US sanctions on Russia firms hurting Sri Lanka, against SOFA for American forces: President
ECONOMYNEXT – US sanctions barring deals with firms in Russia are affecting long-standing commercial and military transactions President Maithripala Sirisena said, declaring his opposition to deals allowing visits by American forces to the island.
"About six months ago they sent a list of Russian companies which were sanctioned," President Sirisena told reporters in Colombo.
"Russia is a friend is a friend of longstanding. They supplied us with aircraft and military equipment during the war. And they continue to help with maintenance.
"There are also credit lines from Russia. These are not new ones."
Presidnet Sirisena is also Sri Lanka’s Minister of Defence.
President Sirisena said he had discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he visited the country recently.
If Sri Lanka did not comply with the sanctions, funds from International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and other lenders may be blocked, he said.
President Sirisena said he was against agreements like SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) being signed with the US. He was also opposing a proposed visiting forces agreement.
President Sirisena said he had opposed the agreement in the Cabinet of Ministers.
Sri Lanka had a SOFA agreement in place which was coming up for renewal. Last week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled a visit to Sri Lanka. (Colombo/June26/2019)