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Shutdown’s Latest Cancellation: State Department’s International Border-Security Conference

The State Department has temporarily cancelled an international conference on border security because of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which began amid an impasse over the funding of a border wall President Trump is fighting to build.

Officials from 85 countries had been planning to attend the 16th International Export Control and Border Security Conference. The meeting, held annually to discuss the prevention of weapons transfers across national borders, was planned for next month in Edinburgh, Scotland.

According to CNN, the State Department sent a letter to U.S. embassies and missions asking them to notify government officials that the meeting would not take place “due to uncertainty associated with the continuing partial U.S. federal government shutdown.” Instead, the department would work to find alternative dates.

“This conference brings together approximately 270 export control and border security practitioners from 85 partner countries involved in dual-use and conventional arms policy, licensing, and enforcement to promote the development of effective strategic trade management and counter proliferation measures,” a State Department official told CNN.

“In light of the very limited funding available during the lapse in appropriations, the Department will exercise judicious use of limited, remaining resources. Travel, hiring, contracting, public affairs, and other activities will continue to operate in a constrained manner,” the official said.

Some observers in the press and social media noted the irony of the cancellation of a border security conference because of a shutdown inspired by a disagreement over border security. The shutdown, now stretching into its 32nd day, began on Dec. 22. On Dec. 21, Trump said in a televised confrontation with Democratic leaders that, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”