(1) The Embassy of the United States congratulates the Department of State of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and has the honor to refer to recent discussions between representatives of our two governments on matters relating to United States (United States) military and civilian personnel identified as members of the United States Department of Defense – hereinafter referred to in summary as U.S. personnel) and U.S. hmer missions (defined as companies and Non-Sri Lankan enterprises and their non-Sri Lankan employees, under contract with the United States Department of Defence, who may temporarily stay in Sri Lanka for sea visits, training, exercises, humanitarian activities and other jointly agreed activities. Companies and corporations, as well as their employees who are not under contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, do not enjoy privileges and are exempt under this agreement. In cases where they can be settled by the U.S. Department of Defense, the agreement requires that the charges be nothing more than what is paid by the Sri Lankan military. The question is whether Sri Lanka`s long-term security and other interests will be served by the signing of these pacts with the United States. In the event of hostility between the US and China or Iran, SOFA would inevitably drag Sri Lanka into a conflict in which it might not want to take sides. Finally, Colombo has no bilateral disputes with Iran or China.
Caught between the growing hysteria around the SOFA and the ambassador`s unreaswhile remarks, Wickremesinghe struggles to convince his detractors. As a result, the renegotiation of SOFA seems to have encountered difficulties. However, given Colombo`s importance in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, the U.S. is unlikely to give up. In an attempt to allay SOFA`s fears, the U.S. mission in Sri Lanka began calling the proposed agreement a visiting forces agreement (VFA), which gives it a much softer tone by underespending the idea of U.S. forces becoming an integral part of the island`s political landscape. . . .