is one example but we can easily
REP. HASTINGS: Would the gentleman yield just a moment?
REP. ADERHOLT: Sure, go ahead.
REP. HASTINGS: Earlier today, we had a presentation from the German Marshall
Fund and they’re moving in that direction as well in dealing with the youth.
And I just add that and will provide you with that –
REP. ADERHOLT: Yeah, well that’s encouraging to hear. And yeah, well, thank
you, professor, for your comments on that. I don’t have anything else. I just
do want to say, again, it’s a great honor to have the president of OSCE
parliamentary assembly with us and thank you for your leadership and it’s good
to have you here in Washington and before our panel today. Thank you.
REP. HASTINGS: Ms. Moore?
MR.: It’s a shared pleasure.
REP. MOORE: Thank you. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and thank you so much,
Mr. President for the honor of having you here in the United States. I
apologize for being out of the room. I’m working on being in two places at one
time – been working on it for quite a while.
But I was happy to hear you speak about soft security issues and the need to
train and do training and development with younger people. I want to focus on
something that the Moroccan delegation to the OSCE has circulated a vision
paper talking about the need to engage around the issue of energy and water. I
represent a district right on Lake Michigan and of course, the Great Lakes
contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. And Lake Michigan on which my
district resides is the only lake that’s totally and completely contained
within the United States. And so therefore, we have industries – 120
industries – that relate to water development. We have a university that has
an industry, an educational and academic system that is developed around water
The impact of climate change and the lack of water on Earth is going to have a
greater impact on women than anyone else as they seek to relocate their
families. And so I am wondering what we could do in establishing a network
among these Mediterranean research institutions to work on a dual track, to
work on climate change and water development but also have that be a way of
bringing women who are going to endure the greatest hardship under the dearth
of these resources into these academic opportunities.
MR. ROUSSOS: It’s a splendid example of having a multi-dimensional work in the
partnership. First of all, water is a security issue so it is by all means a
security issue. It’s an environmental issue and has to do also with the women
and children quality of life and quality of work. Now, of course there were
attempts in the 1990s by the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, by the Barcelona
process, by the multilateral tracks to create a network of research institutes.
But I think that this network has not been so successful, not because of the
people because of other circumstances – mainly political.
It is a huge opportunity now to use the partnership fund and I think – to this
direction. And also do something else. And, now, I would like to come back to
what our chairman said about small businesses and micro-banking, micro-lending
and women in these businesses because around protection of water, around water
management, there can be a huge development of micro-business, micro-lending
led by women. We have seen that; we have seen that in Bangladesh, we have seen
that with fisheries in Bangladesh run by women with the micro-lending by
Grameen Bank, which is a success. So we can go on with these examples and we
can start with the research network and perhaps also thinking about
Of course, I have here to make a distinction, to make a note that OSCE is not
an economic organization. It’s not a financial organization. World Bank or
other organizations can do this job better. But what OSCE can do is, again, to
have the cultural infrastructure, to have the culture of dialogue of
cooperation and this is the main contribution of the OSCE partnership.
REP. MOORE: Care to follow up?
REP. HASTINGS: She had a follow up.
MR. ROUSSOS: Can I also say that –
REP. MOORE: Oh, no, no, no. The president. I will yield.
REP. HASTINGS: Ms. Moore –
MR. SOARES: Thank you –
REP. MOORE: Thank you so much, Mr. President. I do.
MR. SOARES: I liked so much the question you put that I wanted to add
something. I think that we as parliamentarians inside the framework of the
OSCE are the best place to deal with these kinds of issues. And I agree with
you. The paper that our Moroccan friends came to us – I quoted it in the first
speech I made in the opening. It was one of the best papers we have here and
the fact that our Moroccan colleagues took the initiative to go to an
international conference about the water means that there is the flexibility
and the spirit of the OSCE and especially in the spirit of the parliamentary
And as you know, gender problems – gender equality problems – is one of our
main goals and our main tasks. And we have done work – I’ve seen it with my
own eyes after Göran Lennmarker, after Alcee Hastings, I had the pleasure and
the honor of being in Central Asia in places where there are real problems and
where we are facing them and not only with the politically correct and the
photo opportunity – with real work in the field. And sometimes without the
I was surprised in Central Asia and I spoke this morning about it and I simply
could establish a corporation with Aga Khan Network because they are dealing
with the same goals, with the same challenges and they are doing such good work
in the model of our own work as far as the parliamentary assembly’s concerned.
And that is something that we should always underline in a proud matter. We
have one of the best secretariats in the world because we have a small budget,
a small secretariat and we make a real work from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
I was very pleased, I have the opportunity to say but all Mediterranean
partners came to the last presidential elections in the United States to the
observing mission in a great number. And that means also the attraction that
the United States has to our Mediterranean partners. But that means also, the
quality of the work we are doing and I propose for example in the former
ministerial council in Corfu the idea of taking good ideas that in other
institutions have worked, like the ERASMUS program in the European Union or
your program that came from the second World War of cooperation in building
education for young people coming from other countries. But the ERASMUS has
made more for the European Union than all the treaties and that is something
that should be brought inside the OSCE. Excuse me.
REP. HASTINGS: Were you going to add one final word there, Gwen?
REP. MOORE: One final word and I think the president really said it much more
eloquently than I could have. And that is – and I just wanted to just disagree
a little bit with you, Mr. Roussos, to say that it’s really hard to
disaggregate economic issues from humanitarian issues. And here, we’re dealing
with it when we look at the gender inequity because the status of women is like
the canary in the coalmine. It’s like – you shouldn’t stuff like that time –
MR. ROUSSOS: Sorry.
REP. MOORE: – you know, but if you can look at the status of women and tell
what is going on in a country – if women lack economic opportunities, if they
are not a part of growing the economy, if there are human rights issues with
including them, the whole economy of the country will suffer indeed. So women
are going to be critically impacted by climate change and water resources. We
need to get them involved in education and I think if we could get our
Mediterranean partners to see it as an economic issue for their future, it
would help us deal with some of the human rights and gender issues as well.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you very much, all.
REP. MOORE: Right.
REP. HASTINGS: Thank you, professor. Thank you, Mr. President and Ms. Moore.
I’m sure that President Soares and President-emeritus Lennmarker and my good
friend Senator Grafstein and Spencer Oliver, the secretary general, all thought
that they would come over here and get away from Tona Tensguard (ph) but –
(laughter) – that’s sort of – for the persons who don’t know, that’s inside
parliamentary assembly baseball but Ms. Tensgard has arrival now on gender
issues and that Ms. Moore is constantly involved with us.
Toward that end, we said that we would be here an hour-and-a-half and we have
been. I’d like to say with Mr. Nagisi al-Hamed (ph), if you would or if you
can walk with me, I have to go to the Rules Committee. It’s been an
extraordinarily busy day for all of us. I think we’ve had not only a fruitful
hearing here this afternoon but the two days of interaction, in my considered
opinion, was superb.
I’d be terribly remiss – the three staffers here on the desk with me are
persons that were extremely instrumental in causing this seminar and hearing to
be a success. And I want to take a special cognizance of the work of Fred
Turner, the staff director that many of you have interacted with and continue
to do so and I hope will as well as Alex Johnson who really was the principal
author of many of the specifics and the hard work that was undertaken. And
Marlene Kaufmann who I indicated to you earlier did in fact write the
resolution that is now law in so far as the House of Representatives is
concerned in that it passed unanimously last night. And I will get for you a
copy of the congressional record that has the statements of members of
Congress, including our good friend Chris Smith – when I know you’ve got to go,
we are all right – our good friend Chris Smith, the ranking member of this
Also, the fine staffers, interns – all of them that did all of this
extraordinary work – I thank you and compliment you so well. It’s one of the
things that I encourage our partner states as well as the participating states
to do more of and that is to have more young people that are involved as is the
case at the secretariat of the parliamentary assembly – interns that go on to
become career professionals in a variety of fields dealing with international
President Soares, you mentioned the fact that our partner states came in great
numbers to the United States elections. As you know, I’m not one that worries
too much about bragging about things that I do. But I take full responsibility
for asking then-secretary Colin Powell to change the provisions of the United
States to allow for election observers to show you how important relationships
can be and how even though appearances may look from time to time as if persons
have such serious disagreements that they can’t come to terms and do things in
a positive way.
I was in Russia as an election observer and I went out drinking vodka with two
of my Russian colleagues. And one of them said to me in very serious terms –
he says, you know, this is your third time here in Russia observing our
elections and I don’t have the privilege of observing yours. I took that to
heart and I came back and for a year, worked with Secretary Powell who made
that change in 2004 and for the first time, we had observers. For me, the loop
was closed in 2008 when the same person that I had drinks with in Russia that I
had drinks with him in Fort Lauderdale when he came to observe our elections.
That’s a part of what developing relationships can produce in the way of
positive results for all of our countries and that’s why I don’t believe that
there are any barriers that are incapable of being overcome by humankind.
But I do believe that institutions, not multiplicity of institutions, but
institutions are greater than humans when it comes to collective undertakings.
And therefore, I agree with my president that the Organization for Security and
Cooperation and more specifically, its parliamentary assembly, has been a
dynamic that has been not observed by the overall community here in this
country as well as in many places in Europe and in the Maghreb and elsewhere.
But they are doing and have done extraordinary work.
The development of the Mediterranean forum actually came from a person that I
defeated to be president of the parliamentary assembly. The first person that
I know that mentioned it was a gentleman that I asked to come but he could not
arrange his calendar – is Michele Voissant (ph) from France. Followed by a
person that I’ve had considerable disagreements with and will continue if he
continues his path however in Albania recently, in spite of our differences, we
worked together to assist in making sure that election observation went
But the second person that took the lead on this would be Bruce George, a
parliamentarian from the United Kingdom. And that was followed then by my
presidency and followed robustly by the presidency of Göran Lennmarker and even
more so in light of the fact that he lives even closer to the region than
anybody did by now-President Soares. That’s how it came about in the first
place and you can be assured you have four of us that were directly involved
and have known each other for a very long time and see this as vital and
critical for stability in the Middle East and for peace and prosperity
throughout the Maghreb and all of our partner states.
I thank you all for your attention and for being here with us. And I say to
the partner states that are still here that it is our intention to work with
the new Kazakh chair in office and to continue our efforts to follow up on this
seminar. And as I said in the meeting, I’m hopeful that all of the six states
will host a meeting that all of the six countries will attend. Thank you.