Hastings Attends 26th Annual Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement after participating in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) 26th Annual Meeting in Minsk, Belarus, as well as multiple bi-lateral and multi-lateral meetings in regards to national security and defense policy in Egypt, Greece, and Lithuania:
“I was honored to once again represent the United States and Congress at this year’s OSCE PA Annual Meeting. Our delegation was the largest U.S. delegation to have ever visited Minsk,” said Hastings. “The OSCE PA plays a critical role in multilateral dialogue, which promotes security, human rights and economic development. Throughout the past week, I participated in a number of high-level meetings with senior representatives of OSCE states to enhance cooperation between our countries.”
The annual meeting of the OSCE PA, comprised of 57 member states, took place from July 5-9, 2017. Hastings is a President Emeritus of the OSCE PA and currently serves as Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission). The agency is an independent organization of the U.S. government comprised of representatives from both the legislative and executive branches. The Commission monitors compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advances international security through the promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental, and military cooperation.
The OSCE PA adopted the 2017 Minsk Declaration with recommendations to national governments, parliaments, and the international community to help shape policies in the fields of political affairs, security, economics, environment and human rights. Over 260 parliamentarians from 55 OSCE countries and several Partners for cooperation participated in the Annual Session in Minsk. This year’s theme was entitled, “Enhancing mutual trust and co-operation for peace and prosperity in the OSCE region.”
Hastings offered several amendments during the meeting, which overwhelmingly passed. They included: an amendment to encourage cooperation in shaping a safe and free future for Libya by supporting border security and counterterrorism efforts, fostering political stability and rule of law through dialogue, delivering economic assistance, addressing the migration routes to the OSCE region emerging from Libyan territory, and facilitating Libya’s admission as a unified and democratic country to the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation at the earliest possible instance; an amendment to encourage participating States and Mediterranean Partner States to build off of the 2016 OSCE Mediterranean Conference “Youth North and South of the Mediterranean: Facing Security Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities” by pursuing initiatives that incorporate youth and civil society into counter-radicalization programs and focus on addressing the needs and aspirations of youth in the Mediterranean region; as well as an amendment to encourage participating States to reinforce democratic progress in Tunisia and other Mediterranean Partner States as appropriate, including through political engagement, security assistance, and increased trade, investment, and economic development.
Prior to the OSCE PA meeting, the Congressional delegation travelled to Egypt, Greece, and Lithuania. While in Cairo, the delegation held bilateral meetings with senior Egyptian leaders to discuss regional security and counterterrorism. While in Athens, the delegation met with Greek leadership to discuss security and humanitarian challenges with regards to the ongoing European migration crisis. The trip culminated with the delegation’s participation in the Annual Session of the OSCE PA in Minsk, Belarus. While in Minsk, members of the delegation travelled to Vilnius to review NATO preparedness and evaluate threats to the region.
Hastings was part of a Congressional delegation led by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Helsinki Commission. Also joining this bipartisan and bicameral delegation were Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Representative Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Commissioner of the Helsinki Commission; Representative Steve King (R-IA), House Judiciary Committee Member; Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI), Commissioner of the Helsinki Commission; Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), Commissioner of the Helsinki Commission; Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Commissioner of the Helsinki Commission; Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairman of the Helsinki Commission (Minsk Only); Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (Minsk Only); and Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC), Commissioner of the Helsinki Commission.
“I want to sincerely thank Senator Wicker for his leadership in leading this bipartisan and bicameral delegation. I believe that we sent a strong message to the officials that we met with, exemplifying the fact that we are able to work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle on many of the challenges facing us globally,” concluded Hastings.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.