President to Revisit H’tota Port Deal
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), General Daya Ratnayake, revealed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is revisiting the Hambantota Port deal and that after many discussions recently with the Chinese officials, has relocated a Sri Lanka Naval Base from the Chinese-controlled area.
The Navy Base, according to the agreement, was on the Chinese leased land. The President spoke to the Chinese and took the base to the Sri Lankan side, Ratnayake said. Hereafter, the Sri Lanka Navy will take control of the entire maritime area, under the supervision of the Sri Lanka Government.
He also pointed out that Sri Lanka has not gained much at the Port and the Government is holding talks to boost business.
He claimed that clauses in the Port agreement were unclear and the President has been reviewing the deal since taking office in 2019.
The SLPA Chair, in an exclusive interview with Ceylon Today noted; “We are revisiting the proposal even now. It was unfortunate and such a deal on Hambantota Port shouldn’t have been done. But the review process is going on.”
When asked why the Navy is not doing their usual duties at Hambantota Port, he said, “Our security is now taken back for Sri Lanka in Hambantota Port.” He said it was not clear how security was handled and that the Navy had been operating located in the Chinese side, prior to the President’s intervention.