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Whereas Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Finance

Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently sent a joint letter to the foreign and finance ministers of the 30 member countries of the OECD, stating that Israel's involvement as a non-member country in the OECD's various committees is increasing, and that Israel meets the economic and institutional criteria required to join the OECD;

Whereas Israel was recently asked to take part in the

OECD's Insurance and Commerce Committees;

Whereas membership in the OECD could enhance Israel's

status on the global market and within international financial institutions, lowering the risk factor on foreign

loans to Israel; Whereas Israel's economic and technological standing could

potentially benefit OECD member countries in the science and technology, including high-technology, sectors;

Whereas in 2003, the World Economic Forum ranked Israel

20th out of 102 countries in its Growth Competitiveness Index, and the World Economic Forum's Technology Index ranked Israel 9th, before Canada (11th), Norway (13th), Germany (14th), the United Kingdom (16th), and the Netherlands (18th); and

Whereas Israel is carrying out far reaching economic reforms

based on the OECD's recommendations with respect to taxes, labor, competition, capital markets, pension funds, energy, infrastructures, communications, and transport: Now, therefore, be it

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Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Rep

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eration and Development (OECD);

(2) Israel meets the OECD's membership re

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quirements and has been an active participant as a

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OECD at the next meeting of the OECD, including

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IV

108TH CONGRESS

2D SESSION

H. RES. 652

Urging the Government of the Republic of Belarus to ensure a democratic,

transparent, and fair election process for its parliamentary elections in the fall of 2004.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MAY 20, 2004 Mr. BEREUTER (for himself and Mr. WEXLER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

RESOLUTION

Urging the Government of the Republic of Belarus to ensure

a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for its parliamentary elections in the fall of 2004.

Whereas the establishment of a democratic, transparent, and

fair election process for the 2004 parliamentary elections in the Republic of Belarus and of a genuinely democratic political system are prerequisites for that country's integration into the Western community of nations;

Whereas the Government of Belarus has accepted numerous

specific commitments governing the conduct of elections as a participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including provisions of the Copenhagen Document;

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Whereas the election in the fall of 2004 of Belarus's next

parliament will provide an unambiguous test of the extent of the Belarusian authorities' commitment to implement these standards and build a democratic society based on free elections and the rule of law;

Whereas previous parliamentary elections in Belarus have not

fully met international standards;

Whereas it is the duty of government and public authorities

at all levels to act in a manner consistent with all laws and regulations governing election procedures and to ensure free and fair elections throughout the entire country, including preventing activities aimed at undermining the free exercise of political rights;

Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires a period

of political campaigning conducted in an environment in which neither administrative action nor violence, intimidation, or detention hinder the parties, political associations, and the candidates from presenting their views and qualifications to the citizenry, including organizing supporters, conducting public meetings and events throughout the country, and enjoying unimpeded access to television, radio, print, and Internet media on a non-discriminatory basis;

Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires that citi

zens be guaranteed the right and effective opportunity to exercise their civil and political rights, including the right to vote free from intimidation, threats of political retribution, or other forms of coercion by national or local authorities or others;

Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires the full

transparency of laws and regulations governing elections,

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multiparty representation on election commissions, and unobstructed access by candidates, political parties, and domestic and international observers to all election procedures, including voting and vote-counting in all areas of the country;

Whereas control and manipulation of the media by national

and local officials and others acting at their behest could raise grave concerns regarding the commitment of the Belarusian authorities to free and fair elections;

Whereas efforts by national and local officials and others act

ing at their behest to impose obstacles to free assembly, free speech, and a free and fair political campaign could call into question the fairness of the upcoming elections; and

Whereas the arrest or intimidation of opposition political par

ties and candidates such as the leader of the United Civic Party and others involved with the opposition including those associated with the Coalition Five Plus represents a deliberate assault on the democratic process: Now, therefore, be it

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Resolved, That the House of Representatives

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(1) looks forward to the development of cordial

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relations between the United States and the Repub

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lic of Belarus;

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(2) emphasizes that a precondition for the inte

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