The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously adopted on Tuesday afternoon the text of the bipartisan bill on US-Greece defense cooperation, introduced by the committee's Democratic chairman, Robert Menendez, and the Republican, Marco Rubio's, in all. In order for a law to become law, a similar procedure must be followed by the House of Representatives and then signed by President Biden.
The bill entitled “Greek-American Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Law” strengthens support for the modernization of the Greek armed forces, allowing new transfers of US military equipment and promoting increased multilateral engagement between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States.
In the field of support for the modernization of the Greek armed forces:
Authorizes the European Incentive and Recapitulation Program (ERIP) for Greece to support the disengagement of Greece from military equipment produced by Russia.
It authorizes an annual amount of $ 1.8 million per year at the International Military Education and Training (IMET) in Greece for FY2022 – 2026.
Expresses the Sense of the Congress that the USA should provide direct loans to Greece for the supply of defense systems, defense services and design and construction services in accordance with the further development of the Greek military power.
In the field of transportation of American military equipment to Greece:
Authorizes the rapid delivery of any F-35 aircraft ordered by Greece in the future.
Requires the Secretary of Defense, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to report to Congress on Greece's defense needs and how the United States will seek to address such needs through the transfer of surplus defense equipment to Greece.
In the field of parliamentary engagement under the 3 + 1 scheme:
Authorizes the formation of an interparliamentary group between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States, which will serve as the legislative component of the 3 + 1 process that began between the governments in March 2019
In a written statement following the unanimous vote in favor of the bill by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said: “The vote in favor of the bill is a recognition of the strong bilateral relationship, strengthens the support of modern strengthens the multilateral commitment between Cyprus, Israel, Greece and the United States “.
“As this important cross-party bill goes to the Senate for full consideration, we must remain committed to ensuring that our country improves its defense cooperation with Greece,” said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, thanking his colleagues. who voted to send the bill to the Senate to support one of the US's most important partners in the Eastern Mediterranean and a notable NATO ally.
Note that the two senators were the rapporteurs of the law on partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Urging members of the Senate to vote in favor of the bill, the executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Eddie Zemenidis, and the political affairs director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Julie Rayman, said in a joint statement that deepens the US-Greece alliance and will make Greece an even more credible partner, by promoting Greek military modernization, approving new transfers of US military equipment to Greece and investing in the 3 + 1 partnership between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the US, which redefines the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Greece is a NATO ally and a key partner in tackling the growing security challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. US support for Greece's efforts to modernize its armed forces will help ensure that the Eastern Mediterranean remains secure and reaffirm our commitment to the region at a time when malicious actors – such as Russia and China – are working. to undermine regional security and stability, “the HALC and AJC said in a statement.