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Monday, January 24, 2022

BILIRAKIS STATEMENT ON THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SECURITY AND ENERGY PARTNERSHIP ACT

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WASHINGTON – Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance (CHIA) caucus, issued the following statement applauding the House of Representative’s approval of a spending package that includes the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act.

I am proud to have led efforts since the establishment of the CHIA caucus to safeguard US interests and values in the Eastern Mediterranean by deepening relations with reliable Western allies.  In an increasingly unstable region, and with Turkey making a decisive turn away from the West, the Greece-Cyprus-Israel partnership with the US is especially timely.  America’s energy diplomacy, security and counterterrorism strategies, and efforts against Russia, Iranian, and Turkish malign influences will all be strengthened by such cooperation. This is why I made the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act such a priority.  This is a comprehensive piece of legislation with strong bi-partisan and bicameral support.  I thank my original co-sponsors and all Members of Congress who made this final passage a reality.  I look forward to President Trump signing the Act this week.  We are safeguarding American interests, values, and allies in the region,” said Bilirakis.

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019: 

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Strengthens US security partnerships by:

  • increasing International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Greece and including the Republic of Cyprus in the program for the first time;
  • lifting the prohibition on US arms sales to the Republic of Cyprus; and
  • authorizing Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Greece.

Advances US energy diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean by: 

  • authorizing the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation between the U.S., Israel, Greece, and Cyprus;
  • requiring 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.

Keeps a check on malign influences in the region by: 

  • requiring the Administration to submit to Congress reports on Turkey’s violations of Greece’s airspace and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone; and
  • requiring the Administration to submit to Congress a report on the malign activities of Russia in the region.

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