As the partial government shutdown has worn on, the State Department was forced to cancel an international conference it hosts annually, it announced this week.
The International Export Control and Border Security Conference was scheduled to bring together some 270 security experts from 85 countries in mid-February in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss border-related issues such as weapons policy, licensing and enforcement — including nuclear-arms proliferation. The State Department described the move as a postponement but did not offer a date when the conference would be rescheduled.
In its 16th year, the conference is hosted by the State Department’s Export Control and Related Border Security Program, which works “to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing accumulations and irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons” by working with foreign countries.
The government is shut down over President Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to construct a border wall — a move he says is necessitated by security issues along the border. But Democrats and other groups say a wall is not needed to secure the border.
“In light of the very limited funding available during the lapse in appropriations, the Department will exercise judicious use of limited, remaining resources,” the State Department said in a statement about the conference, as first reported by CNN. “Travel, hiring, contracting, public affairs, and other activities will continue to operate in a constrained manner.”