US Secretary of State Pompeo vs Sri Lanka Administration – Smart moves could provide the best outcome.
Posted on October 25th, 2020

Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM Wellington , NZ

The US Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit  takes the pressure on the SL govt to an unprecedented level to sign the SOFA & MCC agreement.

Pompeo’s bargaining chips are not only the $480 million grant associated with the MCC agreement.

They also include US being SL’s biggest export market where nearly 30% of it’s exports enter at a a concessionary tariff , allowed for by the BSP provisions that come up for renewal in a few weeks. Risking these , especially now with the economic havoc caused by Covid could not be looked at too lightly by SL negotiators 

US also has the capacity to apply pressure on SL through international organisations as they did in the UNHCR using the TigerSong sheets. In this context, it is an achievement for SL that, now the US is talking directly to SL with their top diplomat actually making the long trip, using more conciliatory tones to do so..An understanding on this and control of Tiger Diaspora could be an useful aspiration for SL negotiators.

SL badly needs investors for their flagship developments , the Colombo Port City and Hambantota Free trade zone. There would be no better a source for such investments than from US companies. A nod from the US government would be a strong encouragement  for not only US corporations  but also other western industry  and iT industry  to respond to SL’s investment  invitation and need. Another possible aspiration for the SL negotiators.

Trincomalee harbour is a totally under exploited economic potential. With Diego Garcia gone ,there would be no better place than this for the US Pacific fleet. Having a US fleet occupy the empty waters of a section of the Trincomalee harbour for a price, with adequate protections must surely be a mouth watering prospect for cash strapped SL.  The potential for development of the region that would follow is mind boggling.

 JRJ in the 1980’s bent over backwards to get US interested in SL.  His overtures only fell on deaf ears. Now tables have turned and it is up to  SL to make the moves to secure best outcomes for SL..

The  most objectionable bits of the MCC and SOFA, even as decided by the govt commission who inquired into it  are the US boots on SL soil being above it’s law and the potential sale of SL real estate for foreign buyers , on a large scale. Also , there is the issue of a foreign corridor in the middle of the country” .  Could these be up for negotiation. Besides , don’t forget any Sri Lankan with the cash could invest in US real estate without any limitation.Also , an expressway from Colombo to Trincomalee would also be mouthwatering to Sri Lanka.

Is the smarter thing to look a gift horse in it’s mouth or look at it without the objectionable bits.

Could the leaders that won the unwindable war , win this one too.

Best wishes to them.

Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM

Wellington , NZ=

One Response to “US Secretary of State Pompeo vs Sri Lanka Administration – Smart moves could provide the best outcome.”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Et tu Brute?

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