Any foreign policy must be approved by Parliament; opposition explains its stand

Any foreign policy must be approved by Parliament; opposition explains its stand

Written by Staff Writer

09 Aug, 2019 | 9:23 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The opposition reiterated today (August 9) that any foreign agreement, including the ACSA, SOFA, and Millennium Challenge Corporation agreements, should be approved in parliament.

UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out that the President clearly states that he does not agree to approve these agreements. He said even after this, the government is adamant to proceed. However, Non-Cabinet Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe noted that the opposition is creating false pictures as they will not agree to anything blindly.

However, MP Gunawardena noted that as he is no part of the cabinet, the statements you make saying you will not agree is not valid. He suggested the prime minister must make this statement in parliament.

Speaking in parliament MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara noted that the agreement that was signed in 2007 was presented in parliament, however, he questioned if this government presented the agreement signed in 2017 to the parliament? He noted that this cannot be enforced based only on the 2007 agreement and an additional agreement is required for it to be enacted.

MP Nanayakkara noted that additional agreement was not signed and thereby it was not enacted. However, he said the 2017 agreement deals with the enactment of the agreement, there is no need for an additional agreement. The Parliamentarian added that they will have to surrender their state powers to the powers of a foreign state, it can be cited as a betrayal for 30 silver coins. He added that this is the greed they have for US$ 480 million.

Responding to this statement Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella noted that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the first person to sign this ACSA agreement and if signing the ACSA agreement is a betrayal of the country then Gotabaya Rajapaksa has betrayed this country. He noted that they only extended the agreement that he signed and it’s not something new.

He noted that it was Chandrika Kumaranatunge who in 1995 first exchanged documents on the SOFA agreement. He pointed out that they have signed this agreement after obtaining the approval of the Attorney General and the agreements do not include anything that is detrimental to the country. The Minister said their (UPFA) presidential candidate left them, went to America during the height of the war and got US citizenship. He added that he obtained all the possible concessions from the US government.

UPFA MP Tharaka Balasuriya noted reminded the leader of the house that Gandhi and Nelson Mandela pursued their education in these imperialist countries. Meanwhile, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickremerathne noted that even if the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement is signed it cannot be enforced without the approval of parliament, freehold of land is only enjoyed by 20% of people in this country. He said they have to eventually increase this to 30% and then 40%.

UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe noted that when the land act was presented to parliament in 2003 they challenged the legality of this act before the supreme court and the supreme court gave a decision that the act was not presented legally. He noted that the supreme court determined again this time that the act has been presented in violation of the procedures. Therefore he questioned; “What is your opinion on acts of parliament being presented illegally?”

State Minister Eran Wickremeratne stresses that they have to find a procedure to increase the ownership of lands from 20% to 30% and then to 40%. He noted that there are groups that must be protected, but they must provide the opportunity to other groups as well.

Speaking in Parliament Bimal Ratnayake noted;

“These are not agreements. These are similar to orders from America. They were not discussed amongst us. The agreement is sent to Sri Lanka and the signed agreement is sent back to America immediately, that’s how Sri Lanka signed the SOFA agreement. At no point of time during these past 70 years has the American military provided security to Sri Lanka. We were at war for 30 years. The US Military has never helped Sri Lanka at a decisive moment during the war. It was the betrayal in 2007 that the Ranil Maithri government has extended for all eternity. The 2007 agreement contains 8 pages; the new agreement has more pages, so honorable chairman the difference between a patriot and a traitor is being measured by the weight of the pages between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa. So we would like to tell the people of this country that both the Wickremasinghe regime and the Rajapaksa regime have been betraying this country through their past. This is the evidence of their betrayal.”

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