Hearing :: Ukraine’s Leadership of the OSCE

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Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe:  
U.S. Helsinki Commission

Ukraine’s Leadership of the OSCE

Commission Members Present:
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD);
Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX);  
Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ);
Representative Stephen Cohen (D-TN)


Witness:
Leonid Kozhara, 
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

The Hearing Was Held at 2:05 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 
562, Washington, D.C., Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) Presiding 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CARDIN:  Well, let me welcome Minister Kozhara to our commission, the Helsinki 
Commission.  It’s a pleasure to have you here.

Mr. Kozhara is the president, or the chair-in-office, of the OSCE.  The 
Helsinki Commission has always hosted the chair-in-office, and we thank you, 
Mr. Minister, for carrying out that tradition of coming to the United States, 
visiting the Helsinki Commission during the year of your chair-in-office.  We 
know this has been an extremely busy year, with many matters of particular 
concern within the OSCE region, as well as the continuation of the agenda 
that’s so important to the member states.  

I’m joined by the co-chair of the commission, Commissioner Smith, who I think 
you know very well, and Commissioner Burgess, Dr. Burgess, a member from Texas. 
 So we expect to be joined by other members of the commission.  But let me 
welcome you here to the United States.  

The 1975 Helsinki Final Act and process it initiated, with its focus on human 
rights and fundamental freedom, played an important role in the achievement of 
your country’s independence.  As you know, the Helsinki Commission has had a 
long history of support for Ukraine’s independence and democratic development.  
We want Ukraine to succeed.

I recall my visit to Ukraine, both to Kyiv in early 2005, shortly following the 
Orange Revolution, a time of great promise.  And I will always remember that 
first visit and seeing just the energy among the people of the Ukraine and how 
they were able to reclaim their country and establish democratic institutions 
that represent the will of the people.  

I returned in 2007, where you hosted the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s annual 
meeting.  And it was one of the more interesting Parliamentary Assembly 
meetings that we’ve had.  I had the opportunity during that visit to visit 
Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history, which 
for nearly three decades has had such a profound impact on the Ukraine and her 
neighbors.  

Like any chair-in-office, Ukraine faces formidable tasks in leading this 
multilateral organization that operates on the basis of consensus and includes 
57 countries ranging from democracy to dictatorship.  As I said to you before 
this hearing started, you have to be an incredible diplomat to deal with the 
different types of issues represented by the 57 participating states.  And we 
thank you for being willing to step forward to serve in that leadership 
position.

As chair-in-office, you also must display strong democratic credentials in 
order to be the example for the other states that need to do better in their 
adherence to OSCE obligations.  It’s incumbent upon Ukraine to lead by example 
in upholding the OSCE human rights and rule of law commitments.

I welcome the recent pardons of former high-ranking officials and believe that 
they are a good first step.  I trust that you will build on your promise of 
further judicial and electoral reforms.  And we hope that last week’s European 
Court on Human Rights’ ruling that the detention of former Prime Minister Yulia 
Tymoshenko before and during her trial was arbitrary and a violation of rights 
will provide further impetus for her release.

Mr. Minister, your appearance here allows us to hear your reflections on your 
achievements and challenges to date, and how your priorities are being executed 
and the plans for the remainder of your tenure.  We all must do what we can to 
insure security and economic cooperation and to safeguard not only democracy’s 
progress, but its preservation.  

That is why strengthening the implementation of the human dimension commitments 
by all participating states is so important.  We’re for strengthening all three 
baskets.  All three baskets are important.  We don’t want to weaken any of the 
baskets.  The human dimension is extremely important, as is the economic, 
environmental and the security baskets.  I had the opportunity to chair the 
second committee of the Parliamentary Assembly and worked on the economic and 
environmental.  So all three baskets are critically important.  

The U.S. Helsinki Commission has, in recent years, made priorities many of the 
issues that you’re dealing with today:  the tolerance agenda and the 
establishments of the special representatives.  We take particular pride in 
having the first hearings dealing with the problems of bigotry.  

The human trafficking issues.  Congressman Smith has been a world leader on 
promoting greater accountability, not just by the destination countries but by 
the origin countries and the transit countries.  We all have responsibility.  
And we’re proud of the report that we issued, the TIP Report, that reflects how 
well a country is doing in meeting its international commitments against human 
trafficking.  

In the area of transparency and fighting corruption, the commission has taken a 
very strong position for greater transparency, particularly with the extractive 
industries.  

And as I told you in our private discussion, we are very much concerned about 
strengthening the election monitoring process and resolving any conflicts that 
might exist between ODIHR and the Parliamentary Assembly to make sure that 
there’s an effective mechanism in place for that critically important role that 
the OSCE plays in monitoring to make sure elections are free and fair.

And then let me mention we have many dispute areas of borders that we want to 
see resolved in a peaceful way.  And these conflicts in many cases have been 
frozen for way too long, and we welcome your assessment as to how progress is 
being made on all these fronts.

The bottom line is that we want to thank you for your leadership in the OSCE, 
and we wish you continued success as you have completed about the one-third 
mark of your chairmanship presidency and have two-thirds to go.  We want you to 
know that this commission wants to work with you to accomplish our mutual 
objectives within the OSCE.

As I explained to you and my colleagues a little bit earlier, this is a 
bicameral body, with House members and Senate members.  The Senate is in the 
process right now of two votes on a water resource bill.  I’m going to be 
leaving and turning the gavel over to Chairman Smith, but I expect to be back 
in about 15 minutes.  I know the House has scheduled votes around 3:00 this 
afternoon, so the members may be coming in and out during the course of the 
hearing.  But that’s not a reflection of the importance of the subject, and we 
certainly want to extend to you the greatest courtesies.  Thank you.

SMITH:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman – Chairman Cardin. 

And, Mr. Foreign Minister, welcome, and your leaders from Ukraine who are here 
with you today.  I’d like to join my colleagues in officially welcoming you, 
along with the co-chair, and of course welcome everyone who’s in the room, many 
of whom have labored long and hard for many years on behalf of human rights, 
democracy and freedom in the Ukraine.  

Ukraine has come certainly a long way since I first joined the Helsinki 
Commission 30 years ago.  At that time it was a great nation suffering under 
Soviet oppression, and independence and freedom seemed like a distant dream.  
Even in those days, however, Ukraine distinguished itself by the number of 
courageous men and women who fought for human rights and freedom.  

When the Helsinki monitoring groups were formed in the Soviet Union to call on 
the dictatorship to live up to its Helsinki human rights commitments, the 
Ukrainian monitoring group was the largest and the most harshly repressed of 
them all, and in the early 1990s played a leading role in establishing 
democracy in an independent Ukraine.  In many ways Ukrainians were at the 
forefront of the struggle to replace the old Soviet Union with governments that 
respected human rights, a great honor to Ukraine.

So it is a special privilege to have you here today, Mr. Foreign Minister.  And 
it is a fitting and long-awaited distinction for Ukraine to lead the OSCE this 
year.  You and your country will face many challenges and opportunities this 
year in your role as chair-in-office, and I look forward to hearing, as well as 
my colleagues, you present your ongoing plans for the remaining, as Ben Cardin 
said, two-thirds of you tenure in office at the OSCE.

Of course it is good news that your priorities as chairman-in-office include an 
emphasis on the human dimension issues, especially human trafficking, media 
freedom, tolerance and nondiscrimination in democratic elections.  As author of 
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and it’s 2003 and ’05 
reauthorizations, I especially applaud the leadership, the energy and the 
vision which you have shown in taking on the fight to combat the scourge of 
modern-day slavery, human trafficking.  

All of us in the fight against trafficking appreciate the special trafficking 
conference that Ukraine is convening in Kyiv this June in order to look closely 
at overlooked aspects of human trafficking and, most importantly, the 
strengthening, the coherence of the OSCE’s response, including international 
law enforcement response to trafficking in persons. 

I also want to commend Ukraine for the work it has done already to focus 
attention on the hundreds of thousands of trafficking victims who are moved 
across borders each year who could be rescued in transit if airline and other 
transportation personnel were appropriate trained and law enforcement ready to 
intervene.

Last month Ambassador Motsyk took the lead in spearheading the Airline 
Ambassadors airline initiative, with other ambassadors here in Washington, and 
other diplomats from OSCE countries, as well as with representatives of 
airlines in the United States.  This training will create the situational 
awareness in the transportation industry that will make it much harder to 
traffic women.

At the event at the Ukrainian Embassy – and I was very privileged to have been 
invited and to join you there – Ambassador Motsyk introduced Nancy Rivard, the 
founder and president of Airline Ambassadors, who demonstrated that 
transportation personnel, once trained, can rescue people in flight, of course 
by contacting law enforcement, so when that flight lands they can be protected 
and the perpetrators arrested. 

They have rescued more than a hundred victims already.  And of course the 
Ukrainian government has taken the lead in organizing another major trafficking 
event to be held later this summer in Kyiv. So, Mr. Foreign Minister, your 
government’s efforts will ensure that thousands of women and girls will be 
rescued from the horrors of trafficking and will impede the traffickers so that 
many other women and children will never undergo it.  It will have a chilling 
effect.

Your commitment to introducing this program in the 57 OSCE participating states 
will ensure that we can rescue thousands more.  And I know I speak for everyone 
in this fight in thanking you for that extraordinary leadership.

I also want to mention one of the remaining problems in Ukraine, probably the 
chief symbol of problems touching on human rights, and that is our ongoing 
concern for former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.  As Ben Cardin mentioned, 
you know that that is of deep concern to each and every one of us, and I do 
hope that you and your government will do all that it can to release her.  The 
recent release of opposition leader Yuri Lutsenko was a great step.  It sent a 
message to each and every one of us of progress, and we are all very grateful 
for that.  

So again, Mr. Foreign Minister, Mr. Chairman, thank you for being here and we 
look forward to your testimony.  But I’d like to now yield to Mr. Cohen for any 
opening comments that he might have.

COHEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  And to our guest, I appreciate your 
capacities that you are engaged in, in government and in the OSCE.  

I am concerned about these issues.  And some of the issues concerning the 
Ukraine that have come to my attention concern some attacks when, I believe it 
was Mr. Kuchma was the president.  And at that time there was a journalist, 
Yeliashkevich, who was a party official, and he was beaten badly.  

And it’s my understanding that the perpetrators of that action have not been 
brought to justice, and that some, I understand, in the Ukraine feel that the 
perpetrators have since been identified.  There was some issue about the proof, 
but the proof is – I think it’s a judgment call.

There was a journalist killed, Mr. Gongadze.  And two others at the same time 
were terribly beaten.  I do know, as I understand, one of the perpetrators 
there was sentenced to life, but others have not been.  And there was 
involvement expected through the government, and they have not been brought to 
justice.  And Mr. Podolsky, a journalist who survived a beating at the same 
time.  

In all those cases, justice does not seem to have been carried out to the 
extent that it might have been to bring all the parties responsible to justice. 
 And my questions to you will be, what is being done to see that justice, even 
if it goes to the highest levels in your government, is meted out so that these 
atrocious murders and beatings, which were political in nature and against the 
civil rights of these individuals, and against the Ukrainian government, in 
essence, will be brought to justice?

And with that, I look forward to your remarks and appreciate your service.  

CARDIN:  Thank you, Mr. Cohen.

I now yield to Dr. Burgess.

BURGESS:  Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.  And I appreciate you having the 
hearing on Ukraine’s leadership of the Organization for Security and 
Cooperation in Europe, indeed the world’s largest regional security 
organization.

The OSCE is well known for promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of 
law.  Ukraine, through the leadership of the chairman-in-office, has assumed 
the highest political position in the OSCE during an important and challenging 
time.  

Over the past several years, participating states have tasked OSCE with an 
increasingly long list of issues, from poor compliance with the OSCE’s 
democratic commitments by some participating states to consistent efforts by 
Russia and its allies to undercut the work on human rights.  The OSCE is in 
need of Ukraine’s strong leadership and continued commitment to doing good work.

And I believe that Ukraine is capable and rising to the challenge one-third of 
its way through this year.  In your tenure as chair, the priorities during that 
time remain attainable.  Ukraine’s focus on human trafficking, media freedom, 
energy security and a new framework for increasing work on good governance are 
worthwhile and achievable through steadfast leadership.

I also want to join with Commissioner Cardin, Chairman Cardin and Chairman 
Smith – and, Chairman, thank you for having that hearing in the last Congress 
on Yulia Tymoshenko, and certainly we do need to remain focused on the 
difficulties that she and her family have faced during this prolonged 
incarceration.

The Helsinki Commission has a strong working relationship with the Ukrainian 
chairmanship.  Foreign Minister Kozhara is familiar with the work of the 
commission from the mid-’90s when he was Ukrainian Embassy’s congressional 
liaison here in Washington.  Today the commission continues to work with the 
Ukrainian Embassy on many issues.  And I thank you for being here, and welcome 
back to Washington.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing.  And certainly we share 
common goals and look forward to your testimony.  Thank you.

CARDIN:  Mr. Foreign Minister, Mr. Chair-in-Office, the floor is yours.

KOZHARA:  Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely pleased and honored to be 
here with you today as a chairperson-in-office of the Organization for Security 
and Cooperation in Europe. 

It’s a great responsibility for me personally, and for Ukraine, to lead the 
world’s largest regional security organization throughout this year.  With 57 
participating states, stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, the OSCE is 
uniquely designed as a comprehensive and inclusive platform for security 
dialogue in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area.  We strongly believe that the 
OSCE is well suited to address the changing security challenges in its area, 
and that we need to continue strengthening its toolbox and improving its 
coherence.  

Ukraine, as the chairmanship-in-office, is a consistent advocate of the OSCE 
concept of comprehensive cooperative, equal and indivisible security.  We take 
the view that lasting and sustainable peace and security can only be achieved 
by pursuing a balanced approach across all three dimensions:  the political and 
military, the environmental and economic, as well as the human dimensions.

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, the 
Helsinki-plus-40 process launched in Dublin last year should serve in our 
understanding as a catalyst for re-energizing the entire organization.  A 
strong engagement from the United States will be of a great importance for 
success of this effort.  

Distinguished audience, we are convinced that the human dimension belongs to 
the core of the concept of comprehensive security.  The Ukrainian chairmanship 
outlined the over-reaching goal of promoting full implementation of the 
existing human dimension commitments by all participating states.  

The fight against trafficking in persons remains one of the key issues that are 
being addressed by the OSCE under the Ukrainian chairmanship.  It’s a plague 
that many OSCE countries, including Ukraine, have been suffering for many 
years.  We need to combine all possible instruments to meet this challenge.  

A set of public events has been organized to this end, one of them being the 
international conference on strengthening the OSCE response to trafficking in 
human beings, to be held in Kyiv this June.  And in this regard, I would like 
to use this opportunity to invite members of the Helsinki Commission to attend 
this important event in my home country and in the city of Kyiv.

Fostering the freedom of the media is also among our priorities in this 
dimension.  A human rights seminar in Warsaw is planned to address the media 
freedom legislation issues.  It would result in developing relevant 
recommendations for the participating states.

We will also strive to achieve progress in the areas of free movement of 
people, promotion of tolerance and nondiscrimination, freedom of association 
and assembly, inter-religious dialogue in promoting freedom of religion or 
belief, as well as democratic elections and election observation.  Attaching 
great importance to the promotion of tolerance and nondiscrimination through 
youth education, the chairmanship is preparing to host the OSCE youth summit in 
July-August this year in Crimea, Ukraine.  

We also believe in the importance of constructive engagement of civil society 
in achieving the OSCE goals.  Election monitoring is one of the hallmarks of 
the OSCE.  A smooth cooperation between the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the 
ODIHR is essential.  The OSCE must speak in one voice.  

It is for the benefit of all the OSCE participating states to take 
recommendations made by the international observation missions seriously.  For 
instance, following the October 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine, its 
government approved a relevant action plan on priority measures to improve the 
electoral legislation.  At the same time, to ensure compliance in election 
observation, it is important to safeguard independence, impartiality and 
professionalism of observers in line with the OSCE decisions.

Ladies and gentlemen, progress in finding a sustainable and long-term solution 
to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area is on top of our agenda.  My visit 
in the capacity of the OSCE chairperson-in-office in January was to Moldova.  I 
encouraged the leadership in Chisinau and Tiraspol to engage constructively 
into the negotiations process.  

The political will for mutual rapprochement at both banks of the Dniester River 
is a key to finding compromise solutions.  We hope that the results of current 
political process in Moldova will give a new impetus to further development of 
dialect between Chisinau and Tiraspol, to which Ukraine remains ready to 
contribute.

We remain convinced the success of the Geneva process is crucial for improving 
the security and humanitarian situation in the conflict areas in Georgia.  The 
chairmanship welcomes and supports the efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs 
directed at promoting dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the settlement 
of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 

During my upcoming visit to the South Caucasus on June 17th – 20th, I intend to 
outline the need for a strict implementation of ceasefire and to support the 
call of the Minsk Group co-chairs for a more active engagement in the 
negotiations over the basic principles of the settlement.  

Within the political and military dimension, we aim at modernizing the OSCE 
political military instruments.  As a strong advocate of nonproliferation, 
Ukraine attaches special importance to enhancing the OSCE’s profile in 
countering the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  

We appreciate the high level of cooperation between Ukraine and the United 
States on updating the 1994 OSCE principles governing nonproliferation.  We 
expect that, in close collaboration with the United States and other key 
stakeholders, we will be able to finalize this work prior to the key OSCE 
Ministerial Council in December this year.

Combating cybercrime remains of paramount importance.  To this end, Ukraine 
will contribute to provide support to the OSCE open-ended informal working 
group.  We will also work together with this chair, the permanent 
representative of the USA to the OSCE, and all participating states to achieve 
progress on the initial set of confidence-building measures to reduce the risks 
on conflicts stemming from the use of information and communication 
technologies.  

Distinguished audience, it would be hardly possible to promote a comprehensive 
and lasting security in the OSCE region without properly addressing challenges 
in the economic and environmental sphere.  We have proposed to explore whether 
the OSCE could provide an added value and play a role in the development of the 
new trade and transport corridors.  The core theme here is also increasing 
stability and security by improving the environmental footprint of 
energy-related activities.

In this context, we came out with the initiative to hold a high-level 
international conference on energy security under the auspices of the OSCE 
chairmanship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in October this year.  We count on 
active U.S. engagement in implementing this initiative.

Ladies and gentlemen, the withdrawal of international security forces from 
Afghanistan in 2013 will have considerable security implications for the OSCE 
area.  As the OSCE chairmanship, we will further explore areas that require 
enhanced interaction with Afghanistan, as well as synergy in activities of 
relevant international actors to effectively address challenges arising from 
transition of responsibility in the country.

The OSCE has regular dialogue with partners in the Middle East.  It also 
promotes and creates projects which can offer the best practices of the OSCE, 
together with lessons learned on the challenges of democratic change upon 
request by partners in the region.  The number of the requests is growing, and 
the scope of interest is increasing in all three OSCE dimensions.  We remain 
fully committed to this process.  

Ladies and gentlemen, now, as I have dwelt enough upon the OSCE chairmanship 
agenda, let me put on the toga of the foreign minister of Ukraine and say some 
words about my country’s foreign and internal policies.  They are of obvious 
interest to this distinguished audience.

The Ukrainian politics are currently streamlined by two processes, perfectly 
complimentary to each other.  The first is the ambitious program of internal 
reforms that the government is deliberately implementing under the clear 
mandate by the citizens that have elected it.  The second is the process of the 
European integration of Ukraine, and in particular the preparation for signing 
of the association agreement with the European Union November this year.

Ukraine is focused at conducting successful reforms in budget, financing, 
electoral, legislation, rule of law sphere, administrative governance, fight 
against corruption, and public policy.  

There are several reforms currently ongoing in Ukraine, but I would like to 
underline our actions in reforming our judiciary system, the adoption of a new 
criminal procedure code, and laws on – (inaudible) – cornerstones of this 
judiciary reform.  

At the same time, a special constitutional assembly has been established to 
elaborate approaches of visions for reforming the constitution of Ukraine.  
While reforming the judicial system, we followed direct consultation and expert 
advice from the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission.  Many of the EU’s 
requirements regarding legal reform have already been implemented.  

Numerous Ukrainian reforms have been praised internationally; for instance, the 
pension reform was estimated as one of the most socially balanced reforms in 
Europe by the World Bank.  The World Custom Organization has commended the new 
Custom Code for its compliance with the international and European standards.  
And the Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, together with the Council 
of Europe experts, regards the new Criminal Procedure Code as, indeed, one of 
the best in Europe.  The Ukrainian leadership is truly committed to doing 
everything in its power to ensure the signing of their association agreement 
with the European Union during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in 
November this year.  

The Ukrainian leadership is truly committed to – nevertheless, in the end, we 
are determined to implement all the declared reforms, not so much to report 
good news to the European Union and other Ukrainian partners, but to ensure 
democratic and pro-European development of Ukraine from within.

Let me finally say some words about Ukraine’s relations with Russia.  No 
country can obviously change its geography.  This means there is no other 
option for Ukraine but to strive to maintain good, neighborly and partnership 
relations with Russia.  There is an intensive public debate in Ukraine about 
its relations with the Custom Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.  Let me 
be absolutely clear on this matter:  Russia and the Custom Union as a whole are 
key trade partners of Ukraine.  Should Ukraine not aim at the most favorable 
trade regime with the Custom Union?  Of course it should.

Just two examples:  The European Free Trade Association that unites four 
wealthy European countries has already held eight rounds of talks about a free 
trade area with the Custom Union.  New Zealand is currently doing exactly the 
same.

Ukraine has asked for an observer status in the Custom Union.  We consider that 
it would serve Ukraine’s interests in its trade with the Union and, at the same 
time, it would correspond to Kyiv’s commitments within the WTO and with the 
European Union.  Ukraine’s proposal is currently under consideration.  And we 
hope for a prompt positive result.

Ladies and gentlemen, much speech is one thing; well-timed speech is another 
said the great Sophocles two and a half thousand years ago.  As I do not 
believe either in the effectiveness of sterile monologues or flamboyant 
speeches, I stand ready in my both current capacities to be engaged with you 
and in an informal yet substantial discussion.

Thank you very much.

CARDIN:  Well, let me thank you for that very comprehensive testimony.  I’m 
going to recognize the House members first in the event that there is a vote 
that takes place on the House side.  So let me call upon Congressman Smith 
first and then we’ll – others may have questions also.

SMITH:  Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.  

And thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your very comprehensive look at the huge 
challenges that you face as the chair in office.  You know, your trip to 
Moldova, I’m wondering,  whether or not – what the fall of the – of the 
government, if that now portends new challenges that weren’t even, you know, 
something that you had on the plate when you were there.

But the issue of the Azerbaijan and Armenian casualties in Nagorno-Karabakh is 
obviously a huge issue.  They are both building up their military capabilities 
and many of us are very concerned where that might all lead to.  So we wish you 
well on that trip, especially well, in trying to bring peace to that frozen 
conflict that has been with us for so long.  And if you might want to elaborate 
on that, that would be great.

And if I could also – just a couple of questions as well – you know, the OSCE 
does pass a number of very important action plans.  In 2004, we passed the 
Berlin Declaration on Anti-Semitism and all of us were very much involved with 
that very important declaration, the Roma declaration in 2003.  

But part of the problem that we all have – and I think we all suffer from this 
– is that we put on paper something that looks very good but then when it comes 
to implementation time, we all fall far short.  And that has been the 
experience on all of these issues.  So – and I’m just hoping that – if during 
your chairmanship in office, the emphasis can be put on concrete deeds.  Words 
are important, but we do need those deeds.  Anti-Semitism – I just chaired a 
hearing on combating anti-Semitism just several weeks ago – it is bad and it’s 
getting worse and particularly in certain parts of Europe and the United 
States.  So I would hope that you would – you would all that you could possibly 
do in combating anti-Semitism.

On trafficking, again, as I said in my opening, congratulations for the 
extraordinary leadership you are demonstrating.  It is a breath of fresh air.  
And it will mean that women who otherwise would have been exploited and raped 
will evade that horrible cruelty because of your work.  We all need laws.  We 
pass trafficking laws, you pass them.  But frankly, we need more public-private 
and public faith-based cooperatives.  And I know that as – the one that you’ve 
taken up with the airlines and the hotels and all will have a – make a huge 
difference.  

You might want to speak to that, if you – if you would.  And the ambassador, 
again, is doing a wonderful job on that.  If we have people who are 
situationally aware that a trafficking situation is occurring right in front of 
their eyes and have a way of getting it to proper law enforcement.  It will 
mitigate the instances of trafficking.  And it will certainly help rescue that 
woman as she’s being trafficked.

And finally, I would just say, Ms. Tymoshenko, we are very concerned about her. 
 I chaired a hearing a year ago.  We heard from her daughter via Skype, but she 
made an impassioned plea on behalf of her mother.  So you know, friends 
encourage and appeal.  I make an encouragement and an appeal to you to finally, 
at long last, resolve that case.

KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Co-chairman.  

And yes, indeed, the day after I opened our presidency in the OSCE in Vienna, I 
traveled to Moldova and I visited both sides of the Dniester River.  I started 
from Chisinau and next day, I traveled to Tiraspol.  And for Ukraine, it’s 
quite natural to strive for peace and quietness in Moldova, because we have 
1,000-miles border with Moldova.  And I remember 22 years ago, when the 
military confrontation happened in Moldova, thousands of refugees fled from 
Moldova to Ukraine.  And we experienced a terrific humanitarian tragedy that 
time.  That is why maybe for no other country but Ukraine, we want peace in 
that region.  

So – and I found – I found all support in Chisinau and I think I also found a 
constructive response in Tiraspol from the local leadership.  And it seemed 
that we agreed on three important matters: number one, that the negotiation 
should not stop and go on; number two, that the two leaders of Moldova, top 
negotiators on Moldova in Tiraspol, should meet on a regular basis.  And we 
suggested the Ukrainian territory as a place to meet for them.  And number 
three, negotiations should also contain talks on the political status of 
Transdniestria, because the unclear political status is a problem not only for 
Moldova, but for Transdniestria as well.

With regards Azerbaijan and Armenia – yes, Mr. Co-chairman, I agree.  The 
situation is extremely difficult and we are watching – the tension is rising 
and because of the – some political statements from both sides.  And for 
Ukraine, all two countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia, are very close countries 
from the historical humanitarian people-to-people point of view.  We have in 
Ukraine big diasporas of Azeri people and of Armenian people.  That’s why we 
cannot stand the sight from that conflict.

And – but I also understand that in the last 20 – more than 20 years, when the 
war happened between these two countries, so many checks and balances were 
created and my task as I can see it, not to break those checks and balances, 
but to push a progressive negotiation.

So it would be for me much easier to talk to you and to say what happened, 
because the situation is really, really complicated.  And – but I think the 
Ukrainian leadership in the OSCE can be the most effective in settling all the 
problems in that area.

So regarding anti-Semitism – so for Ukraine is a mother place for many 
religions and many nations, so it’s quite natural to have a big Jewish 
community.  And yesterday, when I came to New York on my first day in the 
United States, I met with the Jewish community there.  And I think Ukraine 
today is one of the best examples of interethnic and interreligious tolerance.  
And under our leadership in the OSCE, we are going to hold several events on 
tolerance and interethnic peace.  And one we have already had in Kiev, a 
conference on interreligious communications and I was speaking before that 
conference.  And by the way, that conference was arranged by the prominent 
leaders of the Ukrainian Jewish community.  And another one will be arranged 
under our presidency in Vienna this summer, very soon.

Human trafficking is also an extremely important question and problem for 
Ukraine.  Unfortunately, Co-chairman, Ukraine has not a good record in this 
sphere, because Ukraine as a modern country is a young democracy.  And we 
accept that sometimes, we lack some democratic procedures, which are quite 
common to developed democracies.  That’s why our chairmanship will be focusing 
on human trafficking.  And in this regard, we also are going to hold a few 
events to combat these unacceptable practices and unacceptable activities.

Mr. – the issue of Roma rights was also mentioned.  And just recently, the 
president of Ukraine signed a special decree which provides for protection of 
Roma ethnic groups in Ukraine.

And regarding your last point, Mr. Co-chairman, regarding Mrs. Tymoshenko, so 
this is a – we accept that the former Prime Minister Tymoshenko’s case is a 
problem in relations of Ukraine with the European Union.  And believe me, Mr. 
Co-chair, no one is happy that she is in jail today.  

But at the same time, millions of people in Ukraine believe that Mrs. 
Tymoshenko was convicted rightfully by the Ukrainian criminal court.  Her 
deliberate illegal actions caused a huge damage to the Ukrainian society and 
Ukrainian state and now our national economy.  

Ukraine is losing not less than 6 billion U.S. dollars because of the contract 
promoted by Mrs. Tymoshenko in 2009.  And that contract, as widely known, was 
consented from former prime minister, without any consent from the government, 
as the law in Ukraine demands.  And Mrs. Tymoshenko promoted the contract while 
having strong personal conflicts of interest.  

One is a huge corporate debt of her company, United Energy Systems of Ukraine, 
before the Russia defense ministry, and another one she was campaigning for the 
presidency in Ukraine.  And it would be even stronger motive for former prime 
minister to consult with the government, as the constitution and the law in 
Ukraine say.  She didn’t do that.  So that’s why, while we are not so much 
happy, we want that this issue would be resolved soon.  

At the same time, it is extremely important that everything related to Mrs. 
Tymoshenko should be done in full compliance with the Ukrainian law.  
Otherwise, we often hear from the West some statements on the so-called 
selective justice in Ukraine.  If Tymoshenko would be released, out of legal 
frameworks in Ukraine.  So it would be a strong blow on the Ukrainian justice 
system.  That’s why everything should be done according to the law in Ukraine.  
Thank you very much.

CARDIN:  Let me – before I turn to Congressman Cohen, let me just follow-up on 
that one point with the former Prime Minister Tymoshenko.  And I couldn’t agree 
with you more; we want to make sure that the rule of law is the rule of law and 
that decisions are made based upon a fair application of laws without 
discrimination.  And that’s a very important principle in a democracy.

But I’d just make an observation – two observations in this case.  One is that 
we’ve seen in too many cases where young democracies have done very well in 
their first and second elections, but then we see that the opposition usually 
ends up in jail.  Without, again, trying to judge the manner in which the 
Tymoshenko trials were handled, it seems to be following a pattern that’s not 
healthy as democracies change by the ballot box from one government to another 
government.

And this view in regards to the Tymoshenko case is further bolstered by the 
human rights court of Europe in their findings suggesting that there was too 
much politics played in this case.  Our plea is that this appears to have been 
politically motivated.  And that is presenting problems with Europe and it 
does, I think, require some additional attention by the Ukrainian legal system. 
 And we hope this will be resolved in a satisfactory manner consistent with 
your laws.

Congressman Cohen.

COHEN:  Thank you, Senator.  Mr. Chair, I talked about three gentlemen who have 
been the victims of political attacks in your country.  And while your country 
has indeed made great strides, and I commend you for the strides you’ve made to 
perfect your justice system, it seems that in these cases justice has yet to be 
carried out.  There was a conviction, a perpetrator of the assassination of the 
journalist Gongadze.  But there were apparently – he has implicated, I believe 
– or President Kuchma – former president Kuchma in ordering that attack.  

And there were two other people attacked who were seriously hurt.  They’re – 
perpetrators of that act have not been, I believe, arrested or brought to 
justice.  The very brutal attack on the politician Elyashkevich has not been 
brought to justice.  And he did seek and received asylum here because of 
threats from the previous president.  He is, I believe, living in the Ukraine 
now, but yet that crime has not been satisfactorily resolve, I think, to the 
credit of the Ukrainian government.  And the other journalist who was attacked, 
Podolsky, his perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

And so my question to you is, do you know of any actions that are being brought 
or any actions that we can foresee where possibly the perpetrators will be 
brought to justice, and if it reaches to the level of the former president, 
that he would be brought to justice?  That’s the end of the question.  There 
may be more.

KOZHARA:  Should I respond?

COHEN:  Please.

KOZHARA:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Cohen.  And I appreciate your awareness of 
so many very famous criminal cases in Ukraine.  And you know that investigation 
on the late journalist, Mr. Gongadze, is going on.  And I’m here not in a 
position to comment on the investigation.  So – but what I can say here before 
the commission, that there is a common feeling that the investigation is going 
on and getting close – closing closer to the resolution of this very topical 
case for Ukraine.

I cannot reply specifically on Mr. Elyashkevich because I don’t know that case. 
 Mr. Elyashkevich is my former colleague by the Ukrainian Rada, by the 
parliament.  And I saw him a few months ago in Kiev.  And he looks OK.  So – 
but I don’t know specifically what happened to him.  Mr. Podolsky and – so 
unfortunately I don’t have this name in my files, my talking points.  And you 
also mentioned Mr. Chornovil.  So – who was – who died in the car accident more 
than 10 years ago.  And he was a leading opposition leader in Ukraine.  

So – but what I can tell the commission for sure, that Ukraine is doing a lot 
in this sphere over the justice reform.  And three years ago when, after the 
presidential elections in Ukraine, we started immediately with reforming of the 
judiciary and reforming the police and the prosecutor’s offices.  As a result, 
last year a new criminal proceeding code was put into effect.  And this code 
was adopted after a previous old criminal proceeding code which was adopted, 
can you imagine, Mr. Cohen, in 1961, when Mr. Khrushchev was in charge from the 
Kremlin at that time.

So we consider that the adoption of the criminal proceeding code is a big step 
forward for Ukrainian criminal justice system.  And it’s worth mentioning that 
the new criminal proceeding code was elaborated along with the Venice 
Commission of the Council of Europe, a professional body of the Council of 
Europe, where lots of lawyers and professionals were helping us deliberate this 
code.  And there is another important reform on the parliamentary floor in 
Ukraine today, the reform of the police and the reform of the prosecutor’s 
office.  

And we hope that the Ukrainian Rada, the parliament, which was elected at the 
end of last year, will be effectively adopting legislation necessary for 
Ukraine to comply with the requirements of the European Union to sign the 
association agreement with the European Union.  And the only problem we have 
here, Mr. Cohen, that the deep reform of the judiciary and of the police and of 
the prosecutor’s office is possible only within the constitutional reform 
because to reform completely those offices, we need to change the constitution 
adopted in 1996.  

So that’s why last year President Yanukovych called for the Constitutional 
Assembly.  And we all want very much that both Ukrainian ruling parties and 
Ukrainian opposition would take an active part in drafting the new 
constitution.  Thank you.

COHEN:  Mr. – if I can, for a second, Mr. Chair – I might not have heard you 
correctly.  I believe you said that you recalled serving with Mr. Elyashkevich 
who you saw recently.  And are you – did you say you were not aware of the fact 
that he was attacked – brutally attacked, and that there was a special 
commission – as I understand it, there was a special commission of the 
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, of the 3rd and 4th convocations that unanimously 
came to a conclusion that Ukrainian President Kuchma and then-chairman of the 
security service of Ukraine, Derkach are accomplices in attempts on the life of 
people’s deputy of Ukraine, Elyashkevich?  That this was public – you’re not 
aware of this?  This is a colleague?

KOZHARA:  May I reply?

COHEN:  Please, sir, yes.

KOZHARA:  Thank you.  So I became a member of the Ukrainian parliament in 2006. 
 And Mr. Elyashkevich finished his parliamentary job in 2002, I think.  And, 
yes, indeed, I heard of that case.  And as far as I remember, a special 
parliamentary commission was established to investigate that case.  
Unfortunately, Mr. Cohen, I cannot tell you specific points of that case 
because I’m not prepared to testify on that now.

COHEN:  I appreciate that.  And I appreciate –

KOZHARA:  And – but what I promise that some additional information will be 
addressed to you from – through our embassy in Washington, D.C.  (Inaudible.)

COHEN:  Thank you.  That’s all we can ask for.  And I appreciate our assurances 
that you’re improving your systems and that you’ll get us that information.

And one last thing, on anti-Semitism, what Mr. Smith asked about was:  How is 
that being dealt with throughout the OSCE?  You mentioned, I think some things 
in the Ukraine that you were doing about anti-Semitism.  Where is anti-Semitism 
the most rampant, in your opinion, in the OSCE?  And what is the OSCE doing to 
see to it that there is some type of action taken in those areas?

KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Cohen.  And I cannot say official things – (chuckles) 
– on the question you asked because I don’t have them on my talking points.  So 
– but as a Ukrainian politician and representative of the ruling party, I can 
say that indeed in the last years when Europe and other regions of the world 
started to experience hardships of the financial and economic crisis, and this 
is a substance where this is a time when radical thoughts and simple slogans 
are easy to say to the people.

And unfortunately, we are look – watching today that some radical parties in 
Europe have more popularity in their societies.  I won’t be naming those 
countries.  I think you know all of them.  And I can say about my country – and 
in the course of last elections, last October, radical nationalistic party has 
won popular vote and got into the Ukrainian parliament.  They received more 
than 10 percent of popular vote.  And it testifies that simple slogans and 
simple antagonistic ideology during the hard times of the financial and 
economic crisis gained some popularity in many societies, unfortunately.

With regards to Ukraine, anti-Semitic, Nazi or fascist ideology is prohibited 
by the criminal law in Ukraine.  And my government and my party which is charge 
in Ukraine today, we are watching very carefully that those radical movements 
in the party do not cross the border of the law.  Thank you.
CARDIN:  Let me interrupt at that point and let Dr. Burgess have a chance here.
BURGESS:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I’m up against some time 
constraints, so I’m not going to be terribly long.  And I do appreciate you 
being here and sharing this with us.  I was particularly encouraged to hear you 
talk about cybersecurity and energy security.  I serve on another committee in 
the House that deals with that, and I know the importance in, certainly, your 
part of the world.
Let me just go back to Yulia Tymoshenko for just a moment.  Congressman Smith, 
when he held that hearing last – in the last Congress and had – through the 
miracle of some technology, had her family members to testify – I’m not a 
lawyer, I’m a physician and what I got from the family was, here is a woman who 
has – it sounded like some pretty acute medical problems, some back injuries 
that needed treatment.  And I would just ask you if, you know, if nothing else, 
if there were a humanitarian basis for a release or a change in custody to 
allow this individual to have those injuries treated effectively and properly.  
And you may not be able to comment on that, but that was my takeaway from that 
hearing.  It was pretty compelling testimony by your family.  I realize the 
rule of law must be adhered to, and certainly, again, I’m not a lawyer and I 
can’t advise on that.  But from a physician’s perspective, it seems like this 
might be – from a humanitarian basis, this might be the correct course of 
action.  And thank you for your testimony today.
KOZHARA:  Thank you.  So maybe you know that the European Court on Human Rights 
ruled over the – Tymoshenko’s case just recently on the – on April 30th.  And I 
would cite some comments from the European Court of Human Rights ruling.  I 
cite, I quote:  “On 30th of April 2013, the court delivered the judgment on 
this case in which it declared inadmissible for the reason of their obvious 
groundless complaints raised by Mrs. Tymoshenko concerning the conditions of 
her pretrial detention and alleged lack of appropriate medical treatment.  Her 
complaints on alleged round-the-clock surveillance in the hospital were 
declared inadmissible, as not all the domestic remedies were exhaustive.  Mrs. 
Tymoshenko did not file an appeal on the national court decision according to 
the set her – to the set procedure.”  So sorry for reading that.
So that’s all I can comment on the case.  Thank you.
CARDIN:  Let me first compliment you for your statement, where you say right in 
the beginning that you are convinced that the human dimension belongs to the 
core of the concept of comprehensive security.  To me, that’s the hallmark of 
the OSCE, the recognition that if we’re going to have secure countries, the 
countries need to deal with the human dimension as well as the economic 
dimension.  And I applaud you for putting that in the spotlight and just urge 
you, as I said in my opening statement, that we strengthen all three baskets.  
And as we move the strength in a basket, we certainly don’t do it at the cost 
of particularly the human dimension, but of any of the three baskets.
We’ve already commented that we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of the OSCE 
Roma Action Plan, and next year we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 
Berlin Declaration.  Congressman Smith and I participated in the Berlin 
Declaration.  So we’ve seen the progress that’s been made over the years, and 
we are very proud of the role that the OSCE has played on the Roma issue, on 
anti-Semitism, on xenophobia and anti-Muslim activities.  As special 
representatives, we are proud of the role that they play.  We meet with them 
regularly and get updates.  Congressman Cohen asked a questioned, what’s the 
status of anti-Semitism.  We’ve worked with Rabbi Baker to find out which 
countries could benefit from best practices in other countries.  And OSCE has 
been in the forefront on that.
I guess my question to you is, these issues, as Congressman Smith points out, 
are still very much in the need for improvement.  I have visited Roma 
communities regularly in Europe and know that they are still a very persecuted 
group and need the attention of the OSCE.  Anti-Semitism is still too prevalent 
in Europe, and we need to deal with that.  The same thing is true with 
anti-Muslim activities and xenophobia.
So I guess my question to you is, during your chairmanship, how do you intend 
to keep active these areas of protecting minority communities such as the Roma 
population, to deal with the broad issues of tolerance so that countries don’t 
become complacent, that we continue to showcase best practices in an effort to 
help countries understand what they need to do in order to be in compliance not 
only with the letter but the spirit of the OSCE?
KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  So for centuries, Ukraine has been a sort 
of crossroads for many civilizations, and Ukraine is a multinational community 
today where we have many different religious, national, linguistic and other 
communities.  And in 20 years with independence, Ukraine has adopted a 
comprehensive legislation on ethnic minorities, language minorities.  Just 
recently, as an example, I can say that the Verkhovna Radam the parliament of 
Ukraine, adopted a law on languages in Ukraine and to allow – actually, this 
law is a Ukrainian national legislation to implement the European Charter on 
regional languages and national minorities languages.  And today on the local 
level, some foreign languages are adopted as regional ones.  For examples, in 
the regions – in the region of Transcarpathia, on the border with Romania, 
Hungary and Slovakia some local communities adopted Hungarian language as a 
regional language, which allows those national minorities to use Hungarian as a 
second to the official Ukrainian language in Ukraine.
So as I have already mentioned, just recently the president of Ukraine adopted 
a decree to secure the rights of the Roma community in Ukraine.  And Ukraine 
for centuries also has been a homeland for many Roma people.  With regards to 
anti-Semitism, so also for centuries Ukrainians, other nationalities and Jews 
lived together in peace.  And Kyiv has been recognized as number three city in 
Europe, after Paris and London, by the Jewish population, and Ukraine also is a 
country of many Jewish holy places.  And annually, the small city of Uman, 
where is the tomb of Nachman, one of the Hassid community clerics.  So for 
example, last year we had 37,000 pilgrims, and many of them came from the 
United States.
CARDIN:  I guess my point would be, what you’re doing, the right thing, you 
need to showcase to other countries within the OSCE that are not doing as much 
as they should.  I think sharing best practices, we help countries improve 
their records.  And political leadership, to me, is the key.  If you have 
political leadership that wants to work on these issues, it works.  And sharing 
that with other countries, I think, would make additional progress.  And I 
thank you for your commitment there.
I want to get to the issue of election monitoring.  You and I had a chance to 
talk about that before the hearing.  It is one of the most important functions 
of the OSCE, is monitoring elections, to give an objective account as to their 
– whether these elections are open, free and fair, and then as you pointed out 
in your testimony about the Ukraine election, giving good information on how to 
improve the election procedures.  We had an election observation team here in 
the United States during our past election.  We know that there were certain 
misunderstandings between the parliamentary assembly and ODHIR.  I believe very 
strongly in the role of the parliamentarians in the process.  I believe very 
strongly in the ODHIR, in the role that it plays in giving us the continuity of 
election monitoring.  Can you just give us a brief status report as to how you 
have been able to work as the president of the OSCE to marshal our forces 
within the parliamentary assembly and ODHIR to have the most effective 
election-monitoring capacity?
KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Ukraine, in the last years, has had many 
different elections – presidential, local, parliamentary elections.  And all 
elections we welcome, OSCE/ODHIR monitoring missions.  For example, during the 
last parliamentary elections, Ukraine had a record number of international 
observers; 4,000 people came to observe elections in Ukraine.  This is a record 
number for the entire OSCE area.
And we also watched a conflict between the OSCE parliamentary assembly and the 
ODHIR office.  I’m happy to say, Mr. Chairman, that today this conflict has 
been resolved, and I personally put my efforts into the resolution of this 
conflict.  I met with the acting president of the OSCE parliamentary assembly.  
I visited the ODHIR office in Warsaw.  And as far as I understand, today all 
very sharp issues are not so sharp.
So, but at the same time, I think that ODHIR, being a professional 
organization, should care about professionalism of her own missions.  That’s 
why we think, as presidency in the OSCE, that first of all, we need to secure 
election standards which are used by ODHIR missions, and those standards should 
be common for all observation missions provided by OSCE.  
And another comment.  I think we are all applauding to this compromise between 
the OSCE parliamentary assembly and ODHIR.  So – but at the same time, I think 
it would not be easy to combine professional activities by ODHIR missions and 
political activities by OSCE parliamentary assembly, because parliamentary 
assembly consists of members of parliaments representing different parties.  
And, for example, in Europe – so there is a trend that parties from single 
countries join bigger political groups.  And it means – for example, if an 
observation mission consists of one political group of parties, and they 
observe a country, for example, where their political opponents are in power, 
it may cause a problem, Mr. Chairman.
So we need to take balanced approaches in this matter.  But as I said, we 
applaud to the compromise between OSCE and ODIHR.

CARDIN:  Well, that’s good news.  Thank you very much.  Mr. Smith.

SMITH:  Mr. Foreign Minister, thank you again for your testimony.  You know, I 
just would like to ask you, if you would, one takeback for your conference in 
June.  Last week we had another – yet another hearing on human trafficking, and 
the efficacy of having a phone hotline was underscored by the Polaris Project, 
which does it here in the United States.

And, you know, it would be a great advance in combating human trafficking if 
there were a Europe-wide hotline so that wherever a victim might be he or she – 
and most of the victims are women – or someone who sees a trafficking situation 
could call into that main number and, you know, help – hopefully a police would 
be on their way to rescue.  So it’s something that could work.  It is not very 
expensive, it’s just a matter of having the will to do it.  And it’s something 
that might be considered by your conference.

Secondly, talking about Mediterranean partners, last Congress I chaired three 
hearings on what is happening in Egypt.  And one of – the focus of two of them 
was almost exclusively on a barbaric policy – more of a phenomenon, but it’s 
certainly a policy, because it was not in any way objected to by the government 
in Egypt, and that is of allowing young teenage girls – encouraging it, even, 
to be abducted, given over to Muslim men – they call it “Islamicizing the womb” 
– there is even a name for it.  And at two of those hearings, the former deputy 
of the trafficking unit at the OSCE, Michele Clark, who is an adjunct professor 
now here in Washington at George Washington University, testified, and she did 
much of the reporting herself.

And the numbers are in the thousands of these young Coptic Christian girls who 
are abducted as teenagers, and some even as young mothers, and then forced into 
these marriages.  I’ve been trying to get our own administration to raise this 
issue and to do so robustly, with very little success.  But it seems to me that 
as chair in office – and you will have, I’m sure, opportunities to talk to 
President Morsi, to raise this horrible exploitation of little girls and young 
women who are then forced into a faith, that if they go back to their Christian 
faith, they will be accused of apostasy and maybe even killed.

And meanwhile, they have been trafficked in a terrible, terrible situation.  
And Michele Clark would be available to you if you would like or for your 
embassy to fully brief you.  We’ll provide you with the hearing records, but it 
is a very serious problem.  It’s not unique to Egypt, but it is going on in a 
very terrible way in Egypt.

And finally, you may not want to elaborate this, but if you could – you talked 
about – with the security implications of our exiting Afghanistan, that the 
OSCE chairmanship would have to further explore areas that require enhanced 
interaction with Afghanistan.  I thought that was a very profound statement, 
because there are challenges that I think not enough of us are thinking about, 
and it was reassuring to know that you’re thinking about it.  So if you wanted 
to speak to that or perhaps get back to us later on that – (inaudible) –

KOZHARA:  Thank you.  Responding to first question, we intend to review the 
existing OSCE plan on trafficking in human beings adopted in 2003.  The 
introduction of the all-European hotline could be a part of this revised plan, 
and we’ll take a note of that.  With regards Mediterranean partners, thank you, 
Mr. Co-Chairman, for your comments.  And we’ll also take a note.  And this 
problem is quite new for me, but in our negotiations and talks with Egypt on 
bilateral basis and within the OSCE, we can raise also this matter with the 
Egypt leadership.  And Ukraine has long-time and deep relations with Egypt.  
Thank you.

And yes, on Afghanistan, so – you know – (off mic) – yeah, so Ukraine is 
actively supporting the discussion on Afghanistan and, you know, some years 
ago, Ukraine lost 3,000 Ukrainians in the war in Afghanistan.  So for us, this 
country is quite known, and we have a strong sentiment about Afghanistan as 
well.  So we’ll be supporting the dialogue on it.

CARDIN:  Mr. Cohen has one last question.

COHEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chair.  The Azerbaijan government is advocating 
downgrading the OSCE mission in Baku to the level of project coordinator.  It’s 
my understanding that your chairmanship team has convened a working group on 
this matter, and I wanted to know what your position was on the Azerbaijani 
proposal, and how can your chairmanship team ensure that the OSCE remains 
actively engaged through the field operations of the – at the appropriate 
level, where support is still needed to implement OSCE commitments?

KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Cohen.  Yes, indeed, Azerbaijan suggest to downgrade 
the OSCE mission there, and as a member state, Azerbaijan has a right to ask 
for downgrading.  So we are actively working with Azerbaijan, and I am in 
constant communication with Azerbaijani – Azeri foreign minister, Mr. 
Mammadyarov, on that.  We asked Azerbaijan not to block all other OSCE 
activities using this Baku OSCE office problem.  We also understand that no 
change is possible this year, but again, I stress that it’s a sovereign matter 
of Azerbaijan as an OSCE member state to identify the status of the OSCE office 
in Baku.  Thank you.

CARDIN:  One last point I want to put into the record and get your response on 
on behalf of Senator Wicker – Senator Wicker is the ranking Republican member 
of the Helsinki Commission and has been very actively engaged in the 
international adoption issue.  And your commissioner of children’s rights was 
recently here in Washington to talk about the issues of inter-country adoptions.

Within the OSCE region, we’ve had historic issues on tragic circumstances on 
denial of access to adoption.  We saw that in Romania some years back, and 
we’ve addressed that in – with a hearing.  More recently, we’ve had a serious 
problem with the Russian federation on inter-country adoptions, where Russia 
has made certain decisions to stop inter-country adoptions, particularly with 
children with special needs.  These are children that have very difficult times 
finding permanent placement, and some of these procedures were in the process – 
I believe some of this has been resolved by bilaterals between Russia and the 
United States.  My question to you is, this is an issue that cries out for some 
standards on how countries should deal with the issue of adoption, and would 
ask your support to see whether we cannot get some activity within OSCE dealing 
with this basic right as to what children should have that are being adopted by 
parents in other countries.

And I would ask your personal attention to that, and if you would have your 
staff look into whether there is a role for OSCE to play here, and particularly 
getting back to Senator Wicker on that point.

KOZHARA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  So I am deeply convinced that when we are 
talking on children so their future should be more important than politics.  
Yesterday, when I was visiting New York, I met with American families adopted – 
who adopted Ukrainian children, and it was a very sensitive meeting.  And 
Ukraine also has a conflict of law with the American law, because according to 
the Ukrainian law, American families or other foreign families which adopted 
Ukrainian children should report to Ukrainian embassies, and Mr. Chairman, 
unfortunately, only 45 percent of the American families which adopted Ukrainian 
children report to the Ukrainian diplomatic representations.  So – but we also 
understand this reality, and as I said, the future not of Ukrainian or American 
or any other – of our human children – kids should be more important than any 
politics, and I think it is worth that.  Thank you.

CARDIN:  Well, I certainly – we all agree with you on that statement.  I think 
you said that very well, and I appreciate your candor in the – answering the 
questions here and very much appreciate the willingness of your country and you 
personally to step forward in leadership within the OSCE during these, as I 
said earlier, very, very challenging times.  And I look forward to continuing 
to work with you on behalf of the Helsinki Commission of the United States, and 
we wish you well.  Thank you very much; the hearing stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 3:31 pm, the hearing was adjourned.]