WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in applauding the Committee passage of their new legislation to bolster the United States’ defense partnership with Greece. Entitled the U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021, the bipartisan legislation boosts support for Greek military modernization by authorizing new transfers of American military equipment and fostering increased multilateral engagement among Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the United States.
“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,” Chairman 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,” Senator 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 valued NATO ally.”
Key provisions of the legislation include:
Support for Greek Military Modernization:
Authorizes European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP) assistance to Greece to support Greece’s transition away from Russian-produced military equipment
Authorizes $1.8 million per year in International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance to Greece for FY2022 – 2026
Expresses the Sense of Congress that the U.S. should provide direct loans to Greece for the procurement of defense articles, defense services, and design and construction services pursuant to the further development of Greece’s military force
Transfer of American Military Equipment to Greece:
Authorizes expedited delivery of any future F-35 aircraft ordered by Greece
Requires the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to submit a report to Congress on Greece’s defense needs and how the United States will seek to address such needs through transfers of excess defense equipment to Greece
Parliamentary Engagement within the 3+1 Framework:
Authorizes the establishment of 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
HALC & AJC
In a joint appeal to member of the Senare Foreign Relations Committee, Julie Rayman, Senior Director of Policy and Political Affairs of the American Jewish Committee and Endy Zemenides, Executive Director, of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, urge them to support the U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act, legislation that has bi-partisan support.
“On behalf of AJC (American Jewish Committee) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), we write to urge you to vote in favor of S.2000 – the U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021 (introduced by Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Marco Rubio) – during today’s business meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee.
This legislation would deepen the U.S.-Greece alliance and make Greece an even more dependable partner by: advancing Greece’s military modernization, authorizing new transfers of American military equipment to Greece, and investing in the 3+1 partnership between Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the United States that is redefining the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece is a NATO ally and Greece is a key partner in tackling growing security challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. U.S. support for Greece’s efforts to modernize its armed forces will help ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean remains secure, and will reaffirm our commitment to the region at a time when malign actors – like Russia and China – are working to undermine regional security and stability.
Building a peaceful and secure Eastern Mediterranean also means investing in partners and allies that share our interests and values. This legislation does that by building on the 3+1 process launched in Jerusalem in March 2019 with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, and establishing the “Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the United States 3+1 Interparliamentary Group” to serve as the legislative component of the 3+1 process.
It is our opinion that this legislation will strengthen our relations with critical allies and partners Greece, Israel, and Cyprus, promoting our shared values, and supporting a secure Eastern Mediterranean. This Act builds on the 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Energy and Security Partnership Act, which Congress passed in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion and which has been well received by US partners and allies in the region.”