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International News

Feb 28, 2020

Sri Lankan govt not to sign MCC with US

Sri Lankan Government has decided not to sign the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) with the US Government.  Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana told a media conference today that the decision is based on the recommendations of the Expert Committee and the agreement will not be signed in its present form.

He said, the government also considered national security concerns in relation with the agreement adding that it was not in accordance with the Constitution. However, he said, the government is prepared to have discussions with the US to make amendments to the agreement.

The MCC agreement is to provide a grant of 480 million US dollars to Sri Lanka for development of transport and land deeds based on certain conditions. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had appointed a committee to look into the agreement after coming into power last November while the former government had approved it.

The government decision came as Sri Lanka’s relations with US and western nations have soured in past few weeks. US Government imposed a travel ban on Sri Lankan Army Chief Shavendra Silva and his family for alleged war crimes during end phase of three-decade long LTTE war.

Western nations are also miffed with Sri Lankan Government decision to withdraw from United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for war crimes redressal and reconciliation with minorities. President Gotabaya rode on a strong nationalistic wave to win the elections and government is cautious to maintain its support base for parliamentary elections, to be announced next week.

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