SL to sign defence-related pact with US: Dayasiri

19 January 2019 07:34 am - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A defense-related pact to be signed shortly between Sri Lanka and the United States will seriously impact on the national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka, SLFP general secretary and MP, Dayasiri Jayasekera said yesterday.

He said the island nation would be turned into a defense enclave of the US like Okinawa or Diego Garcia.

"The agreement will provide facilities to the US to set up a service centre in an area of 36,000 acres in Trincomalee, the capital of Eastern Sri Lanka where one of the most strategically important natural ports of the world are situated," the MP said.

He said the service centre for US officials and civilians expected to serve at the facility would not be governed by the Sri Lankan Constitution, criminal or civil law or monitored or supervised by Sri Lanka’s law enforcement authorities.

"In terms of the proposed agreement prepared after a several rounds of talks between the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US mission in Colombo, it has been proposed that US personnel be accorded the privileges, exemptions and immunity equivalent to those accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic missions under the Vienna Convention. The US personnel may enter and exit Sri Lanka with U.S. identification and with collective movement or individual travel orders; that Sri Lanka shall accept as valid all professional licenses issued by the United States, its political subdivisions, or States thereof to US. This means they would not be subjected to be screened or checked by law enforcement officers of Sri Lana, even by a traffic cop,” the MP said.

"The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the particular importance of disciplinary control by US Armed Forces authorities over U.S. personnel and, therefore, authorizes the Government of the United States to exercise criminal jurisdiction over U.S. personnel while in Sri Lanka. Which means they will not come under the law of the land.The Embassy proposes that vessels and vehicles operated by or, at the time, exclusively for the US Department of Defense may enter, exit, and move freely within the territory of Sri Lanka, and that such vehicles (whether self-propelled or towed) shall be exempt from the payment of the time,exclusively for the U.S. Department of Defense shall not be subject to the payment of landing, parking, or port fees, pilot age charges, lighter age, and harbor dues at facilities owned and operated by the Government of Sri Lanka. Aircraft owned and operated by or, at the time, exclusively for the U.S. Department of Defense shall not be subject to payment of navigation, overflight, terminal or similar charges when in the territory of Sri Lanka. The U.S. Department of Defense shall pay reasonable charges for services requested and received at rates no less favorable than those paid by the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka'.

"The Embassy also proposes that the U.S. Department of Defense may contract for any materiel, supplies, equipment, and services (including construction) to be furnished or undertaken in Sri Lanka without restriction as to choice of contractor, supplier, or person who provides such materiel, supplies, equipment or services. Such contracts shall be solicited, awarded and administered in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Government of the United States of America. Acquisition of articles and services in Sri Lanka by or on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense in connection with activities under this Agreement shall not be subject to any taxes or similar charges in Sri Lanka.

The Embassy further proposes that U.S. contractors shall not be liable t pay any tax or similar charge assessed within Sri Lanka in connection with activities under this Agreement and that such contractors may import into, export out of, and use in Sri Lanka any personal property, equipment, supplies, materiel, technology, raining, or services in fulfillment of contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense in connection with activities under this Agreement. Such importation, exportation, and use shall be exempt from any license, other restrictions, customs duties, taxes, or any other charges assessed within Sri Lanka.

The Embassy proposes that U.S. contractors shall be granted the same treatment as U.S. personnel with respect to Professional and drivers’ licenses.

The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes that it may be necessary for the U.S. Armed Forces to use the radio spectrum. The U.S. Department of Defense shall be allowed to operate its own telecommunication system (as telecommunication is defined in the 1992 Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union). This shall include the right to utilize such means and services as required to ensure full ability to operate telecommunication systems Use of the radio spectrum shall be free of cost to the U.S. Government Such activities would require U.S. contractors to exercise their driving and professional licenses support of U.S. Armed Forces. For this reason, the United States seeks similar treatment with regard to driving and professions licenses of US personnel, that is: Sri Lanka shall accept as valid all driving and professional license issued by the United States or its political subdivisions, without a test or fee, to U.S. contractors for the provision of services to authorized U.S. personnel; and that Sri Lankan authorities shall accept as valid, without a driving test or fee, driving licenses or permits issued by t he appropriate U.S. authorities to U.S. contractors of the operation of vehicles.Further, the Embassy proposes that this Agreement, upon its entry into force, shall supersede the Agreement regarding the status of U.S. military personal and civilian employees of the Department of Defense who may be present in Sri Lanka for exercises or other official duties.(Sandun A Jayasekera)


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  Comments - 7

  • Godaya Sunday, 20 January 2019 08:30 AM

    Am I reading this right?Sri Lanka would be a virtual US colony in every sense, with SL citizens being second class citizens in their country.

    Dave Monday, 21 January 2019 04:13 PM

    It s better than being a Chinese colony. We are almost heading there

    CITIZEN Sunday, 20 January 2019 09:00 AM

    "Hambantota Harbour had a rock! Yes, there is no rock!!|

    jayt Monday, 21 January 2019 10:49 AM

    whatever the case if American plan to undermine Sri lanka through plan will not work, This is a dangerous step. America mean Jews entry into Sri lanka. This is a threat and it is beginning of end of India and Israel as well

    Dave Monday, 21 January 2019 04:14 PM

    What is your problem with Jews. They are welcome to Sri Lanka anytime...

    jayt Monday, 21 January 2019 10:53 AM

    whatever the case, Sri lanka government people who sign this agreement is reasonable for massive bloodshed which will begin in the region

    Sinna Monday, 21 January 2019 07:38 PM

    We know what US did in Vietnam, more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, people of this country won't to be guinea pigs to research their latest weapons, where they step in they make troubles to people

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