Govt. urged to explain stance on MCC agreement

Govt. urged to explain stance on MCC agreement

Govt. urged to explain stance on MCC agreement

Written by Staff Writer

16 Jun, 2020 | 10:18 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Opposition members have urged the government to explain its stance on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement.

This was after US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz had said that the future course of action on the agreement of the U.S. Government foreign aid agency would be decided after the parliamentary election.

The US Ambassador had said that the US was waiting until the transition of the government ends completely with the parliamentary election on August 5, according to a newspaper report.

“The MCC agreement is a tool for the US to further its regional interests,” Wasantha Samarasinghe, a Candidate for the National Peoples’ Power said.

He pointed out that the ruling faction during last year’s presidential election had vowed to discard the agreement.

Meanwhile, Nancy Van Horn, the spokesperson for the US embassy, had told another newspaper that there is no definite date by which the agreement needs to be signed.

However, the Sri Lanka Resident Country Director for MCC, Jenner Edelman, last year had said that Sri Lanka is running out of time to sign the agreement.

Sri Lanka has already signed the ACSA agreement which was expanded during the previous government.

Against such a backdrop, the SOFA agreement has also become a focal point of discussion, as a proposal has been put forward to sign the agreement.

Both these agreements concern the activities of the military.

Although, it is only the ACSA agreement which has been signed, several problematic activities had been reported in the past.

A cargo flight belonging to Western Global Airlines that offers services to the US Department of Defence, had arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport, in September last year.

Goods had been transported on these cargo flights on various occasions after that as well.

Some aircraft belonging to Western Global Airlines which had arrived in the country, had departed from US Army Camps.

These flights had also engaged in an operation to transfer goods to the USS John C Stennis, in the Indian Ocean, by travelling through the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Suspicions arose after a US diplomat had entered the country after refusing a PCR test for COVID-19 recently.

Government factions later identified the official who held a diplomatic passport, as a member of the Indo-Pacific Marine Corp.

It is against such a backdrop that the MCC has resurfaced as a talking point in the country.

The Lalithasiri Gunaruwan committee appointed by the President to study the agreement is currently preparing its final report.

Latest News