SLPP cannot tear up the MCC deal as it is already signed – former MP Chanaka
ECONOMYNEXT- The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna is saying that that it is not easy to rip apart the Millennium Challenge Compact agreement with the United States as the former government has received money according to the deal.
SLPP elections Candidate D V Chanaka told a press conference held at the party headquarters in Battaramulla today, July 1 that the “Yahapalana” government had signed the agreement and accepted USD 10 million from the USA.
The US Department of State has already issued a statement saying that Sri Lanka has signed no agreement and no cash has been disbursed through the deal.
US officials have expressed confidence that despite the government’s apparent opposition to the deal it will sign up after the elections in August.
Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena discussed the deal with US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo, the government said yesterday.
Former Yahapalana Minister Eran Wickremeratne has said that no cash was received and if it had been the disbursement could be easily traced by the Auditor General.
The allegation that the former government has signed the deal and accepted cash was made by a committee headed by Economics Professor Lalithasiri Gunaruwan appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Gunaruwan provided no evidence of the former government signing the deal or the disbursement of funds.
Chanaka said that the current government has a certain method of dealing with the rest of the world on these matters, otherwise, he said US government can go to international courts and say we have taken the money after signing the MCC agreement twice before.
“So we have to give reasons to not sign it now. We appointed a specialist committee to give the reasons why we are not going to sign it. Otherwise, we could have torn apart the agreement but we don’t have the necessary funds to pay compensations before international courts,” he said.
Opposition to the MCC was a cornerstone of the campaign to elect Rajapaksa as president. The SLPP told voters that the former government would sign the deal if they were elected.
If that happened the country would have to cede a swathe of land stretching from Colombo to Trincomalee to the US and people of the south would have to get a US visa to go on pilgrimage to the Buddhist holy sites in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, senior SLPP politicians said.
Senior SLPP Minister Wimal Weerawansha told reporters last week that he would “not spend another day in this government” if it signed the MCC.
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe