Written by Staff Writer
10 Dec, 2019 | 11:03 pm
COLOMBO(News 1st) – The US Embassy in Sri Lanka says there is no specific date or deadline for the MCC grant agreement to be signed.
In response to an email from News 1st, Benjamin J Baughman, the Assistant Information Officer of the US Embassy in Colombo said the matter of the MCC is in the hands of the Government of Sri Lanka.
It was during the term of the former Government, a US$ 480 Million MCC grant was proposed for improvement of the Land Administration process and a special Transport Service Modernization program.
During the run-up to the Presidential Election, the MCC was a hot topic and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his election campaign, in a letter to Venerable Ududumbara Kassapa Thera, who staged a fast, said all agreements signed by the then government will be reconsidered.
Today Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena confirmed the agreement is being reviewed. He added that not only the MCC agreement but other agreements are also being reconsidered.
The US Embassy says MCC understands the Government needs time to review the draft agreement and MCC is ready to discuss the agreement with the Government and address any questions once they’ve had the opportunity to do so.
However, several members of the present government maintained strong opposition regarding the MCC agreement.
On the 25th of November, Minister Wimal Weerewansa stated that their government does not hope to sign the Millenium Challenge Corporation under any circumstance.
In addition, UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila stated on the 2nd of November:
“Americans know that they can’t play games with Gotabaya, so the ministers got together and approved the MCC agreement last Tuesday which allows the US to rob 12% of Sri Lankan lands. What we have to tell the US is that this government is nothing but a corpse. Only 14 days are left. Stop discussing matters with a corpse and start discussing with us, the future government.”
But, following the elections, his stance seems to have been toned down.
UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila stated on December 7th that 70% of the agreement is allocated for the Transportation Project and the remaining 30% is allocated for the Land Reforms.
He added that therefore, they don’t object to the Transportation Project. “We are not hypocrites or stupid to oppose everything that comes from the US” he concluded.
Pubudu Jayagoda, Propaganda Secretary of the Front Line Socialist Party noted that the government should refrain from cheap tricks and requested the MCC not to be signed as no one has seen it. He requested to withdraw from ACSA as well.
Azath Salley, Leader of the National Unity Alliance:
“Udaya Gammanpila who said he will dump the MCC compact in the dustbin now says, all actions of the USA are not detrimental. He now says, all agreements cannot be dumped into the garbage, and they must be utilized. This is how it all starts. Its been three weeks so far. After this government came into power, they toppled everything.”
UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam noted that in a few days MCC would be declared 100% beneficial. He questioned whether the government will sign the compact or not. He also questioned whether they would intend to offend ties with other countries within the US? or will they go forward while strengthening these relationships?
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