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US Congress passes legislation boosting American support for Greece’s military modernization

Featured US Congress passes legislation boosting American support for Greece’s military modernization

Closely watched legislation foreseeing a significant boost in US support for Greece’s military modernization was passed by Congress on Wednesday, with the draft bill now needing only US President Joe Biden’s signature to become federal law.

The legislation, introduced by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was included in an amendment to the ratified National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of FY22. The vote was 89 in favor to 11 against.

The bilateral defense cooperation agreement essentially punctuates increasingly intimate Greek-US ties on sectors ranging from energy security, security and stability in the wider region and trilateral and multilateral relations, including with Israel, Cyprus and a handful of other Near East states.

Approved by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year, the bipartisan bill is also tailor-legislated to foster increased multilateral engagement between divided Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the United States.

In a statement, Menendez noted that “…The enactment of the US-Greece Defense and Inter-parliamentary Partnership Act of 2021 is a powerful demonstration not only of the Congress’s commitment to strengthening our bilateral defense relationship and enduring ties with our Hellenic partners, but also of our appreciation for Greece’s pivotal role in securing regional security and economic prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Among the highlights of the bill is a reference to approving the sale of F-35 warplanes from the United States to Greece.

The text states:

Encourages the use of European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP) assistance for 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
Expresses the sense of Congress that the President has the authority to expedite delivery of any future F-35 aircraft ordered by Greece
Establishes an inter-parliamentary 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