US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said Sri Lankans were “duped” by disinformation and “fake news” and missed the opportunity to accept the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) offer from the U.S.
She also stressed there will be no MCC grant for Sri Lanka to consider. “I hope someday in the future, but at this time there are no plans for such a grant for Sri Lanka.”
“The issue created around the MCC was really disappointing and if USD 500 million was approved it would have brought great benefit to Sri Lankans,” she said.
She said it was disinformation and manipulation of the correct information.
“I think people of Sri Lanka were duped by the fake news on the MCC. There was an unprecedented level of misinformation created and spread around the country. There was the allegation that the US wanted to open a military base.” She added that she was shocked to read that nonfactual information. “There had never been and will never be a US military base in Sri Lanka.”
I have spoken multiple times about the MCC, but people still bring up that issue. She said the US Government has given the MCC to many countries worldwide and recently to Nepal.
“We have given MCC to countries around the world and it’s really quite unfortunate that Sri Lanka missed it,” she said.
She said the US has been friends of Sri Lanka for decades and in the last seven years, the US has provided assistance and has been a partner too.
That will not change whether crisis or not. “We will continue to be strong friends. We don’t advocate or support individuals, political parties, or politicians. We want to support the Sri Lankan people. Even recently, the USD 20 million grant announced by the US President will go towards fertiliser, agriculture assistance, and to help pregnant mothers.”
On the military being present at protest sites, she reiterated that from the beginning she called on the peaceful protesters and told them that they have the right to protest. “We called on the Security Forces, the Police, and the military to exercise restraint. Law and order should be maintained. Do not resort to violence,” she further said.
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan