No SOFA agreement signed with US

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The government has not signed any Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with United States other than the letters earlier exchanged in 1995 between the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday. He said the US government has made several proposals and the government has not yet agreed and still their (proposals) are to be considered. The Premier however assured that not a single agreement that would affect the country’s sovereignty would be entered into.

He made these observations yesterday in response to a query made by JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake during the round of questions from the Prime Minister. SLPP MP Bandula Gunawardena also was scheduled to make a query on agreements with the US government and had notified the question as well but he was not present during the round of questions. The Premier spoke on SOFA agreement, Millennium Challenge Agreements and Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) as well.

The Premier further said that some media had misleadingly reported that a SOFA agreement has been signed in 2017. He added that had such an agreement been signed in 2017, it would be illegal and fake. He challenged the news media making these claims to give him a copy so that he could go to the Police against the wrong doers.

Premier Wickremesinghe tabled copies of the letters exchanged in 1995 and the ACSA agreement entered into during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime for perusal by the House. He added that during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had again renewed the content of the documents in 2007 as those agreements expire after 10 years. He added that the same agreement was renewed on August 4 in 2017.The Premier said the same agreement in 1995 was not a mutual defence agreement but it generally establishes the framework under which US military personnel operate in a foreign country.