Mr. Rajapaksa, who signed CASA on behalf of the Sri Lankan government in 2007, was confident that Sri Lanka had benefited from the agreement and not from the United States. The government initially said the details of the agreement would be disclosed to the public, but has so far kept it a secret. That is why we are asking the government to immediately reveal the full approval of public opinion,” the JVP Politburo said in a statement. 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. The agreement is valid for 10 years and all transactions must be agreed before the transfer. Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa and U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake, the two signatories to the 2007 Sri Lanka-U.S. military agreement, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that SOFA was still in discussion and that his government would not sign an agreement that would affect Sri Lanka`s sovereignty. “There are strong arguments for continuing to sign the agreement” that there is no Sri Lankan resistance, although Sri Lanka says that “this agreement benefits the US forces first and foremost.” Given the strong opposition to it, it may seem bleak for Sri Lanka and the United States to reach an agreement on SOFA. Given that this agreement primarily benefits U.S.
forces, we believe there is a strong case for further signing the agreement. (End of quote) Sri Lankans, however, remain skeptical. Part of the problem lies in the fact that there is “little information in public opinion” about the “specificities” of the agreements. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has positioned himself as a serious player in Sri Lanka`s political leadership in the november 16 presidential elections, it faces the enlarged CASA of 83″ signed in 2017 – the precursor to the 2007 agreement he signed at his first press conference on October 14 as a military pact for Sri Lanka – to facilitate Washington`s militarization in the Indo-Pacific region. As a key player in the upcoming Rajapaksa administration, he is expected to conclude the Status of Foreign Forces (SOFA) agreement, which many consider incompatible with Sri Lanka`s sovereignty. However, as Samaranayake points out, proposed defence pacts with the United States tend to be controversial in the first place. That is what happened, for example, with India, when the United States followed logistics and communication pacts. “New Delhi has finally concluded these agreements,” she notes. The 14-minute video of the press conference provided to the Asian Tribune asked presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa: “You mentioned that your foreign policy would be neutral and non-aligned.