Nick Larigakis, President of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), advocated for strong U.S. military aid to Greece and Cyprus in a written testimony that was submitted in the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

Mr. Larigakis emphasized Greece’s significant geostrategic importance to the United States in his written remarks. The testimony aimed to provide insights amid negotiations about the Biden Administration’s foreign aid proposal for FY 2025.

More specifically, AHI recommended a $1.8 million appropriation for Greece’s International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, in addition to advocating for robust Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Greece. This proposal allocates $25 million to Greece from the European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP) for fiscal years 2025 and 2026. This recommendation comes along an extra $6 million in FMF funding for FY 2025. AHI’s testimony also called for $500,000 in funding for the Republic of Cyprus’ IMET program.

The European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP), supported by the U.S. State Department, aims to promote international U.S. defense sales and encourage European partners and NATO Allies to modernize their militaries. It seeks to build NATO interoperable forces while reducing Russian influence over defense procurements of allies and partners.

Mr. Larigakis testimony also draw attention to Turkey’s erratic behavior, claiming, thus, that in the best interests of the United States and in alignment with the proposed budget’s vision, AHI opposed:
• Any proposed foreign aid and assistance to Turkey from the United States until Turkey ceases its provocations and aggression toward Cyprus, and demonstrates tangible steps to resolve its outstanding issues with Greece as outlined in the December 7, 2023, “declaration on friendly relations and good neighborliness.”
• Any proposed reduction in aid levels for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is chaired by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), with U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) serving as the Subcommittee’s ranking member.

“We appreciate Chairman Diaz-Balart, Ranking Member Lee, and Subcommittee members for considering our testimony as they develop the funding bill for fiscal year 2025,” Larigakis stated. “It is crucial to ensure that the perspectives of the Greek American community on American foreign aid to this increasingly vital region are heard, recorded, and taken into account during the appropriations process.”

AHI will also submit testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs later this month.