SOFA was signed in 1996 : Prime Minister

SOFA was signed in 1996 : Prime Minister

SOFA was signed in 1996 : Prime Minister

Written by Staff Writer

10 Jul, 2019 | 5:22 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was questioned on the US agreements in parliament today by the leader of JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka.

JVP MP Anura Kumara demanded the contents of the SOFA which was proposed in 2018 August to be exposed to the parliament. He further imposed a series of questions regarding the agreement.

  1. Have diplomatic privileges been granted to the US security personnel, US civilians and US contractors who arrive in Sri Lanka, according to the Vienna convention?
  2. Will permission be granted to US civilians and contractors to enter and exit Sri Lanka using a US identity card?
  3. Has permission been granted to approve US Driving license in Sri Lanka?
  4. Has permission been granted for US military personnel to carry weapons in Sri Lanka?
  5. Has the Sri Lankan government agreed to sign this agreement and the government’s stance on this?

The Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe raised his voice to answer these questions and noted that the SOFA is not more than an agreement which was already signed in 1996. He added that it was signed between the US Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Finance.

He added that SOFA stands for Status of Forces Agreement and accordingly US troops and civil servants already enjoy diplomatic privileges.

He added that the ACSA, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement was signed between the US government and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government in 2007. He went on to note that ACSA came to an end on the 5th of March 2017 and it was renewed by the Ministry of Defence on the 4th of August 2017.

The prime minister added that the opposition is attempting to create an unnecessary ruckus regarding the entire agreement process and they have NOT any new agreements. He added that discussions are underway.

He shared that he would present both ACSA and SOFA to the parliament today (July 10).

 

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