Nov. 22 – WASHINGTON – Following an international conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia last weekend, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H., said there was strong bipartisan support for US foreign policy objectives, which include closely monitoring aggressive action. Russian and Chinese leaders, while monitoring the consequences of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Along with Senator Jim Risch, R-Ind., Shaheen co-led a delegation of six US Senators to the Halifax International Security Forum.
Shaheen is the only female senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Risch, the Republican ranked in the same panel, credited Shaheen with arranging the trip.
“I think some forum participants were surprised to see how there is such a bipartisan agreement between us on the threats we face and the responsibilities we have to deal with them,” Shaheen said during a talk. telephone interview on his return to Washington.
“The forum was virtual last year, so it was great to go back in person and meet people, face to face.”
Shaheen spoke of his opposition to President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan at a seminar on the subject.
“I was very disappointed when I heard President Biden’s ruling and said it at the time. I thought that given what was really a surrender to the Taliban by the previous administration, it wasn’t ‘was not a negotiated peace treaty … extend our stay, continue to assess what was going on in Afghanistan, ”Shaheen said.
Shaheen said the United States had little influence and that for her the “greatest tragedy” was seeing women lose some of the freedoms they first enjoyed as the United States and other countries Westerners supported the previous Afghan administration.
“We need the world leaders, the president, the United Nations to keep talking about what is happening to women in Afghanistan, this is the least we can do,” Shaheen said.
Other speakers on the panel included former Afghan MP Sabrina Saqeb, former President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Dr. Janice Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
US-Canadian affairs also on the agenda
Shaheen hosted a meeting between the delegation and the Canadian-American Business Council on Saturday, which followed the reopening of the United States’ borders to Canadian visitors.
“Everyone is really optimistic that the reopening of the border will bring back a lot of trade and tourism on both sides of the border,” Shaheen said. “Canada is also approving a change in its testing requirements for returning citizens which I think will be very well received.”
Shaheen said the event hosted numerous meetings with diplomats and other officials from Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine to discuss Russia’s actions towards its Eastern European neighbors.
“The instability in Belarus remains of great concern and we know that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is involved, if not leading him,” Shaheen said.
The delegation included three Senate Republicans and three Democrats. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was the only one attending the forum for the first time.