CYPRUS: US Congress mulls beefing up American presence in East Med

US Democrats and Republicans have introduced a bipartisan, bicameral Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 to highlight the growing regional partnership between Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.

Senator Bob Menendez from the Democrats, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio from the Republicans introduced the Senate companion.

The bill would expand U.S. involvement in regional energy pursuits, by creating a U.S.-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Centre, supporting the development of recently discovered natural gas fields, and participating in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

It would also improve defence cooperation with the regional states, including by authorizing security assistance to Greece and lifting an existing embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus.

The legislation also makes clear that the U.S. Congress will not turn a blind eye to Turkey’s regional aggression or pursuit of policies that threaten the interests of the United States and our partners.

“As a co-chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance, I’ve been proud to promote in Congress the growing partnership between these eastern Mediterranean countries,” said Congressman Ted Deutch.

“The trilateral relationship between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel has been expanding in recent years to cover new energy pursuits, economic opportunities, and security cooperation. With this legislation, the United States will deepen our support for this regional partnership which furthers our own geopolitical interests,” he added.

The Act will enable the U.S. to support this developing trilateral relationship through energy and defence cooperation and further its potential, said Congressman Gus Bilirakis.

AJC Director of Political Outreach Julie Rayman-Fishman said: Israel, Greece, and Cyprus are on the front line against Turkish anti-Western authoritarianism, Russian aggression, and terrorism spreading throughout and from the Middle East.

Cooperation modelled in the Eastern Mediterranean has the power to project stability and democratic values throughout the Middle East, expanding Israel’s strategic depth and strengthening its security. (source CNA)

Source: The Financial Mirror