U. S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz took to Twitter last evening to cry ‘Fake news!’ on the information revealed in weekend media about the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and its adverse impacts on Sri Lanka and its sovereignty.
Sharing the Colombo Telegraph story, she described its contents as ‘blatant misinformation’ and repeated the same old reassaurance that ‘there is no plan or intention to establish a US base in Sri Lanka.’
Below is the tweet:
Ambassador Teplitz goes on to note that the SOFA – which the US Mission in Colombo also calls the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) – exclusively focuses only the facilitation of cooperation and reiterates would respect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
The Colombo Telegraph story was based on the draft SOFA currently under negotiation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the U.S., published by the Sunday Times. It was featured in ST alongside the political column of the Sunday Times penned by veteran defense correspondent and columnist Iqbal Athas.
To call information revealed by the Sunday Times and one of Sri lanka’s senior most defense and political columnists, misinformation is quite a grave accusation.
The Ambassador could also perhaps shed some light as to why the agreement went from being called the SOFA to the VFA .
This is not the first time the Embassy in Colombo chose to rename military activities they plan in Sri Lanka following negative publicity, misleading local audiences.
What is currently known as the Temporary Cargo Transfer Initiative (TCTI) where U.S. aircrafts use Sri lankan airports as a point to transfer goods to its aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis, was originally known as the ‘Logistics Hub’. It was renamed following blackash regarding the operation’s ulterior motives.