US Senator Robert (Bob) Menendez (D-NJ), who is visiting Greece, met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on Thursday.
Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a consistent supporter of Greek positions and with his fellow senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) initiated the East Med Act, which promotes US relations with reliable partners in the region including Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
Greek diplomatic sources told AMNA that the visit of Senator Robert Menendez marks the strategic nature of Greek-American relations, the deepening of Greek-US defense cooperation and the role of Greece as a pillar of stability and peace in the wider region, through the new architecture of alliances in which our country participates.
Menendez, who is expected to deliver a speech at the Acropolis Museum later on Thursday, has recently called on the U.S. Administration to provide additional assistance to Greece in its efforts to deal with the devastating fires which were raging across the country in August.
“Greece is a close and valued NATO ally. I urge the Administration to take all measures necessary to support the people of Greece in their time of need,” Chairman Menendez said.
Groundbreaking Act to boost relations with Greece, Cyprus
The bipartisan Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, introduced by Menendez and Rubio and signed into law on December 20, 2020, is a comprehensive bill that recognizes the vital importance of Greece and Cyprus in the region.
- Promotes the continued development of a new energy triangle in the Eastern Mediterranean by encouraging natural gas exploration (especially by the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone)
- Lifts the outdated arms embargo on Cyprus, allowing it to purchase U.S. made military equipment
- Provides millions for the International Military Educational Training program and Foreign Military Assistance to both Greece and Cyprus
- Restricts the sale of F-35s to Turkey until Turkey becomes a more reliable ally and requires a joint resolution of Congress before F35s can be physically transferred to Turkey
- Requires a report from the Departments of State, Defense and Energy on Turkish violations in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. Specifically, the report will examine Turkey’s encroachment on Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone and violations of Greek airspace.
Menendez blasts Turkey on Cyprus
Menendez has also recently blasted Turkey on human rights and its provocative stance in Cyprus. He strongly criticized President Erdogan, saying that his “goal is to advance a separate state on the island of Cyprus.”
Commenting on Turkey’s disregard for international law by opening of the seaside town of Varosha, he said that “this violation of international law is unacceptable.”