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December 20, 2019 1:02 pm

Eastern Mediterranean Bill Passed by US Congress Underlines Continued Strategic Partnership with Israel

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaks, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on, at the inauguration event of the newly-arrived foundation platform of Leviathan natural gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, Jan. 31, 2019. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem / Pool via Reuters.

New legislation approved by the US Congress on Thursday will further cement Israel’s role as a strategic partner in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on both the economic and security fronts.

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 — sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) — authorizes new security assistance for Cyprus and Greece and lifts the US arms embargo on Cyprus. It also authorizes the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation among the US, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.

“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,” Menendez said in a statement on Friday.

Rubio commented that 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 legislation will also require the Trump 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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