Some politicians and civil society groups have linked the gcc pact to other more open security agreements, such as the U.S. Agreement on the Status of the Armed Forces, which sets the framework for the U.S. military`s entry into Sri Lanka, which critics have seen as an attempt to create a U.S. military base, or even a possible base in the country. U.S. officials called the claim “blatant misinformation.” But since then, the agreement has been frozen. Since the organization traditionally only funds low- and low-middle-income countries, Sri Lanka`s recent middle-income status has jeopardized the eligibility of the MCC grant, unless the agreement is signed before 2020, as the country is not on the organization`s 2020 scorecard. The agreement has been at the centre of heated debates and political conflicts in recent months: the president has refused to approve the agreement before the end of his term, a petition of fundamental rights (FR) against the signing of the agreement, which will be filed before the Supreme Court, and even an almost orchestrated protest earlier this week. In Sri Lanka, a presidential committee examining the Millennium Challenge Corporation`s (MCC) draft agreement with the U.S. government expressed reservations that certain clauses could not be implemented legally. February 28, Colombo: The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to suspend the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement after reviewing the recommendations of the committee appointed to review the agreement, said co-minister Bandula Gunawardena, a cabinet spokesman. The opposition`s argument that the agreement should be suspended until after the elections also carries serious risks of losing the entire subsidy due to Sri Lanka`s recentgradation to higher middle income status.
Two major arguments have been made against this agreement. The first is that the land project means that the country owned by the Sri Lankan government will be available to the U.S. government for purchase. Other concerns regarding the construction of a physical economic corridor, links to the SOFA and ACSA agreements, the acquisition of Sri Lankan land by the U.S. government, dumped land transactions, the construction of U.S. settlements and/or military bases, the construction of electric fences and the destruction of the local environment were also confirmed as unfounded in the review of the agreement. The agreement was proposed during the former government`s term, but had to be postponed due to political opposition. The current government had set up the commission to review its provisions, while the US embassy in Colombo had expressed hope that the agreement would be reached after the next parliamentary elections in August.
The report was delivered to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa`s office on Thursday, after which the decision not to sign the agreement was made, he said. But what remains of Sri Lanka, given the breadth of public opinion, with other negotiating options, ministerial advice and the approval stamp of the Attorney General (GA)? Colombo, February 29 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has decided not to sign the Millennium Challenge Corporation`s (MCC) $480 million agreement with the United States, taking into account the recommendations of a committee that found that some of its features threaten the national security and well-being of the island state, he said.