Durbin to Travel to Bosnia, Lithuania, and Belarus This Week

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania and Belarus this week as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation which will attend the 18th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.


Durbin will depart Friday, traveling first to Bosnia-Herzegovina, then on to Lithuania and Belarus. Stops in Sarajevo, Vilnius and Minsk are currently planned. Due to security concerns, specific details of the trip will not be released in advance.


The delegation will hold a series of meetings with government leaders and civil society representatives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess political and security progress, focusing on international cooperation and support reforms needed to allow Bosnia to join the European Union.


The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will be held in Vilnius and will focus on security concerns of member countries. Members will debate and vote on a range of issues including security in Afghanistan, the economic crisis, climate change, energy, water, and human rights and democratic development. The resolutions passed become the final Vilnius Declaration – helping to steer the direction of the OSCE.


With 56 States drawn from Europe, Central Asia and Americas, the OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization. It offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.


The stop in Minsk, Belarus, will mark the highest level Congressional delegation to the authoritarian country in more than a decade.


The delegation is being led by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL).


The U.S. delegation includes: Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY), Representative Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Representative Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Representative Darrell E. Issa (R-CA), Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI).