Religious leaders oppose agreements involving foreign military forces

Religious leaders oppose agreements involving foreign military forces

Written by Staff Writer

31 May, 2019 | 8:40 pm

Colombo (News 1st) – There is a great deal of concern in the country regarding the Acquisition and Cross-Service Agreement (ACSA) as well as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Sri Lanka and the United States. While ACSA has already been inked and renewed, both the Government and US officials have come forward to state that SOFA is still under discussion.

If signed SOFA, according to JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake would pave the way for US military personnel, US military contractors and US military suppliers being granted the same perks and privileges granted to technical and administrative officers of the US Embassy. Rathnayake adds that The agreement also allows the above-mentioned personnel to enter the country with only a US Government Issued ID card (without a passport).

In such a backdrop, a joint statement was issued by the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters and the Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith expressing their strong opposition against any agreement which would pave the way for any foreign military force to enter the country or create a base in Sri Lanka.

The statement goes on to note it is the responsibility of the Government to enforce a common law for the country whilst banning all extremist organizations in order to bring about sustainable peace rather than entering into such agreements which would further create instability in the country.

The Joint Statement strongly calls for public opinion to be sought if agreements that affect the independent nature of the country are reached upon with foreign nations, institutions or organizations.

According to Ven. Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Thero, Anunayake of the Asgiri Chapter, the actions of the current administration has put the sovereignty of the country as well as its status as a non-alighned nation, in jeopardy. He adds that the current administration has entered into numerous agreements with foreign countries in a controversial manner.

The thero also notes that one of the reasons for the terror attack on the 21st of April was the failure of the leaders of the country to uphold national security.


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