The US Embassy in Colombo said today that the controversial Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the embassy and the Trincomalee Urban Council was confined to the establishing of a joint public information and activity centre known as an ‘American Corner’.
A spokesman for the embassy said :“The Trincomalee American Corner will provide similar services to the American Corner at the Kandy Library, opened in 2005 with the municipal council, and the American Corner in Jaffna, opened in 2011.”
The spokesman further said that the centre was to provide access to current information to the population in the region.
“The American Corner will provide access to current and reliable information about the United States via book collections, the internet and through a variety of events such as public readings, films, speaker programmes, workshops, meetings and exhibitions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Chief Minister Abdul Majeed said he had held discussions with both the Chairman of the Trincomalee Urban Council and the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michelle J. Sison.
Speaking to Daily Mirror Online, Mr. Majeed said he was made aware of the nature of the MoU and said during his discussion with the ambassador, she had made it clear that the entire agreement was to promote educational facilities in the district.
“I’ve informed the ministry of external affairs regarding the discussion. The Trincomalee UC chairman also informed me that this was only confined to promoting educational related activities in the region,” he said.
Earlier media reports said the Ministry of External Affairs had appointed a panel to look into the MoU, with the Secretary to the ministry stating that investigations will look into the activities of the two other American Centres in Jaffna and Kandy as well.
Sources also said that the MoU was to be discussed within the Trincomalee UC on June 18, after the Urban Council suspended its implementation. (Hafeel Farisz - DM Online)