Toggle navigation menu.
Helsinki Default Banner

U.S. Delegation Calls for Renewed Multilateral Efforts in Afghanistan

VIENNA —U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) today led the U.S. delegation in calling for an enhanced multi-country diplomatic approach to stabilizing Afghanistan and ridding the country of Taliban.

Members of the delegation made their case during a special debate on Afghanistan – the central issue of the Winter Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly that concluded its meeting of about 250 parliamentarians today in Vienna.

“By adhering to a planned reduction in US combat troops in Afghanistan beginning in July 2011 matched with enhanced diplomatic and development efforts from global, regional and tribal partners, we can demonstrate to the Afghan government and the Afghan people that we support them, but they are responsible for the security and future direction of their nation,” said Chairman Cardin, who also serves as vice president of the 56-country Parliamentary Assembly.

“Clearly, there are major challenges in Afghanistan related to human rights, rule of law, drug trafficking, and election reform. But I hope these negatives do not distract us in the OSCE from the essential task of defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda,” said Helsinki Commissioner Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “I hope the leaders of OSCE countries will send a clear message of resolve to remain steadfast strategic partners in what will undoubtedly be a lengthy but worthwhile effort.”

“As President Obama has said, the United States did not ask for this fight. We should all recall the unity with which we acted following September 11, 2001,”said Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa). “This is not just America’s war. This is war for the safety of us all. The fight is aimed at Afghanistan because it is the heart of violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda.”

Mediterranean Affairs
During the two-day Winter Meeting, Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), who also serves as the Assembly’s Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs, convened a multilateral discussion with parliamentarians from OSCE Mediterranean Partner countries, which include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

“These forums are critical to making our Mediterranean partners more actively engaged in the Parliamentary Assembly. As we look to find ways to strengthen that partnership, it is important that the ideas and concrete actions come from them so they take further ownership of their role in the Assembly,” Rep. Hastings said.

Human Rights
The U.S. delegation continues to be well-represented in the field of human rights – a hallmark of the OSCE’S work. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), as vice-chair of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, delivered a report today on how the OSCE is turning the committee’s recommendations into action. Aderholt specifically mentioned policies related to human trafficking, election observation, tolerance freedom of expression, and combating anti-Semitism that stemmed from the Committee’s resolutions.

“Much of the OSCE’s work is in keeping with our suggestions,” Rep. Aderholt said. “In particular, I would highlight the Organization’s work in the last year to raise awareness and combat human trafficking. On questions of tolerance, I’m proud to see our recommendations of the past year have resulted in the Organization calling for making data on human rights more publicly available.”

The U.S. delegation also includes Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Rep Laura Richardson (D-CA).

Media contact

Category
Country
Issue
Date
Filter Topics Open Close
Hearings

Hamas’ Hostages, Putin’s Prisoners, and Freeing Inte...

Oct 25, 2023

The practice of seizing hostages and political prisoners, as well as actively terrorizing civilians is a constant displayed by Hamas in Israel and Russia’s war against Ukraine. To highlight issues related to the United States’ strategy to free hostages and political prisoners, last year the Commission’s Ranking Member Congressman Steve Cohen and Chairman Joe Wilson […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Israel and Ukraine Against Terror

Oct 19, 2023

Terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli and Ukrainian civilians have shocked the world with their cruelty and sophistication. These unprovoked attacks are fueled by transnational terrorist networks that include Hamas, Russia, and the Iranian regime, and which regularly target Ukrainian and Israeli civilians and infrastructure. Israel and Ukraine face common foes in terrorist networks that use […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

United States Demonstrates Global Leadership on Ukra...

Jul 14, 2023

The Helsinki Commission’s four senior leaders helmed the United States’ bicameral, bipartisan delegation to the 30th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly last week in Vancouver, Canada. Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD), serving as Head of Delegation, was joined by Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) as Deputy Head of Delegation as well as Ranking Members […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Chair and Co-Chair Lead Delegati...

Jul 10, 2023

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Co-Chair Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Helsinki Commission Chair Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02) led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the 30th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) in Vancouver, Canada from June 30-July 4. As Head of Delegation and Deputy Head of Delegation respectively, Senator Cardin and Representative Wilson welcomed the […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

North Macedonia’s Leadership of the OSCE in a ...

Feb 28, 2023

North Macedonia has taken up leadership of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—a year into Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Much of the OSCE’s focus over the past year has revolved around responses to the war, including using the organization to condemn Russian aggression and hold the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

HEARING: NORTH MACEDONIA’S LEADERSHIP OF THE OSCE IN...

Feb 24, 2023

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNgAOyC9f5g North Macedonia has taken up leadership of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—a year into Putin’s brutal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Much of the OSCE’s focus over the past year has revolved around responses to the war, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

U.S. Delegation to the OSCE PA presents Joint Statem...

Feb 24, 2023

WASHINGTON— Today, the U.S. Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) endorsed the “Joint Statement of Action on the One-Year Anniversary of Russia’s War Against Ukraine and the International Legal Order,” which was endorsed by the OSCE PA Bureau and published today at the conclusion of the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Steadfast Support for Ukraine: United States Delegat...

Feb 23, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA), led by Senator Ben Cardin (MD), met with Mykyta Poturaiev, Ukraine’s Head of Delegation and additional representatives of the Ukrainian Rada in Vienna, Austria, along with the Heads of Delegation of Canada, Estonia, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Urge Austria to Deny Visas to...

Feb 15, 2023

WASHINGTON – Helsinki Commission leadership, Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, Co-Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin, and Rep. Steve Cohen, on February 10, sent a letter to Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg to reconsider granting visas to the Russian delegation to the Winter Meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Announce Re-Introduction of H...

Jan 25, 2023

Today, Helsinki Commissioners Steve Cohen, Joe Wilson, Marc Veasey,  Richard Hudson, Ruben Gallego and Brian Fitzpatrick along with Representatives Ted Lieu, Maria Salazar and Marcy Kaptur, re-introduced the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act in the House of Representatives, bipartisan legislation that would require the Secretary of State to designate the Russian-based mercenary Wagner Group as […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

OSCE’s 2022 Ministerial Council in Lodz: Russia Isol...

Dec 09, 2022

By Janice Helwig, Senior Policy Advisor, Demitra Pappas, Senior Advisor Department of State, Shannon Simrell, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to OSCE Foreign Ministers and senior officials from the 57 participating States and 11 Asian and Mediterranean partners of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) convened the OSCE […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

My “Hell” in Russian Captivity

Sep 15, 2022

Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine include the brutal and unlawful detention of thousands of Ukrainians. At this hearing, Yuliia “Taira” Paievska, a well-known Ukrainian volunteer medic who was detained in Mariupol in March and held by the Russians for three months, testified about her capture, the deplorable conditions of her captivity, the plight of those […]

screen-reader-text