Gotabaya seeks US investment in big development of IT, high-tech

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 22:51 GMT]
Alice G Wells, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, who met SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday delivered a letter from US President Donald Trump to Mr Rajapaksa. At the meeting, Mr Rajapaksa was hinting on a possible renegotiation of the terms of the proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact. He told the visiting diplomat that the MCC agreement would be evaluated considering the views of the public. The Daily Mirror reported that Gotabaya “invited the US to invest in technology-based industries since Sri Lanka is also ready to develop its IT-based sectors.” The Daily News in its report said that Sri Lanka was planning to develop the “IT and other technology-related industries in a big way” with US support.

“US values its relationship with #SriLanka and looks forward to strengthening ties by expanding cooperation on econ and trade, counter-terrorism, security, transitional justice and human rights - both of our nations will benefit. – AGW,” Ms Wells tweeted after her meeting with Gotabaya.

The Rajapaksa regime wants to remove several commitments made in the consensus resolution 30/1 passed in the UN Human Rights Council in 2015. The consensus resolution was brought together by the US under the Obama Administration and the Yahapalanaya government led by Maithiripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Resolution 30/1 contains 36 commitments on transitional justice and reconciliation, rights and the rule of law, security and demilitarisation, power-sharing and international engagement.

In 2017 and 2019, the USA and its partners continued to extend more’ time and space’ to the SL State at the UNHRC through follow-up resolutions.

Now, Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants to do away with specific commitments that he views as ‘damaging’ the image of the SL military and those the Sinhala ultra-nationalists view as eroding the sovereignty of genocidal Sri Lanka.

SL Attorney General’s Department, SL Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the SL Prime Minister are reportedly working on a proposal to ‘restructure’ the UNHRC commitments in the forthcoming UNHRC session.

The next comprehensive follow-up of the human rights commitments of Colombo at the UNHRC will take place in 2021.

The US which brought the initial ‘Sri Lanka’ resolution in 2015 has withdrawn from the UNHRC in 2018.

However, three of USA’s Quad partners in the Indo-Pacific, Australia, India and Japan are among the elected 47 members states in the UNHRC in 2020. China and Russia are not among the elected 47 member states in 2020. Therefore, Colombo would try to water down the SL commitments through geopolitical alliances.



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