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