Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: Hon. Christopher H. Smith
Co-Chairman - Helsinki Commission


Today’s hearing focuses on cooperation, within the OSCE region, to combat terrorism. All 55 OSCE countries agreed at last year’s Bucharest Ministerial Council that “there must be no safe haven for those perpetrating, financing, harbouring or otherwise supporting those responsible for such criminal [terrorist] acts. Terrorism, whatever its motivation or origin, has no justification.”

There is certainly no one means to win the war against the scourge of terrorism, and the United States cannot fight and win it alone. Victory will come through a concerted approach which attacks terrorism from many different angles.

Of course, this war on terrorism is global in scope. While military operations like those in Afghanistan rightly receive priority attention, the OSCE region nevertheless includes important allies in this effort to combat terrorism. Building and strengthening democratic institutions, ensuring the rule of law and protecting human rights and individual liberties – all priorities in OSCE work – are essential to long-term victory. Terrorists survive and thrive thanks to organized criminal activity, official corruption, inadequate law enforcement and state repression. The OSCE has developed an ability unique among international organizations to highlight these problems and encourage solutions, both through multilateral cooperation and the implementation of commitments made by each participating State.

We should make the fullest use of that ability. In the urgency of so many international crises in the past, the U.S. foreign policy establishment, not to mention those of other countries, have overlooked the need to establish long-term security and more genuine peace through democratic development and respect for human rights. I am hopeful that, through the assets which the OSCE can contribute to the war on terrorism, the United States, Europe and all OSCE participants will seek the long-term solutions in addition to those of immediate concern.

Finally, in examining opportunities for cooperation among OSCE States in the war on terrorism, we should not look only at the activities which the organization itself can undertake. The commitments which have been made can be implemented unilaterally and bilaterally, in addition to multilaterally.

During this hearing, I hope we can hear what specifically the European Union and its member states are doing, especially since the EU includes so many of our closest friends and allies. I also hope to hear with some specificity about some of the other OSCE countries, particularly those in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, where geography as well as lingering instabilities present opportunities and concerns alike.