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Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

The Joint Opposition (JO) has called on President Maithripala Sirisena to halt the Government’s move to lease the Hambantota port to the China Merchant Ports Holdings Company.

A memorandum of understanding had previously been signed in this regard, while the signing of the final agreement involving the public-private partnership framework agreement regarding the management of the port on a 99 year lease was announced to be signed on January 7. However, a case filed in the Supreme Court by JO MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara may put the matter on hold.

A high level committee chaired by the Treasury Secretary has already been appointed in relation to the ongoing negotiations on the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Meanwhile, Leader of the JO, MP Dinesh Gunawardena alleged that the Board of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority had opposed the move during a recent discussion held between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Ports Authority. Gunawardena has also pointed out shortcomings in the said proposed agreement.

Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is conducting a series demonstrations and protests including in Hambantota against the Governmental move.