Florida Congressmen Take Up Bob Menendez’s, Marco Rubio’s Proposal to Help Greece, Cyprus, Israel

Two members of the Florida delegation in the U.S. House have taken up a proposal to support Greece’s military and having that nation work closely with the U.S., Cyprus and Israel.

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, introduced the “U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act”  with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as a co-sponsor.

“As a reliable NATO ally, Greece plays a critical role in promoting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. The 200th anniversary of Greek independence reminds us of the long history of U.S.-Greece cooperation based on our shared commitment to democratic values, and we must continue building that cooperation in the years to come,” Menendez said when he introduced the proposal. “In order to ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean remains secure, the U.S. must bolster its defense relationship with Greece by supporting Greece’s efforts to modernize its armed forces. This legislation seeks to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Greece in order to advance our shared values, promote security cooperation, and support a secure Eastern Mediterranean for years to come.”

“This bipartisan legislation will continue to enhance defense cooperation with Greece, a valued NATO ally,” Rubio said. “By extending Foreign Military Assistance to Greece and establishing an interparliamentary partnership with democratic countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, this legislation reaffirms our strong commitment to the region at a time when malign actors are working to undermine international security and stability.”

Looking to move Greece away from Russian-produced military equipment, the bill would allocate  $1 million per year in International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece each year through 2026. The bill would also expedite deliveries of military supplies to Greece, including F-35s. The bill also creates an “interparliamentary group among Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States to serve as the legislative component of the 3+1 process launched among the governments in March 2019“

Last week, Menendez, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was able to get the bill through the committee and to the Senate floor.

Also last week, a version of the bill was introduced in the U.S. House by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., with U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., as a co-sponsor.

“Over the last few years, the United States has strengthened and expanded our strategic security partnership with Greece and other eastern Mediterranean allies,” Deutch said. “We want to build on this mutually beneficial defense relationship by bolstering Greece’s military capabilities and fostering interparliamentary engagement between the United States, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. I’m proud to introduce this bill, which is a natural extension of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act that Congressman Bilirakis and I introduced and passed last Congress.”

“Greece has consistently proven itself to be a reliable ally in the Eastern Mediterranean.  This critical legislation bolsters Greece’s efforts to modernize its armed forces, while strengthening our strategic partnership among our Hellenic partners.  It also enables continued security cooperation to help facilitate enduring stability throughout the region,” said Bilirakis.

Deutch’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee last week.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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