Press Release

Senators Welch and Shaheen Travel to Western Balkans to Engage with Partners Amid Continued Russian Interference and Convey Support for Their Euro-Atlantic Aspirations

Oct 17, 2023

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) joined U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, on a congressional delegation last week to North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina to convey continued U.S. support for its allies amid Russian aggression against Ukraine and to discuss the implications for European security in the region. The Senators also reinforced U.S. support for the Western Balkan nations on their respective democratic trajectories and encouraged their path towards European integration.

“It was an honor to join Senator Jeanne Shaheen—a leader on U.S.-European foreign relations in the U.S. Senate and my neighbor from New Hampshire—on a congressional delegation to the Western Balkans. This delegation came at a critical moment for global security and the stability of this important region. As we seek a united front against Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, strengthening our transatlantic alliances has never been more important. I was thankful for the opportunity to discuss the power of democracy and express America’s unwavering commitment to a more interconnected, secure, and prosperous world,” said Welch.

“Our delegation came at a time when there are escalating security concerns in the Western Balkans, and it was important to use this as an opportunity to reassure our partners and NATO Allies that the United States is actively engaged and supportive of their efforts towards full Euro-Atlantic integration,” said Shaheen. “We had substantive conversations with officials and local leaders throughout the visit, including robust discussions about the transatlantic alliance, which has been fundamental to our global united response against Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.”

Throughout their visit, the Senators met with high level government officials, members of the respective countries’ administrations and civil society leaders. While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Senators spoke at the Sarajevo Security Conference. Photos from the trip can be found here.