PM evades questions on agreement with USA posed by MP Vasudewa

PM evades questions on agreement with USA posed by MP Vasudewa

Written by Staff Writer

06 Feb, 2019 | 9:15 pm

Colombo (News1st): UPFA Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara questioned the Prime Minister in parliament today (Feb 6) regarding an agreement that was signed between Sri Lanka and the United States in 2018.

MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara questioned; “Does this agreement provide for the sovereignty of our constitution and the non-aligned international policies of Sri Lanka? Has this received the approval of the cabinet of ministers? Was the cabinet of ministers informed? Is this not a threat to Sri Lanka?”

Responding to the string of questions Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that based on the latest technology, the USA does not require to maintain large bases and the US navy consists of ships that can accommodate more aircraft than what Sri Lanka’s air force owns. He noted that not only the US Navy but the navy of any country can obtain temporary services from our ports and airports. The Premier noted that logistics is a part of this, however, they will not permit them to bring in weapons.

MP Nanayakkara questioned the Premier on what basis USA was allowed to bring in various items from their aircraft to Trincomalee and then load them to another one of their aircraft. Responding to this, the Prime Minister questioned as to where the MP found the particular document.

MP Vasudeva notes that he obtained this document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister then stated that during the previous regime, they entered into an ACSA agreement and anything can be done through this agreement. Therefore, he said it all started from that point onwards.

MP Nanayakkara stated that the Premier is avoiding the questions posed at him stating that the question was in fact regarding the agreement signed in 2018. The Premier repeatedly questioned the parliamentarian on how he came about with the document. The Parliamentarian noted that he simply found it. MP Nanayakkara questions if MPs are restricted from finding such information?

The Premier noted that the agreement could have been cancelled while the ministry was under his purview of the MR administration for two weeks. MP Vasudeva pointed out that two weeks is not sufficient to cancel all agreements.

MP Vasudeva then submitted the document in question to Parliament and revealed that it carried the header of the ministry of foreign affairs on the first page of the document.

The Prime Minister noted that he has gone through the document and it does not reveal that they have entered into an agreement with the USA. He added that the US has sent a letter to the ministry of foreign affairs in 2018, regarding the facilities that were granted under the Vienna agreement which was signed in 1995 and these have been provided before, however, they are yet to arrive at a decision.

MP Nanayakkara noted that the same document states that the new agreement supersedes previous agreements and that the last page has the date 2018. PM Wickremesinghe noted that they have requested to revise the 1995 agreement. With this, the Prime Minister stated that he will not answer any more questions.

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