Jamestown Senior Fellow Testifies Before the Senate on Black Sea Democracy and Security

For Immediate Release

[Washington, DC] On March 8, Jamestown Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor delivered testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on European Affairs, at a hearing on "The Future of Democracy in the Black Sea Area." Socor, one of the foremost experts on the region and regular contributor to Jamestown’s Eurasia Daily Monitor publication, underscored the need for a cooperative effort by the trans-Atlantic community to advance Western institutions of security and democracy to the broader Black Sea region, including Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.

In his testimony, Socor called for a "redoubling of democratic institution building within these countries, and anchoring them to Euro-Atlantic institutions," adding, "The U.S. is uniquely equipped to lead this effort within the Euro-Atlantic community and in the region itself." In this region, Socor argued, America and Europe share common strategic interests in the consolidation of "stable, reform-capable states, in control of their own borders, safe from external military or economic pressures or externally-inspired secessions, secure in their function as energy transit routes, and capable of supporting U.S.-led or NATO coalition operations."

To this end, Socor noted that it is high time for the West to seriously address the region\’s security problems, beginning with the frozen conflicts, and start planning for the Euro-Atlantic integration of countries that have declared that aspiration in the broader Black Sea region. According to Socor, "Russia, largely responsible for sparking or fanning those conflicts, has a vested interested in keeping them smoldering, so as to pressure Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Moldova and thwart their Euro-Atlantic integration." He added, "Preferably in synergy with NATO and EU countries, the U.S. is best placed for promoting conflict-settlement solutions that would consolidate the region’s states in strategic partnership with the U.S."

Lastly, Vladimir Socor addressed Russia’s role in the OSCE, notably Moscow’s stonewalling on troop withdrawal from Moldova and Georgia, its termination of the OSCE’s Georgia Border Monitoring Operation, and the blocking of the OSCE’s 2005 budget. Socor described the 1999 Istanbul Commitments for Russian troop withdrawal as "dead" and called on Georgia and Moldova to "go beyond the OSCE to international organizations, and argue the case for Russian troop withdrawal on the basis of national sovereignty and international law." Calling for a responsive Western attitude, Socor concluded that "the U.S., along with the Euro-Atlantic community, should place these issues prominently on the U.S.-Russia, NATO-Russia, and EU-Russia agendas."

You may follow Mr. Socor’s analytical pieces on the region by subscribing to Jamestown’s Eurasia Daily Monitor publication, available at Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Founded in 1984, The Jamestown Foundation is an independent, non-partisan research institution dedicated to providing timely information concerning critical political and strategic developments in China, Russia, and Eurasia. Jamestown’s research and analysis is available to the public free-of-charge via Jamestown’s website, www.jamestown.org.