May 14, 2013

Menendez Legislation Reforming OAS and Assisting Taiwan to Obtain Observer Status at International Civil Aviation Organizational Assembly Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Two Bills and Ambassadorial Nominations to Libya, Chad Head to Senate Floor

WASHINGTON, DC – Two bipartisan bills introduced by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two ambassadorial nominations to Libya and Chad cleared the committee today and will now proceed to the full Senate for approval.

Menendez introduced the Organization of American States (OAS) Revitalization and Reform Act of 2013 along with Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN), and committee members Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). The legislation urges the implementation of certain management reforms at the OAS and requires the Secretary of State to identify a path toward the adoption of these reforms, while declaring the organization the primary multi-lateral diplomatic entity for regional disputes and promotion of democratic governance. The bill, S.793, passed the committee by a voice vote.

“The OAS is a vital organization with a significant role and profound responsibilities here in the Americas, but critical administrative and financial reforms are needed to strengthen the organization and ensure its success long into the future,” said Chairman Menendez.

Senators also passed legislation introduced by Menendez and Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) directing the Secretary of State to assist Taiwan in obtaining observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organizational Assembly (ICAO). The bill, S.579, was approved by a voice vote.

“It is long overdue and a matter of international aviation safety to grant Taiwan observer status at ICAO. Last year, Taiwan joined the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, and travel between Taiwan and the United States is sure to increase. Allowing the Government of Taiwan observer status at ICAO assemblies will ensure that it has access to the technical information it needs to continue to conform its civil aviation practices with evolving international safety standards,” Menendez said.

Finally, the committee voted in favor of two ambassadorial, James Knight to serve as Ambassador to the Republic of Chad and Deborah Kay Jones to serve as Ambassador to Libya.

Menendez said:  “In Deborah Jones, the President has nominated a career senior foreign service officer of the highest caliber to take on this critical assignment. There is simply no substitute for having a confirmed U.S. Ambassador on the ground, reaching outside the wire to the Libyan people as they shape a safer, more productive and inclusive future. The Sahel is emerging as an increasingly significant strategic region and Chad is currently the largest African troop contributor to multilateral military operations in Mali. Ambassador Knight brings over two decades of experience, much of it in Africa, to this post.” 


Press Contact