Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: The Honorable A. Elizabeth Jones
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs - US Department of State

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Chairman Campbell and Co-Chairman Smith, thank you for this opportunity to appear, along with Assistant Secretary Craner of the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, before the Helsinki Commission. We in the European Bureau -- and Ambassador Minikes and his fine staff in Vienna -- would like to thank the Helsinki Commission for the close cooperation we have enjoyed during the past year.

I would note that the OSCE has become one of the most effective tools for promoting democratic values, serving as a reliable instrument for conducting and monitoring elections, promoting free media, and ensuring the democratic rights of ethnic minorities. The OSCE supplements the work of NATO and the European Union without competing with them.

The last time I appeared before the Commission, less than a month had passed since the tragic events of September 11. I spoke then of the Administration's determination to make the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) an important actor in the gathering struggle against terrorism. I am happy to report that significant progress has been made. I would like to review these developments with you and outline the efforts we have made across the three OSCE dimensions -- the human, the economic, and the security -- to ensure that this vital organization remains relevant and responsive to the world in which we now live.

COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS

In the run-up to the December 3-4 OSCE Ministerial in Bucharest last year, the 55 participating states of the OSCE worked hard to develop an appropriate response to September 11. This effort paid off with agreement on a comprehensive Action Plan on Combating Terrorism. The Plan committed all OSCE members to become parties to the 12 UN terrorism conventions and protocols by December 31, 2002. Members also pledged to take steps to prevent terrorist groups from operating on their territory, to share information on such groups with other participating states, and to take action to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist organizations. The Action Plan tasked all OSCE institutions and bodies to prepare roadmaps with timetables and resource requirements for implementing their portions of the Action Plan.

Two weeks after Bucharest, the OSCE met in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and endorsed an additional Program of Action at the Conference on Enhancing Security and Stability in Central Asia. The Bishkek Programme echoed many of the Bucharest recommendations. It added a pledge to take further action on the financial aspects of combating terrorism. Specifically, states will consider implementing the standards of financial accountability and transparency embodied in the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering and terrorist financing (which is housed within the OECD), and to take immediate steps to block the assets of individuals and entities linked to terrorist financing.

In the months since the Bucharest and Bishkek meetings the OSCE has been working diligently to follow through on the above commitments. A majority of OSCE states have now signed or become parties to nine out of 12 of the conventions. We continue to work with participating states for further progress in this area. In February, the OSCE Chairman in Office appointed former Danish Defense Minister and current MP Jan Troejborg as the Personal Representative for Preventing and Combating Terrorism. The OSCE has created an Anti-Terror Unit in the OSCE Secretariat, staffed by experienced diplomats, to work with Mr. Troejborg to bring focus to day-to-day work on implementing the Bucharest and Bishkek plans. OSCE Police Advisor Richard Monk, meanwhile, has been working with Central Asian states to assess how the OSCE can best help them in resisting the spread of terrorism.

In addition, the OSCE has made notable progress on terrorist finance issues. The annual OSCE Economic Forum Meeting in Prague in late May discussed the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on terrorist financing. Following this conference, OSCE participating states adopted a U.S. proposal committing each state to complete a self assessment by September 1 on efforts their compliance with the FATF recommendations. This initiative committed 34 states, not otherwise obligated to do so, to complete the self-assessments on their compliance with the FATF recommendations on terrorist financing.

In addition, the OSCE, in cooperation with the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, is conducting training seminars in Central Asia on money laundering and terrorist financing issues. This program will strengthen the ability of these states to implement the commitments they have undertaken and to prevent terrorist organizations from obtaining access to funds that could support their activities. The U.S. was the major financial contributor to this project.

The U.S. and Russia jointly proposed the creation of a database where OSCE states can post requests for assistance or OSCE institutions can post funding requests for counterterrorism-related programs, and other states can post offers for assistance. This proposal was itself part of a broader effort we have launched to work with Russia at OSCE in areas of mutual interest, beginning with counterterorrism.

We have also been working with the Portuguese Chair, the Russians and the EU to develop an OSCE Charter on Terrorism to be adopted at the December Ministerial in Porto. This will be a short statement of core principles to serve as a guide and spur to future work of the OSCE on this fundamental issue

SECURITY DIMENSION

As part of its counterterrorism efforts, the U.S. has proposed establishing an annual OSCE security review conference. This would provide an enduring forum for evaluating the work of the OSCE in promoting progress on counterterrorism. It will also serve as a forum for reviewing other OSCE activities in the security dimension, including those of its regional and field offices. By establishing such a conference we could ensure that the OSCE remains focused on implementing its counterterrorism agenda and providing necessary assistance in the years to come.

The review conference would take its mandate from the proposed Terrorism Charter and, particularly during its first years, focus on evaluating and reviewing implementation of the Bucharest Action Plan, Bishkek Document and relevant elements of UNSCR 1373 on counter-terrorism.

Improved coordination between the OSCE, the EU, and NATO also is important to broadening the work of the OSCE in the security dimension and in achieving U.S. priorities. Such cooperation is becoming more important as all institutions are taking on new responsibilities, especially regarding challenges to regional security, including terrorism, border security and trafficking.


ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

The OSCE recognizes that economic and environmental issues can be the basis for security concerns, and if not addressed may threaten stability. Its economic dimension seeks to bring states together to address common problems such as water resources, development issues, and corruption.

The United States seeks a broadening of the OSCE's economic efforts, which can provide significant support to both the human and security dimensions. For example, in the coming year the OSCE's Economic Dimension will focus greater attention on the economic aspects of all forms of trafficking in persons. One area of new activity under discussion is developing legitimate business opportunities -- especially for women -- to mitigate the economic desperation that can compel people to fall into trafficking.

We believe the OSCE can function best as a provider of economic expertise. Particularly in re-integrating societies that have experienced ethnic conflict, the OSCE is well suited to provide training in crucial areas such as policing and customs collection and management, and in helping societies making the transition from a command economy to develop the legal framework necessary to build respect for the rule of law.

In addition, we support and promote anti-corruption and good governance activities in the OSCE area, noting that corruption and lack of transparency are important obstacles to business development, outside investment and adequate legal redress.


ENGAGEMENT WITH RUSSIA

The OSCE is an important forum for engaging cooperatively with the Russian Federation. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the organization has proven to be a significant arena for the development of the new Russian-U.S. relationship. Broadening the work of the OSCE -- to include additional activities in the economic and security dimensions as noted above -- addresses many Russian concerns, while also advancing U.S. objectives. This effort has already borne fruit on cooperation in the counterterrorism field and other areas. We expect this cooperation to continue to lead to greater operational effectiveness within the OSCE.

In our view, this must also include cooperation across the full range of OSCE activities, including the human dimension. One of our primary goals in this endeavor is to strengthen Russian recognition of the OSCE as a valuable means of fostering democratic development in Russia and in enhancing its ties with neighbors and the West.

With no end in sight to the conflict in Chechnya, we must ensure that the OSCE Assistance Group can exercise its mandate to promote a political solution to that conflict, to protect human rights, and to work toward the economic and social rehabilitation of that area.

ARMS CONTROL AND CFE ISSUES

The OSCE plays an important role in providing a venue for effective engagement with Russia on a number of arms control issues. Of particular importance right now are questions on the implementation of the CFE Treaty-related commitments made on withdrawal of Russian forces and equipment from Georgia and Moldova at the 1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul.

While important results have already been achieved on implementation of those commitments, key issues remain to be resolved regarding the duration of the Russian military presence at two bases in Georgia, and the status of the Russian presence at a third, in Abkhazia. In Moldova, withdrawal or disposal of Russian military equipment, including tons of ammunition and thousands of small arms, has been stalemated during 2002 by opposition from Transnistrian separatists. In early October the Russians were able to reach agreement with the Transnistrians permitting the withdrawal of a full train-load of ammunition. We will continue to work for further progress with all parties on this issue.


THE HUMAN DIMENSION

As Secretary Powell noted on August 1, human rights remains essential as we wage war against terrorism. The OSCE is a critical forum in that effort. In addition to the many field missions that have a substantial human rights focus, the OSCE sponsors an annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly also play an important role in this area, as evidenced by its resolution -- passed in July -- requiring Belarus to cooperate with the Assistance Monitoring Group as a pre-condition for seating Belarussian parliamentarians. The United States strongly supports such efforts to bolster the commitment of the OSCE to human rights. The fact is that, even as we broaden the range of OSCE activities to encompass issues such as combating terrorism, human rights remains the heart of what the OSCE does.

CENTRAL ASIA

Central Asia is becoming an increasingly important area of attention for the OSCE. The organization serves as a vital forum for us to discuss human rights issues and to promote democracy in the Central Asian region. Given the need for both economic and political development in the area, the United States needs to address human rights concerns along with efforts to broaden the activities of the OSCE.

We have developed a plan of action for increased OSCE involvement in the Central Asian region that includes:

Terrorist Financing. The Central Asian States could do more regarding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on money laundering and terrorist financing but are limited by a lack of resources. The OSCE can be the catalyst for providing assistance to the Central Asian States about how to implement the FATF recommendations. This effort is already underway and training has been started.

Police Training. As sound policing is critical to any counterterrorism effort, the OSCE could determine how it might apply experience gained in its policing programs to Central Asia. The Bucharest Action Plan specifically targets border security, trafficking in persons, trafficking in drugs, money laundering and arms trafficking. The OSCE could help enhance police training in Central Asia in: concrete policing skills; inter-ethnic policing; and observance of human rights.

Rule Of Law/Judicial Reform. To complement police and other security force training and to strengthen a bedrock element of democracy, OSCE could contribute to strengthening the capabilities of courts and lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Emphasis could be on areas such as court administration, the use of evidence resulting from improved policing skills, legislative drafting and/or training in laws relating to trafficking, money laundering, other economic crime, and other crimes related to terrorism or support of terrorism.

Trafficking in Persons. Trafficking in persons is a problem across the OSCE region and will be a focus of the Dutch OSCE Chairmanship in 2003. OSCE should focus programs on public education in source countries, including Central Asia, and assist with drafting legislation making prosecution of traffickers easier and protecting the rights of victims.

Ultimately, our focus on human rights and democracy continues to be the most important pillar of our OSCE strategy in the region. In order to combat terrorism and defeat extremist insurgencies in the region, we need to encourage the development of democratic institutions that respect human rights.

BELARUS

During the past year, Belarus has been the object of some of our most serious human rights concerns. On September 6, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry denied without credible justification a request for a visa extension for the OSCE's Advisory and Monitoring Group Mission's (AMG) human rights officer in Belarus. Earlier this year, Belarus denied visa extensions to the AMG's Deputy Head of Mission and its Political officer, thereby bringing to a temporary halt the AMG's activities in Belarus.

Belarus argued that it found no grounds for extending the visas. Yet numerous reasons for an extension can be offered. Civil society increasingly is under attack by the Lukashenko regime. Journalists have been imprisoned and newspapers closed down. Minsk has sought to crush all legitimate opposition. Members of NGO's have been assaulted, fined, and imprisoned and opponents of the regime have disappeared. Credible reports indicate that a regime death squad is responsible for these disappearances. Meanwhile, the presidential election held last year failed to meet international standards and, unless serious electoral reforms are adopted, local elections expected in early 2003 will face the same fate.

The OSCE AMG is tasked to help Belarus address these kinds of issues. Concern over what is happening there will not disappear with the expulsion of another member of the AMG. Belarus will remain a regular issue of concern and discussion by the OSCE. Belarus will not be able to normalize its relations with the United States and other members of the Euro-Atlantic community unless it permits the resumption of the activities of the AMG and makes progress in adhering to the four conditions established by the OSCE.

Additional delay on the part of the Belarus regime will only further its self-isolation from the Euro-Atlantic community and ensure that this issue becomes a topic for the December OSCE Ministerial in Porto. We continue to support the efforts of the Chair to resolve this impasse and secure a return of the AMG to Belarus. At the same time, we are discussing with other delegations additional measures that can be taken to address human rights concerns in Belarus, such as the Moscow Mechanism.


THE BALKANS

The OSCE plays a leading role in enhancing peace, stability, and democracy throughout Southeastern Europe. OSCE missions in Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia, and Albania are key to this effort. The establishment last year of a mission in Belgrade is already paying dividends in helping to support the democratic transition in Yugoslavia. The OSCE has trained some 460 multi-ethnic police in South Serbia, a sensitive area near Kosovo. The training has helped build a police force that reflects local demographics, both gender and ethnic. The portion of ethnic Albanian police in this area is now 60%, whereas at the beginning of 2001 it was close to zero. The OSCE has been actively involved in helping to transform Radio and Television Serbia (RTS), once a mouthpiece of the Milosevic regime, into a public broadcaster. As RTS is still the largest broadcaster in Serbia, its transformation is especially important in spreading the messages of tolerance, objectivity and fairness -- important confidence building measures for the entire population.

In 2001, the OSCE responded energetically to the crisis in Macedonia, and continues to assist with post-conflict stabilization and implementation of the August 2001 Framework Agreement. The OSCE provided confidence-building monitors and police advisors to ensure the smooth return of multi-ethnic police to former conflict areas. It is helping to train one thousand new recruits for a multi-ethnic police force and is continuing related efforts to strengthen Macedonian civil society. ODIHR's robust monitoring presence during the recent parliamentary elections helped to ensure that Macedonia took another strong step forward in overcoming last year's crisis.

In Kosovo, OSCE seeks to develop multi-ethnic institutions and assist in the transition of those institutions to autonomous control, support the establishment of provisional self-government for Kosovo's citizenry, and safeguard human rights for all residents of Kosovo, including Serbs and other ethnic minorities. In keeping with this mandate, the OSCE mission in Kosovo will conduct municipal elections in October.

In Bosnia, the OSCE continues to support the objectives of the Dayton Agreement through its work in elections support, human rights, and democratization. As a result of its efforts, many activities have been returned to local control and the mission budget reduced commensurately.

SEEKING A POLITICAL SETTLEMENT IN MOLDOVA

Since the 1994 cease-fire between the government of Moldova and the authorities of the breakaway region of Transnistria, the OSCE has played a central role in conflict resolution in the region. Along with the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the OSCE is one of the three mediators in the so-called "five-sided talks" involving the two sides to the conflict.

The OSCE Mission to Moldova, headed admirably by Ambassador David Swartz, a retired member of the U.S. Foreign Service, has played an active and constructive role in attempting to find a solution to the very difficult "Transnistrian question." In the past several months, following nearly eight years without progress, there have been signs of some progress toward a comprehensive political settlement. Negotiations continue. The United States will make every effort to support this process.

Without the close and cooperative relationship among the OSCE Mission in Moldova, the Governments of Ukraine and Russia, the OSCE in Vienna, and the OSCE participating States, including the United States, none of this would have been possible.

MANAGING CONFLICT IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS

In Georgia, the OSCE has an important role in monitoring and supervising the cease-fire between the breakaway region of South Ossetia and the central Georgian government. In addition to funding the Joint Control Commission that oversees the Joint Peacekeeping Force in South Ossetia, the OSCE also maintains an office in the regional capital of Tskhinvali. The OSCE staff in this office undertakes confidence-building measures and political-economic development work.

Efforts to resolve the conflict between the Georgian government and the breakaway region of Abkhazia are handled under a UN mandate by CIS peacekeeping forces and the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). However, the OSCE Mission in Georgia coordinates closely with the UN on humanitarian projects in and around Abkhazia, as part of its overall mandate for Georgia.

OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

It is a U.S. priority to make the OSCE as operationally effective as possible. Political leaders increasingly rely on the OSCE for rapid and effective deployment of human resources to trouble spots in the region, such as occurred in Macedonia. We have worked vigorously to develop the REACT concept (Rapid Expert Assistance and Cooperation Teams). REACT provides a mechanism for the OSCE to recruit and deploy more rapidly experts in human rights, elections, public administration, policing, and rule of law. This program has enabled the OSCE to produce more qualified experts more efficiently to respond to field contingencies.

A related goal is increasing general managerial effectiveness. The OSCE expanded its activities more rapidly than it created systems to manage them. We are committed to ensuring that the OSCE implements the necessary procedures and systems to ensure effective managerial control of its operations. We believe the appointment of Senior Police Advisor and support unit, a new Economic/Environmental Coordinator, the Special Representative for Combating Terrorism and the Counterterrorism Unit are positive steps in improving the ability of the OSCE to operationalize its commitments. We fully support their activities.

LEGAL STATUS

Many participating states have also sought to give the organization a legal status equivalent to that of the United Nations. By contrast, the United States is satisfied with the way the OSCE is currently structured and does not believe fundamental changes to its legal basis are needed. However, most of the support for granting the OSCE a "legal personality" revolves around concerns for the protection of personnel and the need for the organization's missions to function effectively. For this reason, the United States supports development of a convention that would provide privileges and immunities to the OSCE's officials and employees and authorize the OSCE to enter into legal contracts.

SCALES OF ASSESSMENT

The United States is committed to the principle of burden sharing in funding OSCE activities. Last year, a number of States blocked adoption of the OSCE budget, insisting they were assessed at excessive rates. Earlier this year, after many months of negotiation, the OSCE adopted a new scale of assessments that will extend until the end of 2004, for the funding of the OSCE Secretariat, institutions and most OSCE Missions. The U.S. share remained at nine percent. In addition, last year the United States agreed to an increase in our scale of assessment for large missions from 12 percent to 13.57 percent, effective in 2002. Negotiations are underway over development of a methodology for new scales starting in 2005. Ensuring that burden sharing is reflected in the adoption of these scales remains the highest priority for the United States in these negotiations.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Chairman, we believe that the OSCE is a growth industry. It has important work to do in all three of its baskets. In the many field missions operated by the OSCE the United States seeks to advance security, to promote economic development, and to increase respect for human rights. Our purpose is to create the conditions that will permit OSCE to continue to grow in all three of these dimensions, so that the organization will continue as a force for progress in the Euro-Atlantic region for the foreseeable future. At the next Ministerial meeting and throughout the coming year, we hope to broaden the efforts of the OSCE to combat counterterrorism, to prevent trafficking, to promote economic development, and to enhance the effectiveness of the organization in improving the standard of respect for human rights among all member states. Our task is to see that it remains relevant and responsive to the world in which we live.