Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: Hon. Steny H. Hoyer
Ranking Member - Helsinki Commission


Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this very important and timely hearing. As we work with our coalition partners to combat the scourge of terrorism, the OSCE and its participating States are committed and will surely play an important role in this battle. Clearly, the comprehensive scope of the OSCE’s work and its extensive membership as a regional organization are its chief assets.

Over the years, the OSCE has developed from a conference – a series of meetings – into an established organization. It has developed not only institutions but a very good field presence in several countries. At the same time, the OSCE has not lost its dedication to the original Helsinki principles, serving as the basis for relations between states. Nor has the OSCE lost its flexibility to adapt to new circumstances and new challenges.

Finally, although there has always been and still is a hesitancy on the part of some states to stress implementation, the OSCE still stands for ensuring that promises made are promises kept, and this can apply to the war on terrorism as well. It would be a mistake if the OSCE were to be a mere talk shop on terrorism. The Organization needs to engage: coordinating activities, reporting from the field, encouraging action to be taken as necessary by the participating States.

In addition, Mr. Chairman, parliamentarians can play an important role in this effort. The United States Congress, which has consistently been active in the leadership of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and the initiator of resolutions on the most relevant and critical topics each year, will certainly want to take ideas and concerns to Berlin in July, to raise with our colleagues from other OSCE States.

We on the Commission hope to hear the thoughts of this outstanding panel of witnesses. I want to welcome the new Chairman-in-Office and express our appreciation for his agreement to appear here today. Mr. Chairman, I also want to welcome my long-time friend, Javier Ruperez, whose experience as a Spanish diplomat at NATO and the OSCE, and as a Spanish parliamentarian, make him one of the most qualified analysts of Europe and the entire OSCE region. I also want to welcome the representatives of the State and Treasury Departments, who I know are working very hard to win this war on terrorism.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.