Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez said on Wednesday he had approved the deal on the delivery of F-35s to Greece, calling it a country with common values
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th February, 2023) Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez said on Wednesday he had approved the deal on the delivery of F-35s to Greece, calling it a country with common values.
"I am pleased that two days ago I signed off for the F35-s to the Hellenic Republic and I did so not because I am simply a fan of the Greek people; I did so because this is a country that shares our values, that is aligned with us to things that are important in the world; democracy, human rights, rule of law, a country that is not belligerent to its neighbors," Menendez said at the Delphi Economic Forum in Washington.
The senator added that if a country shared strategic interests with the US, then he, as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had no grounds to oppose such arms sales.
The decision must be also approved by Jim Risch, Republican Vice Chairman of the Committee, and the relevant committee of the House of Representatives. After the final approval is obtained, the US government will formally notify Congress of the sale of F-35s to Greece, which will launch the procedure for the ratification of the defense deal, the Greek broadcaster ERT reported.
In late 2022, Greece sent an official request to the United States for the purchase of a squadron of fifth-generation F-35 fighters. Athens intends to purchase 20 fighters at first, and, then another 20. On January 27, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said that the US would give its response to the request for F-35s in two-three months.
Meanwhile, Greece is trying to prevent the sale of American F-16 Block 70 fighter jets to Turkey. Because of that, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to communicate with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in May 2022, accusing him of violating reached agreements.
Turkey plans to buy 40 F-16 fighter jets from the United States and upgrade 80 that are already in service. Senator Menendez, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has the power to veto the sale of US arms to Ankara.