Written by Staff Writer
20 Dec, 2019 | 10:01 pm
Colombo (News 1st): President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with journalists attached to foreign media outlets yesterday (December 19). Several key highlights from last evening’s meeting have been reported in the international media.
The Hindu quoting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, reported today that Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority will develop the southern airport in Mattala, near the strategically located Hambantota port, ruling out earlier proposals of a joint venture with India.
The news site goes on to say, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had also invited Indian companies, especially those in the IT sector, to invest in Sri Lanka.
The Hindu adds, New Delhi — with known strategic interests in the airport adjoining the Chinese-run Hambantota port — has in the past discussed a possible joint development plan with Colombo, to upgrade the loss-making facility in Mattala built by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the project did not take off despite multiple rounds of negotiations.
It added, President Rajapaksa said his government is focussing on rationalizing the taxation system in order to improve the economy and restructuring the security apparatus to ensure enhanced national security.
Xinhua net news reported that the Sri Lankan government will not renegotiate the Hambantota Port agreement with China and will look to ensure that the security of the port lied with the Sri Lankan side.
The news agency further reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would not renegotiate the commercial agreement of the project as that had already been signed, and he was studying to see if the entire security of the port was under Sri Lanka’s control.
It reports that the President had further said, he would not renegotiate the 99-year lease agreement of the port, as this was purely commercial and he did not want to convey a message to investors that commercial agreements would change every time a new government was elected to power.
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