The governments ruled by Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Kumaratunga have signed, during the last 25 years, five agreements that betray the sovereignty of our country to the USA and China says the National Organizer of the JVP Comrade Bimal Ratnayaka.
Speaking at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP yesterday (6th) to express views about the agreement Sri Lanka government is preparing to sign with Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA Comrade Bimal Ratnayaka said Sajith Premadasa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa should make a public statements and say whether they would abolish such agreements if they come to power.
Speaking further, Comrade Bimal Ratnayaka said, “There is a public dialogue regarding the agreement Sri Lanka government is preparing to sign with Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA. The government talks about the benefits of the agreement while the Rajapaksa group is building a view against it.
Both the UNP and the Rajapaksa group are two similar groups. Their policies, the practice of their leaders and there are many examples in the country, and also people are aware of the similarity of their loyalty to the USA or China or India. Despite their attempts to conceal such examples using various media, people are aware how they go behind foreign powers before they come to power, how they get support from such foreign powers, how they get help to come to power and how they act according to the agendas of such powers.
One of the two groups that have wriggled into the pockets of foreign powers is attempting to protect the agreement while the other is aiming a suicide bomb attack on it. As such, we thought of making the people aware of this move. After the year 2000 Sri Lanka has signed many agreements. As the NPP, we do not oppose every agreement signed by the country with various institutions and countries. However, we believe that such agreements should be signed with a good understanding and only if they are beneficial to the country. The details of the agreement should be revealed to the people. Next, there should be discussions with relevant state institutions and the people should be allowed to have a dialogue regarding the matter. Then only the decision to sign such an agreement should be taken.
The main agreement that betrayed our country in the recent past is the agreement signed by Ms Chndrika Kumaratunga in 1995. Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was a member of the cabinet of Ms Kumaratunga’s government, raised his hand of the agreement and even after becoming the President, he did not abolish it. This status of forces agreement (SOFA) signed on 16th May 1995 was a very harmful agreement for the sovereignty and security of our country. According to the agreement US troops could enter Sri Lanka without passports, their vehicles were free from any inspection, and they had the freedom to act freely in the country. This agreement is still in force. We would like to know from the UNP if they are against the agreement why didn’t they abolish it? Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled the country for 10 years. Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the defence secretary during those 10 years. Why didn’t they abolish this military agreement while they were in power?
The US Embassy on 24th September 2018 has asked the government in writing to renew this agreement. They have also asked free entrance and exit not only for US troops but also those contractors who are involved in supplying services to these troops. Also, any crimes committed by US personnel should be tried not according to the law of this country but according to the US law. The US Embassy request includes a series of proposals in 15 chapters. The UNP government has not rejected this series of proposals. President Maithripala Sirisena too has not rejected it. Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too has not rejected it nor has Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA I) was signed on 5th March 2007 by Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The other signatory was then US Ambassador Robert O. Blake. What is interesting is that this is the first agreement signed in South Asia to give military support to US troops. This was signed when Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President. Gotabhaya who signed the agreement was a US citizen at the time. It was signed in secret without even informing the cabinet. Rajapaksas have never spoken against this agreement.
We challenge the Rajapaksa brothers to say that the agreement was wrong and if they came to power, they would abolish it. They have to say why it was signed without making the cabinet aware of it. Gotabhaya’s henchmen told recently on stage that the agreement signed by Gotabhaya has only 20 pages. We, of the JVP, carried out an agitation in Parliament demanding a copy of the agreement. They, through Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake, made available after 4 months a copy of a portion of the agreement without giving us the complete agreement.
Next, after 10 years ACSA 2 was signed on 4th August 2017 with the approval of both Maithri and Ranil. All the details included in eh agreement signed by Gotanhaya were included in this agreement as well. The only difference is that there is no time limit. It would go on until infinity. Rajapaksas have not made any opposition to this agreement.
In 2019 the government of Sri Lanka signed two defence agreements with China. According to the agreements China becomes the supplier of infrastructure facilities for Sri Lanka’s military communication affairs. What do Gotabhaya and Mahinda say about these agreements that betray the country? This government also has presented a cabinet paper and introduced an agreement to lease out the East terminal of Colombo Harbour. What did Rajapaksas do against such a move? We have presented the true practice of Ranil, Mahinda, Sajith and Gotabhaya regarding these agreements.
Comrade Tilvin Silva, the General Secretary of the JVP, held a press conference and made a detailed explanation regarding the agreement the government intends signing with Millennium Challenge Corporation. The USA and our government say the agreement benefits our country. However, our issue is why hasn’t the government allowed the country to discuss the agreement? Even the Parliament is not aware of what is in store. This is to be signed two weeks before the election. This is a serious matter. The people should know the truth about the agreement. There should be transparency when signing an agreement.
Ranil is the most trusted politician for the USA in this region. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Finance, has also become very loyal to the USA. When he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he backed sanctions to Cuba by the USA. He shows a strong loyalty to the USA in the Palestine issue. As such, agreements such people intend signing cannot be trusted.
Now, when there is only a week for the Presidential election, a bogyman is being created stated there would be a disaster if Gotabhaya wins. People defeated them in 2015. However, the likes of Ranil, Maithri and Sajith protected them. Both these groups play a double game regarding the agreement. We do not create bogeymen. We function on facts. The NPP is a conscious political movement.”