US only sought to amend 1995 agreement with SL – Official

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The United States has sought to amend the 1995 agreement with Sri Lanka on the status of Department of Defence (DoD) military personnel and civilian employees, only to include some additional privileges, such as the mutual recognition of professional licenses, fees for support services rendered, and regulations for hiring foreign and local contractors, a spokesman said yesterday.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Colombo, in response to a query about the proposed military agreement between the two countries, said the US only sought to amend the 1995 agreement and said it would also include how U.S. military personnel and DoD civilians could visit Sri Lanka.

According to the spokesman, the United States and Sri Lanka had built a strong partnership that enhances security for both the people of our countries and for the region.

“These updates will streamline processes that are already in place and will facilitate collaboration with the Sri Lankan military on counter terrorism practices, maritime security and other issues of common concern. These types of agreements are standard practice between global partners and the United States, which has similar agreements with more than one hundred other nations around the world. These agreements facilitate training, exercises and exchanges, as mutually agreed and for the benefit of both countries, by standardizing routine administrative procedures. In no way would it permit the United States to base forces or equipment in Sri Lanka,” he said.

He said Sri Lanka would retain all sovereign rights to approve or deny entry or exit of U.S. personnel, vessels and aircraft into Sri Lanka’s territory and territorial waters or airspace.