“The Visiting Forces Agreement is an update of an existing agreement and aims to address a number of bureaucratic problems,” Teplitz said in an interview with state television station Rupavahini on Saturday. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz dismissed the accusations as “blatant misinformation” and tweeted, “There is no plan or intention to create a U.S. base in Sri Lanka.” The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), as the Americans like to call sofa (perhaps to temporarily publish the stay of U.S. forces in Sri Lanka), she said, with the aim of facilitating bilateral cooperation and “fully respecting Sri Lanka`s sovereignty.” The agreement would allow the United States to expedite these procedures, she said, so that in an emergency, “we don`t take the time to cut red tape.” Almost predictably, Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe express very divergent views on this subject, in another manifestation of the deep divisions within the government. While Mr. Wickremesinghe insisted that due process be followed in all discussions with the United States to date, Sirisena recently said in a speech: “During my presidential term, I will not allow the government to sign an agreement with any world power… The agreement also provides exceptions to all inspections, licences, duties, taxes and other taxes assessed in Sri Lanka, as well as freedom of inspection and inspection, meaning that no local law enforcement or army authority, including the Sri Lankan navy or coastguard, would have a say in U.S.
military vessels or their troops or would not submit to local laws on Sri Lankan territory. Two defence cooperation agreements between the United States and Sri Lanka, the acquisition and cross-service agreement already signed (ACSA) and the under-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), are causing concern, criticism and controversy on the Indian Ocean island. Concern is not limited to certain politicians or nationalist groups. The most recent objection came from the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.