Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardana assuming duties last morning at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Also pictured are Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana, former Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Foreign Relations Ministry Secretary Ravinath Aryasinghe and former Western Province Chief Minister and National Environment Authority Chairman Isura Devapriya.
Pic by Damith Wickramasingha
- Plans to revisit ACSA, SOFA, MCC
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Sri Lanka will fully review and revisit the US and Sri Lanka co-sponsored UNHRC resolution 30/1 adopted in October 2015 in Geneva promoting accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardana said yesterday.
SL will initiate dialogue with UN to get its consent on reconsidering suspension of SL troops from peace-keeping ops
He said Sri Lanka would look at the resolution in a national viewpoint in order to make it balanced and non-partisan.
“Sri Lanka will revisit all bilateral agreements, particularly the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) worked out by the previous government, and if necessary, introduce amendments.
After assuming duties as Foreign Relations Minister last morning, he told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka would initiate dialogue with the UN to get its consent on reconsidering the suspension of Sri Lankan troops from peace-keeping operations.
He told reporters that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had clearly outlined the new government’s foreign policy based on non-aligned principles in his election manifesto.
“There is no doubt that we have to review and carefully go through all bilateral agreements inked after 2015 and remove any line, clause or paragraph detrimental to our national security, sovereignty, well-being of our people and negatively affect our economy, trade and industry. Sri Lanka has witnessed a tremendous political change through which has restored political and economic stability under a fresh development path. The main task at hand of the new government is to strengthen national security and rebuild the lost confidence both domestically and internationally.
“The new government will call upon the Sri Lankan expatriate community including the Tamil diaspora to take part in the development and reconciliation process as the hope of all Sri Lankans is prosperity and peace among all communities. To reach that goal, we need the friendship and cooperation of all nations, which is why Sri Lanka would not be party to any power bloc,” he said.
According to foreign media sources, a Sri Lankan army unit and individual officers serving at UN peacekeeping missions were to be repatriated beginning from October in accordance with their rotation dates and will not be replaced by Sri Lankan personnel.
Some 490 Sri Lankan troops had been deployed for peacekeeping operations in Mali, Lebanon and Sudan. Two Sri Lankan blue helmets were killed in a mine attack in Mali in January 2019.
- Sri Lanka will not be party to any power bloc