Co-cabinet spokesperson and Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara alleged that a ‘certain embassy’ had a hand in disrupting the Parliament debate on the Hambantota Port Agreement last week.

The Parliament debate on the Agreement was scheduled to be held on July 28, prior to its signing on July 29. The debate however could not be held as members of the Joint Opposition staged a protest over the agreement and prevented any debate from taking place.

“There was no reason why such a problem should be created before the debate was to start. We allowed enough space for them to start the debate. But then they ran into the well and started to make trouble, it showed that they didn’t want a debate and were showing support for the agreement”, Jayasekara said addressing the cabinet media briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday.

He added that the debate was an important event as the President had informed Cabinet that any important issues highlighted in it will need to be addressed in the agreement prior to its signing.

“But I am sorry to say that this was planned by a certain foreign embassy which called an MP of the Joint Opposition prior to the debate and after that the whole debate just collapsed.We were ready that day and if they had pointed anything out, we could have looked into it,”Jayasekera said.

President Maithripala Sirisena who promised the Ports Authority and CPC unions that their amendments will be looked into, has given his cabinet one week to get back to him on any further amendments needed.

“We have included a clause in it which allows for any term to be amended on mutually agreed terms”,co-cabinet spokesperson, Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.

Minister Jayasekera said the signed agreement was submitted to cabinet on Tuesday so that ministers could compare the ‘signed agreement’ with what cabinet had agreed to, in order to clear any confusion among themselves and the public, “Thus far I have not seen any differences”, Jayasekara said.

He explained that the main concern SLFP ministers had was to not give any land outright and that was addressed in the agreement, “We allowed SLFPers in the Joint Opposition too to have their say in Parliament but they missed out on that”, added the Minister.

At present the China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd will hold a share of 69.55 percent and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will have a share of 30.45 percent and together they will establish two joint ventures, namely the; Hambantota International Port Services Company and the Hambantota International Port Group to handle commercial and shipping operations in the port. Security will be handled by the SLPA.


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Source URL: The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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