July 2, 2019 – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate included a provision to lift the decades-old arms restrictions against the Republic of Cyprus as part of the final FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved today. The lifting of these restrictions is an important part of a broader initiative to reshape the United States’ strategy in the eastern Mediterranean region being spearheaded by Menendez.
“Today, the Senate has shown our partners in Cyprus and around the world that the United States is committed to meeting the eastern Mediterranean’s challenges and opportunities,” said Senator Menendez. “With Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, it is in our national security and economic interest to lift this outdated decades-long arms restrictions that are no longer helping U.S. security objectives. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to ensure we usher a new era for an eastern Mediterranean architecture rooted in shared security and prosperity.”
In April, Menendez traveled through the region promoting his vision to allow the U.S. to better support the trilateral partnership of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel through energy and defense cooperation initiatives. Earlier this week, and in furtherance of that goal, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Menendez’s Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019.