U.S. wants military cooperation pact with Sri Lanka to tackle red tape: TV
The United States wants a special forces cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka to sidestep bureaucracy and has no intention of setting up a military base in the country, the American ambassador to the island nation said in a television interview.
The comments represent the latest attempt by ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz to assuage concerns over U.S. involvement in the Indian Ocean island after plans to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA) by the two countries was heavily criticized by local media and some political analysts who see it as a threat to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
Also called the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), it will establish the framework for U.S. military personnel visiting Sri Lanka at the invitation of the government and is still being negotiated by both nations, Teplitz said.
“The visiting forces agreement is an update to an existing agreement and it is designed to address a number of red tape issues,” Teplitz told state-run TV channel Rupavahini in an interview late on Saturday.
Giving the example of the 2017 floods in Sri Lanka, Teplitz said the government had sought help from the United States and it brought in relief supplies but the aeroplanes transporting them required clearance from the government.
The agreement would allow the United States to speed up these procedures, she said, so that when there is an emergency “we don’t spend time to cut through the red tape.”
Sri Lanka sits near one of the world’s busiest shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and over the last several years China has become a major investor, building ports and highways.
India, which is just next door, is starting to push back against China’s growing influence and so are the United States and Japan, experts say.
Teplitz had earlier this week dismissed the idea that the military pact had anything to do with China.
“China has nothing to do with the VFA; this is all about the long-standing bilateral partnership with Sri Lanka,” she said during a live Facebook chat on Wednesday.
She said the U.S. and Sri Lanka currently renegotiate certain administrative issues around entry and exit of military personnel before every single training or ship visit which takes up a lot of time.
The agreement lays down rules for the benefit of both countries – “meaning no base, no permanent presence of U.S. troops”, said Teplitz, adding that Sri Lanka retains the right to approve or deny all entry of people, vessels and aircraft.
The debate on the need to have such an agreement has taken center stage especially after the Easter Sunday attacks and is driving a deeper wedge between the country’s President Sirisena Maithripala and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who are already at loggerheads.
Sirisena said earlier in July he would not sign any military cooperation deals that are “unsuitable for the country”.
Days later Wickremesinghe told the parliament that negotiations are still on with the United States to agree on a pact but he too would not agree to anything that challenges Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
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please stay away from this paradise island as where ever you set foot in its disaster and as you creating problems please take care of your problems at your own country, as you and your government do not like us visiting your country and you call us 3rd world, we do not like you here so for the sake of all mighty god please be in your country, our military is far better trained and are the best in protecting this country and we do not need the CIA or your armed forces here thank you
Please leave us alone. Please let us live. We do not need any negotiations and agreements (or pacts). Except for a few others are uneducated duds in the parliament. They do not have any capacity to be involved in touch negotiations that affect Sri Lanka.
Trump would not be sending his troops to what he would call ” a shithole country” unless it benefited USA .
We do not care for ” America First” policies!
Let’s hope the PM puts SRI LANKA FIRST without bending to the whims of USA.
No good will come out of this.
They are pursuing this relentlessly now, as they see this time and our PM as their best opportunity.
Media- please keep reporting and keep public informed. Public awareness and protests may be our only chance of keeping USA away.
Please see comments above.
US President requests ethnic US Congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
The four congress women are:
U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – were born in the United States. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota came as a refugee from Somalia and is a naturalized citizen.
Like your president Trump, SL Citizens request you to go back to where you came from.
Please Alaina, you are the mouthpiece of your President Trump; please go back to where you came from.
Please go away; go back to where you came from.
Go back to your racist Boss in the White House.
We will buy you the plane ticket; please go Alaina to where you came from.