June 9, 2021 — Washington, D.C.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) welcomed today’s introduction of the “U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021” by Senators Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and both organizations declared it a legislative priority.

Building off the Menendez/Rubio 2019 “Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act” — a AJC/HALC legislative priority in the 116th Congress — the bipartisan legislation introduced today bolsters support for Greek military modernization, authorizes new transfers of American military equipment, and enhances the “3+1” multilateral engagement between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States.

AJC CEO David Harris welcomed today’s introduction: “The Eastern Mediterranean is a strategically and economically vital region for the U.S. and, of course, for Israel. The trilateral relationship among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel has created a strong anchor to help stabilize an otherwise turbulent region. The U.S.-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021 will build on the progress of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act to further strengthen Greece’s capacity and its ties with the U.S., Israel and other allies.”

The Act deepens a strong U.S.-Greece defense relationship and makes it more central to Washington’s Eastern Mediterranean strategy. The Act’s provisions will:

· Increase direct aid and encourage direct loans to Greece for the procurement of defense articles and military training.

· Authorizes the transfer of new equipment and excess defense articles to the Greek military.

· Establishes an interparliamentary group among Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States.

· Proceed with full implementation of Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act.

“Over his entire career, Senator Menendez has envisioned an Eastern Mediterranean strategy for the U.S. that is based on partnerships with like-minded countries,” said Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of HALC. “In the East-Med Act, Senators Menendez and Rubio helped bring that vision closer to reality. This new Act will result in a defense partnership between the U.S. and Greece — who have been on the same side of every major conflict in the last two centuries — that is able to safeguard stability and Western interests in the region. That this is happening during Greece’s bicentennial makes it even more special.”

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