DELPHI FORUM: Menendez says 3+1 alliance in East Mediterranean "must be something greater than energy"

US Senator Bob Menendez

US Senator Robert (Bob) Menendez told Delphi Economic Forum in a videotaped message on Thursday that the trilateral collaboration on energy of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, plus the United States (known as 3+1) should expand its scope collaborate in more sectors as well.

The 3+1 "must be something greater than energy" that will bring its members closer to military partners and allies, in order to avert future attacks in the East Mediterranean, he said.

The chairman of the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee mentioned the leaders of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as being "dangerous leaders" prepared "to try and use energy as a weapon."

The best defense against such an eventuality, Menendez said, is strong alliances with partners sharing the same ideas who are prepared to defend their democratic values - like Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and the United States.

In that framework, he noted, some changes are beginning to be implemented, including the lifting restrictions for weapons sales to Cyprus and Greece's preparation to become the next recipient of F-35 jets.

The 3+1 collaboration will serve as a strong voice conveying joint messages in terms of territorial integrity, particularly in maritime economic zones, he said.

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