Congress Passes Menendez-Rubio Bill Reshaping U.S. Policy in Eastern Mediterranean

Congress Passes Menendez-Rubio Bill Reshaping U.S. Policy in Eastern Mediterranean

 

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committeeand Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued the following statements after the Congress last night approved their Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, which was included in a bipartisan legislative package to fund the government through September 2020. The legislation is a comprehensive recalibration of American diplomatic, military, and economic policy towards the Eastern Mediterranean and a strong and prosperous alliance between the United States, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus. 

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 authorizes new security assistance for Cyprus and Greece and lifts the U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus. It also authorizes the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation among the U.S., Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. 

“This legislation marks the dawn of a new day for the United States’ engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean. By including this legislation in the government funding package, the United States Congress has prioritized our significant national security interests in the region,” said Menendez. “Bolstered by strong and expanding relationships with Greece, Israel, and Cyprus, this commonsense legislation will significantly strengthen our joint efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security.”  

“I am proud to have co-authored a bill that enhances our engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean, a region that is strategically important to the U.S. and our allies,” said Rubio. “The inclusion of the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Partnership Act of 2019 in the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020 reaffirms our nation’s commitment to strengthening and expanding our energy and security cooperation with our key allies and partners in the region.” 

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019:

  • Lifts the prohibition on arms sales to the Republic of Cyprus;
  • Authorizes the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation between the U.S., Israel, Greece, and Cyprus;
  • Authorizes Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Greece;
  • Authorizes International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece and Cyprus.
  • Requires the Administration to submit to Congress a strategy on enhanced security and energy cooperation with countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as reports on malign activities by Russia and other countries in the region.

 

 

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