ACSA and SOFA could eventually result in SL being subservient to the US – Kohona
Posted on June 29th, 2019

By Steve A. Morrell Courtesy The Island

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At the seminar – (L-R): Tamara Kunanayakam, Mayura Gunawansa, President, OPA Eng. Nissanka Perera, Dr. Palitha Kohona, Eng. Saman Warusawithana, President-elect and Eng. Nissanka Senarath, OPA, Secretary, OPA.(Pic by Dharmasena Welipitiya)

Asserting that the two contentious agreements with the US were disadvantages to Sri Lanka, a top former diplomat warned that ACSA (Acquisition and Cross Services Agreement) and SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) would influence the country to the extent that US hegemony could eventually result in the Sri Lanka government being subservient to the US.

Both the government and the Opposition did not seem able to understand the implications and ramifications of the two Agreements, said Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s former Permanent Representative to the UN.

“Sri Lanka would be within the vortex of US influence and would not be able to disentangle itself, with the end result that the US will have all options open, and if it wished, could even invade Sri Lanka,” he cautioned.

Dr. Kohana was the keynote speaker at a seminar convened by the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) last week on the US agreements with the government of Sri Lanka and their validity within context of the US government’s push for mutual defence understanding between both countries.

Referring to the ACSA in particular, he noted that the contents of the Agreement were not known to the public.

In response to a query from the media on his knowledge of the US agreement why it was that he did not raise those objections before the agreement was signed, Kohana said it had been signed in a surreptitiously.

He said there were more than 900 bilateral agreements Sri Lanka was a signatory to including different cultural and free trade agreements with countries like India, Singapore and Pakistan. Most of them were heavily partial to those countries. India benefited to the tune of some USD 5 billion in trade between the two countries. Indian exports amounted to around USD 4.5 billion, but Sri Lanka’s exports were merely USD 500,000, he pointed out.

Free trade with Singapore was also one- sided. Singapore did not produce petroleum, but it was one of Sri Lanka’s main suppliers of the commodity. Pakistan did not come into the equation because of limited trade between both countries, Kohana explained.

Tamara Kunanayakam, a former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Office in Geneva, said the two Agreements had ben discussed and planned for a long time.

“We were used to bombs going off, and we knew it was the LTTE. This is something very different. It has never happened the way it did on Easter Sunday. This is something that has woken people up. The Prime Minister himself said there was an external intervention”, she said.

The 2018 document of the Pentagon focused on Russia and China as the main enemy. It was in that context that Sri Lanka had become important to them as the war against China was going to be maritime, primarily. In that context, the Americans had now shifted their focus to the Indo Pacific region, Kunanayakam further said.

Sri Lanka is important because of its strategic location and its maritime link between these oceans. The Americans did not turn up from nowhere. They had been studying it. That was not really new. SOFA was only an amendment to an earlier agreement signed in 1995. There might have been other agreements, she continued.

During President J. R. Jayewardene’s time, JR and Rajiv Gandhi agreed that Trincomalee would not be used by an external power. And that the VOA (Voice of America) Station would not be used against US interests, Kunanayakam, said.

President OPA Eng. Nissanka Perera introduced the speakers at the event. Attorney Mayura Gunawansa was also on the panel of speakers.

4 Responses to “ACSA and SOFA could eventually result in SL being subservient to the US – Kohona”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    It has already happened since 2007 March 11 when ACSA was signed.

    Now the question is who is willing to remove ACSA.

    SOFA and MCC should not be signed. Very unlikely this regime will sign these as the president and the PM are at loggerheads over both.

  2. dhane Says:

    Why not any of the political party or any of these academic organisation go to highest court to prevent Ranil doing single handed all what he wants without consent of the Cabinet or Parliament. In this case where is the peoples voice as democracy?

  3. Hiranthe Says:

    I totally agree with dhane.

    Someone should do it with out further delay.

    The advantage is in my view is, if there is a Court case which is live, the government may not be able to sign and if they sign arrogantly due to their commitment under the Regime Change project, it will hold null and void under law.

  4. Hiranthe Says:

    Our Judges were saving the rouge Parliamentarian’s fundamental rights in January this year without allowing a fresh election expected by majority of the population. This time they should save the fundamental rights of all the Citizens of SL by not allowing this signing of these detrimental agreements.

    But the problem is, these High Court judges have already eaten from the West. Will they act as obedient Balu Kukkas is a matter to be seen.

    First of all, a case to be filed by someone… Who will do it? Where is Gammanpila??

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