Government Shutdown: U.S. State Department Cancels Border Security Conference Because of 'Very Limited Funding'

As the longest government shutdown in American history continues to drag on over a border wall, the U.S. State Department has been forced to postpone an international border security conference due to "very limited funding" caused by the shutdown.

"The Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program has postponed its 16th International Export Control and Border Security Conference, which was scheduled to take place in Edinburgh on February 19-21, due to the partial U.S. government shutdown," a State Department spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek.

"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 event in Scotland aims to bring together more than 250 export control and border security practitioners from 85 partner countries "to promote the development of effective strategic trade management and counter proliferation measures," the spokesperson said.

According to the State Department website, the EXBS program "seeks to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing accumulations and irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons by building effective national strategic trade control systems in countries that possess, produce, or supply strategic items, as well as in countries through which such items are most likely to transit."

Kathryn Insley, the director of the Office of Export Control Cooperation, announced the news in a letter dated January 16, obtained by CNN, which was sent to at least 55 U.S. embassies and missions across the world. In the letter, Insley asked the missions to communicate the information "to the appropriate host government officials who have been nominated to attend the Conference."

Insley attributed the cancelation to "uncertainty associated with the continuing partial U.S. federal government shutdown" and said they "are working to identify alternative dates" for the event.

A partial government shutdown went into effect last month after Donald Trump refused to sign a stop-gap measure to keep the government running through to February because it didn't include any funding provisions for his proposed wall along the southern U.S.-Mexico border, one of the president's key campaign promises.

Now in its 32nd day with no concrete resolution in sight, 800,000 federal employees have been left either furloughed or working unpaid across approximately a quarter of all government departments as the shutdown continues to drag on due to a stalemate between Trump and congressional Democrats over $5 billion worth of funding for the wall.

The US Department of State logo is displayed inside the media briefing room 01 November 2007 at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. The department has been forced to cancel an upcoming international border security conference due to "very limited fundings" amid the partial government shutdown. Getty/Paul J. Richards