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Helsinki Commission Releases Mediterranean Seminar Report

Washington – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today released a formal report on this year’s Helsinki Commission Seminar on OSCE Mediterranean Partner Engagement.

“International engagement with our OSCE Mediterranean Partners has laid the groundwork for vital developments in migration management and security cooperation, and this report suggests a new way forward in the Middle East to build upon that work,” Chairman Cardin said. “We hope that this report will encourage Mediterranean Partners to renew their interest and take stronger ownership of their relations with the OSCE at large.”

“This seminar was a necessary step in affirming the importance of the Mediterranean Partner engagement in security, economic, and sociopolitical cooperation as neighbors of the OSCE region,” said Co-Chairman Hastings, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs. “It is my hope that this report will reinvigorate the Mediterranean Dimension and prompt discussion on the potential for strengthening engagement in the region.”

The Commission convened the Mediterranean Seminar July 2009 with more than 50 parliamentarians, dignitaries and experts from all of the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation; Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. Participants also included 13 Members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and diplomats from the OSCE participating States of Canada, Greece, Kazakhstan, Portugal, and Sweden. A working session on OSCE Mediterranean Partner engagement and expert seminars on security, youth development, and Mediterranean cooperation highlighted the two-day event, which concluded with an official hearing of the Helsinki Commission featuring the testimony of Ambassador William Hudson, Deputy Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Sotiris Roussos, Personal Representative on Mediterranean Affairs to the Greek Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, and the Honorable João Soares, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

The 84-page report contains recommendations from the seminar, hearing testimony, associated legislation in the House of Representatives and documents submitted by participants during the proceedings.

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