U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., were able to get their proposal to support Greece’s military and having that nation work closely with the U.S., Cyprus and Israel through a key committee this week.
Earlier this month, Menendez introduced the “U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act” with Rubio 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“
This week, Menendez, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was able to get the bill through the committee. Rubio also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. They weighed in after the bill cleared the committee and now heads to the Senate floor.
“I am very proud to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee come together in support of this commonsense legislation that not only bolsters Greece’s efforts to modernize its armed forces, but also strengthens our bilateral defense relationship and enduring ties with our instrumental Hellenic partners,” Menendez said. “I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to secure Senate passage of the U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act so we can continue promoting security cooperation and lasting stability in the Eastern Mediterranean for years to come.”
“As this important bipartisan legislation heads to the Senate floor for full consideration, we must remain committed to ensuring our nation enhances its defense cooperation with Greece, a valued NATO ally,” Rubio said. “I thank my committee colleagues for voting to send this bill to the Senate floor in support of one of our nation’s most important Eastern Mediterranean partners and a fellow democracy.”
While the bill is now before the full Senate, there remains no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.