Shaheen Meets with UK Allies, Shares U.S. Support for Transatlantic Alliance Following Visits to Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina
**As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations 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) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after concluding her congressional delegation visit to London to meet with UK defense officials amid concerns about Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine and his malign influence in the Western Balkans.
Shaheen’s stop in the United Kingdom followed visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. She traveled to the region to serve as an Organization for Security and Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) Election Observer for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s general elections, which took place on October 2. While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Shaheen met with the Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo and the Commander for Operation EUFOR Althea to reaffirm U.S. support for an international peace stabilization force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Shaheen also visited Albania, where she met with a group of Afghan refugees awaiting relocation to the United States and conducted meetings with the country’s President and Prime Minister to reaffirm U.S. support for Albania’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
“Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has shown the importance of a strong, united transatlantic alliance – and if Putin has succeeded in one thing this year, it’s been building a more resilient and prepared NATO than ever before,” said Shaheen. “I was pleased to visit the United Kingdom to share with our closest ally how the U.S., the UK and our NATO allies and partners, can support the Balkans amid Putin’s war. This was my second visit to the Balkans this year, and it remains clear that if Putin’s war in Ukraine is successful, this region could be his next stop. The United States and our allies are clear-eyed about the challenges ahead, and I was proud to convey continued U.S. commitment in supporting Ukraine and democracy in the Balkans. I am also committed to ensuring continued support for the region’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, where significant progress has already been made.”
Shaheen also spoke at Chatham House in London to discuss the importance of transatlantic unity in responding to national security challenges. Shaheen’s UK visit came on the heels of the U.S. Senate unanimously passing her bipartisan resolution with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which honors the leadership and impact of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Senator Shaheen leads action in the U.S. Senate on prioritizing U.S. policy toward the Balkans. 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. This followed a bipartisan congressional delegation that she led in April with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) 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. 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. 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.