“Sri Lanka is running out of time to agree on MCC compact” : MCC Country Director

“Sri Lanka is running out of time to agree on MCC compact” : MCC Country Director

“Sri Lanka is running out of time to agree on MCC compact” : MCC Country Director

Written by Staff Writer

29 Sep, 2019 | 9:28 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States’ House of Representatives, has announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, consenting to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election-year clash between Congress and the president. It is additionally reported that Trump ordered his staff to withhold nearly US$ 400 million in aid to Ukraine, days before the call took place. Prompting speculation that he was holding the money as leverage for information on former US Vice President Joe Biden.

On July 25th, US President Donald Trump called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. During the course of the call, he reportedly asked the Ukrainian leader eight times to investigate former US Vice-President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter. Biden is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination and take on Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump confirmed he discussed the Bidens with Zelenskiy, and accused the pair – without offering any evidence – of corruption.

A US intelligence community whistleblower filed a report after becoming alarmed at Trump’s behaviour. The White House refused to release the substance of the whistleblower complaint, setting up a confrontation with Congress over the release of information. Complaints of this nature are usually reported to Congress within seven days. Trump’s personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has admitted asking the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens. It is illegal for a political campaign to accept a “thing of value” from a foreign government. Democrats say an investigation into a political opponent – for which Trump appears to have been pushing – would amount to a thing of value.

Meanwhile here at home, The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Country Director, Jenner Edelman has reportedly said, that in their 15-year history, they had never faced a situation where an eligible partner country that had requested a grant (in 2015) but had not approved it as yet. In an interview to Ceylon Today, Ms Edelman says that Sri Lanka was running out of time. Edelman pointed out that the Government submitted a proposal and then the MCC’s Board had approved the grant, but the partner country hasn’t approved and signed the grant it requested. She says there are other eligible countries keenly interested in receiving limited grant funding from MCC.

These were views expressed by Jenner Edelman in Colombo recently. On September 20th, 2019, the Country Director of MCC, Jenner Edelman said that the US does have an interest in Sri Lanka because America is their biggest trading partner. She further said that they only need to protect their supply chains and that they want to look for commercial investment opportunities for US companies which is quite normal in the case of a bilateral agreement.

AT A TIME WHEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE US IS FACING A CREDIBLE POSSIBILITY OF IMPEACHMENT, IT IS ALSO AN OPPORTUNE MOMENT TO SEEK CLARITY AS TO THE REAL INTENT BEHIND THE GRANT OF $480M, ESPECIALLY WHEN SRI LANKA HAS USUALLY RECEIVED AMERICAN HELP AMOUNTING TO AN AVERAGE OF LESS THAN $40M ANNUALLY, WHILST THE MCC GRANT IS HIGHER BY MORE THAN 12 TIMES THE USUAL.

Any nation looking to work with Sri Lanka, to protect its own interests should understand that the people of the country are not it’s politicians and cannot be bullied, coerced and/or threatened into signing agreements that would ultimately be detrimental to our nation.

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