Jan 06, 2017

No agreement yet on Hambantota port - president Featured

An agreement is yet to be finalized with regard to the port and an industrial zone in Hambantota, said president Maithripala Sirisena.

There is no truth to claims by some that the agreement would be signed tomorrow (07), he said.

According to him, the government will not cause any harm to the dignity of the country or the constitution when reaching agreements with other countries.

Basic agreement signed

Meanwhile, strategic development minister Malik Samarawickrama told the media at the finance ministry yesterday that a basic agreement has already been signed, with cabinet approval, for the Hambantota port.

The agreement to handover the port to a Chinese company will not be signed tomorrow as scheduled as no final agreement has been reached yet, he said.

A consensus with the Chinese company is possible before the end of this month, he said in response to questions raised by journalists.

President isn’t disagreeable

He said the president was not disagreeable to this and his instructions were that after obtaining cabinet approval, it should be referred to the attorney general for advice.

The port is given on lease not to China, but to a company registered in our country and its owners will be China Merchant company and our Ports Authority, he said.

Arjuna calls for transparency

Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has asked a committee of secretaries working on the agreement for transparency.

However, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne has told the media that the foundation would be laid tomorrow for the commencement of the project to handover the port to a Chinese company.

The project would go ahead as a ‘national task’ despite any opposition, he said.

Also, Samarawickrama said the Ruhunu development zone would be launched tomorrow with the participation of the Chinese ambassador.