Opposition demands halt to signing agreements with foreign countries in secret


By Saman Indrajith

Sri Lanka’s agreements with foreign countries on matters related to the economy and national security should be presented to Parliament and approved by a two-thirds majority, the opposition demanded yesterday.

MP Dinesh Gunwardena told parliament that the government had signed an agreement to hand over a corridor from Trincomalee to the Colombo Port to the US without even informing it to Parliament.

"The other thing is handing over terminals in Colombo Port to foreign countries. Both of these agreements will have a bearing on our national security. These are very crucial assets to us. But the government has handed them over to foreign countries without even consulting Parliament. This is a grave threat to the national security. Therefore, I suggest that such agreements be presented to Parliament and approved by a two-thirds majority before being inked."

JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said that his part was opposed to the government signing agreements with foreign countries in secret.

"When you are in power, some countries and some powerful companies might pressure you to enter into some agreements favourable to them. But you must not give in. You are answerable to the people. How can you sign agreements with foreign countries in secret? What right you have to do something like that?

"That is why we came up with this suggestion. Before signing sensitive agreements with foreign countries you should present them to Parliament and get them approved by a two-thirds majority. You can tell those countries that you cannot enter agreements with them because Parliament rejected the agreements. You may not have a backbone to reject foreign offers directly.

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