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US Senate Legislation Expands Energy, Defence Ties With Israel, Greece, Cyprus

© AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File / In this May 4, 2017, file photo, the U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington
In this May 4, 2017, file photo, the U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US would expand support for a trilateral partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, as the three nations develop large natural gas fields in the region under legislation introduced by US Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.

"The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defense cooperation initiatives – including by lifting the embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus", the release stated on Tuesday.

READ MORE: US Encourages Greek, Turkish Leaders to Create Bizonal Federation in Cyprus

The arms embargo was imposed in 1987 to ease tensions between Cyprus’ internationally recognized Greek government and a breakaway region supported by Turkey.

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The legislation also attempts to address a deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the United States, by imposing restrictions on a proposed sale of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara, and by providing military aid to Greece and Cyprus, the release said.

In addition, the measure would establish a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation between the United States, Israel, Greece and Cyprus, according to the release.

READ MORE: US Unhappy Over Cypriot President's Visit to Moscow — Cyprus's Minister

In April 2017, Greece, Cyprus and Israel agreed on the East Mediterranean pipeline project (EastMed) to carry natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Greece with further transition to Italy and other southeast European countries.

EastMed is expected to become one of the longest pipelines in the world with a length of some 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) and costing over $6 billion. It is set to be completed in 2025.

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