Shaheen Concludes Historic First Visit to Albania, Continues to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United KingdomOctober 01, 2022
**As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and co-Chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, Senator Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts to support democracy and economic development in the Balkans as well as greater Euro-Atlantic integration.**
(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, concluded her first visit to Albania, the most senior U.S. Senator to travel to the country since former Senator John McCain in 2017.
Shaheen held meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Albania, where she discussed the country’s EU accession talks and the progress Albania has made on democratic reform and Euro-Atlantic integration efforts, as well as efforts to strengthen Albania’s cyber capabilities in light of recent cyber attacks. Shaheen also met with a group of Afghan refugees who are awaiting relocation to the United States after fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country last year.
“I was deeply inspired to meet with Afghan refugees, who remain hopeful and courageous about their futures. I also expressed my thanks to officials in Albania for the generosity they have showed in hosting our wartime allies and partners,” said Senator Shaheen. “This visit reaffirmed my commitment to ensuring the United States live up to the promise we made: to protect our Afghan partners and stand by them as they stood by us for 20 years. I was also pleased to discuss the progress Albania has made on meeting its democratic reform goals and look forward to working with officials and the Albanian people to recognize their Euro-Atlantic aspirations. As I continue my trip, I am glad to be returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina to participate as an election observer and show U.S. support for the democratic aspirations of its citizens. I also welcome the opportunity to travel soon to the United Kingdom, a vital partner in the global response to Russian aggression, to reaffirm our alliance and continued U.S. support for NATO and Ukraine amidst Putin’s war.”
Shaheen will continue travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to serve as an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Election Observer for the country’s general election, and to the United Kingdom to discuss the transatlantic alliance, continued U.S. support for Ukraine and attention to the Balkans amidst Putin’s unprovoked war. She will also speak at Chatham House to discuss the importance of unity within the transatlantic relationship in responding to national security challenges.
In August, Senator Shaheen introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Wicker to strengthen U.S.-Balkan ties by supporting economic development in the region through initiatives on infrastructure, trade and anti-corruption, including codification of sanctions to deter destabilizing activity. Senator Shaheen, Senator Murphy and Senator Tillis co-led a bipartisan delegation in April to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Belgium to convey continued U.S. support for allies amid Russian aggression against Ukraine and discuss the implications for European security in the Balkans. Senator Shaheen and Senator Collins introduced a bipartisan resolution to honor the leadership and impact of the late Queen Elizabeth II, which was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Senators Shaheen and Tillis also led a bipartisan delegation in June to the NATO Summit in Madrid, in addition to stops in Sweden and Finland to affirm strong bipartisan Senate support for their NATO membership aspirations. Also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Senator Shaheen has led action in the Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Putin’s belligerence. Last month, Shaheen released a statement ahead of the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and the six-month mark of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine. In March, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Shaheen cosponsored that would ensure the U.S. undertakes coordinated efforts to collect and maintain evidence of war crimes and atrocities committed by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.
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