Shaheen Participates in OSCE Election Observation Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Urges Respect for Democratic Process
**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, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to serve as an OSCE Election Observer for the country’s general elections on October 2.
Shaheen met with the Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo and the Commander for Operation EUFOR Althea, which is the military detachment responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Dayton Agreement, in the lead up to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s elections to reaffirm U.S. support for an international peace stabilization force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) Election Observation mission, Shaheen observed the country’s general election through visits to polling stations in both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.
“I was pleased to participate as an OSCE PA Election Observer for these important elections at a critical time for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Shaheen. “I congratulate the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina on conducting peaceful elections, where fundamental elements required for fair and free elections were largely respected. Bosnians deserve democratic institutions in which their voices are heard to build a more democratic and prosperous country. Although many challenges remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I was pleased to play a role in supporting the democratic aspirations of Bosnians and am committed to ensuring continued U.S. support for their Euro-Atlantic aspirations. And as Americans know from our own experiences, democracy is fragile. This visit reaffirmed my commitment to sustaining strong U.S. leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to the broader Western Balkans region.”
Shaheen, who concluded a historic first visit to Albania to discuss U.S.-Albania cooperation on support for Afghan refugees and Albania’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, continues now 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. In August, 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.