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AHI Applauds Enactment of FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill; Greece’s IMET Program Boosted to $1 Million

WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds the enactment of the FY2018 Omnibus appropriations bill, which President Donald J. Trump signed into law, March 23, 2018.

            “The fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill will bolster relations between the United States and Greece, especially in defense cooperation,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said.

AHI worked with Congress to secure a much-needed boost for Greece’s International Military Education and Training Program, after the Administration submitted an FY2018 budget request of $150,000. AHI recommended an increase in the investment to Greece’s IMET program to House and Senate appropriators in written testimony AHI President Larigakis submitted in March and June 2017.  AHI worked with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; to secure an initial appropriation of $425,000 in the U.S. Senate’s FY2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, in September 2017.

Separately, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, visited with Greek and U.S. government officials in Washington and Athens, to gain firsthand knowledge about defense cooperation between NATO allies Greece and United States.

“As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Graham was instrumental in the final appropriation of $1 million for Greece’s IMET program,” Larigakis said. “We thank Congress, especially Senators Graham and Van Hollen, appropriators whose lead helped to secure this funding for Greece’s IMET program.  It will bolster the number of Hellenic officers who are able to receive training in the United States to the benefit of relations between longtime NATO allies, United States and Greece.”

Report Language Included on Greece’s F-16 Upgrade Request

Also, AHI welcomes report language that accompanies the legislation that also requires the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress recommending how Foreign Military Financing can be used to support Greece’s purchase of F-16 upgrades.

“As U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has described in recent interviews, Greece’s role as ‘a regional pillar of stability,’ and ‘a builder of bridges,’ especially in defense cooperation, has been evident,” Larigakis said. “The fiscal year 2018 spending bill sends a strong message that the United States appreciates its alliance with Greece.”