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U.S. Delegation to OSCE PA Annual Session Advances Comprehensive Security Priorities

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC-2), Co-Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) led a 10-member bipartisan, bicameral congressional delegation to the 31st Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) in Bucharest, Romania from June 29 to July 3, 2024. This delegation represented the United States at a gathering of approximately 225 legislators from 55 OSCE states.

The U.S. delegation to the Annual Session also included Commissioners Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-NC-9), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-9), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5). Additionally, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-1), and Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS-1) participated in the delegation.

Serving as Head of the U.S. delegation, Chairman Wilson said:

“U.S. participation in the OSCE PA sends a clear message to our transatlantic partners that the United States’ commitment to protecting freedom in the world through peace through strength is thoroughly bipartisan and shared among members of the House and Senate. In conversations with legislators from dozens of countries, we communicated our resolve to ensure Ukrainian victory against Russian aggression and safeguard other vulnerable states and peoples from the threat of autocrats.”

Chairman Wilson successfully passed a resolution titled “Building a Comprehensive European Security Architecture Against Aggression,” addressing the need for more credible security guarantees to shield countries outside NATO from external aggression, principally from Russia. Rep. Wilson also heard updates on the situation in Ukraine and pledged sustained U.S. support at a meeting of the OSCE PA’s Parliamentary Support Team for Ukraine, where he serves as Co-Chairman.

Sen. Cardin served as Deputy Head of Delegation and led key initiatives as OSCE PA Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance. Marking his final OSCE PA Annual Session, Sen. Cardin said:

“Representing the United States for more than thirty years in the OSCE PA has been a highlight of my public service. For more than a decade, U.S. leadership in the Assembly has been critical to calling out Vladimir Putin’s egregious violations of Helsinki principles domestically and internationally. Furthermore, in Bucharest, we continued our legacy of spotlighting the threat of antisemitism and other forms of intolerance that threaten fundamental freedoms in the OSCE.”

The Assembly overwhelmingly adopted Sen. Cardin’s resolution “Ending the Scourge of Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region,” calling on OSCE states to dedicate resources to counter antisemitism through education and solidarity. Sen. Cardin also hosted a side event on countering the rise of antisemitism and other hate-based intolerance, featuring participation from government representatives, parliamentarians, and civil society leaders.

Noting that Sen. Cardin is not seeking reelection to the U.S. Senate this year, OSCE PA President Pia Kauma and Secretary General Roberto Montella honored his over three decades of participation in the OSCE PA, during which he served as Head of Delegation more than a dozen times as well as Chairman of the Second Committee (2003-2006) and Vice President of the Assembly (2006-2012).

OSCE PA delegates approved two amendments from Sen. Wicker drawing attention to Chinese malign influence in the OSCE and the destabilizing role of Iran in the Middle East. Sen. Wicker commented:

“The OSCE cannot return to ‘business as usual’ until Ukraine has reclaimed its full sovereignty and territorial integrity. Condemning and reversing Russian aggression remains at the top of our delegation’s priorities. At the same time, we must remain vigilant to mounting threats to regional and global peace from an axis of aggression, including Russia, China, and Iran.”

Concluding four years as Chairman of the General Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Rep. Hudson deplored Russia’s assault on regional security and urged solidarity with Ukraine’s fight for freedom:

“The OSCE PA is united in its condemnation of Russia’s and Belarus’ military aggression against Ukraine—actions that constitute not only war crimes but also fit the definition of genocide. As the conscience of the OSCE, this Assembly will continue to push European governments to commit greater resources to confronting Vladimir Putin’s existential threat to the Helsinki principles.”

Rep. Hudson secured the most votes in his election as Vice President of the Assembly, filling the vacancy left by Sen. Wicker who was term limited after completing two three-year terms as Vice President. With over a decade of leadership in the Assembly, Sen. Wicker consistently championed freedom and the rule of law as the surest path to prosperity across the OSCE region. He previously chaired the Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security, where he worked across party lines to bring a sharper focus to the hard security component of the OSCE’s First Dimension.

The U.S. delegation successfully passed 17 amendments to the concluding Bucharest Declaration addressing a wide array of challenges in the OSCE region, including: Russia’s imperialistic foreign policy and colonialist subjugation of minority groups domestically; Russia’s genocidal efforts to eliminate the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian identity; the need to seize Russian sovereign assets and transfer them to Ukraine to finance recovery and reconstruction efforts; Georgia’s recent adoption of a Russian-style foreign agents law; Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist aggression; Iranian efforts to undermine stability in the Middle East, including through the use of terrorist proxies; and the abuse of commercial spyware to violate fundamental freedoms and perpetrate transnational repression,

Rep. Chris Smith, OSCE PA Special Representative on Human Trafficking, also successfully introduced a resolution on “Strengthening Actions to Prevent Human Trafficking and Protecting Survivors to Prevent Retrafficking,” which was included in the Bucharest Declaration.

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