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The Sri Lankan cabinet has formed a committee to go into the government’s latest proposal on the distribution of shares in the Sino-Sri Lankan joint venture.
Concerned about Sri Lanka’s lurch towards the US and the West, China is sending its Defence Minister Gen.Chang Wanquan to Colombo for a there-day trip beginning on Sunday.
The proposal comes in the wake of the Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga campaigning against the existing agreement on the port.
There is already a Sri Lankan naval base there, which, according to the agreement, will become a property of the joint venture company.
Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months
Ironically Rajapaksa who procured about USD 7 billion for Hambantota and other projects opposed the handing over of the port and land to Chinese.
Under the proposal of the selected company, Sri Lanka Ports Authority has no revenue stream for first 15 years of the port operation.
The head of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna says the Hambantota port affair shows that there is complete confusion in the government.
The cabinet has appointed a committee to discuss the matter with the China Merchants Ports Holding Company.
On the SLPA’s valuation of the project at US$ 1.4 billion, the Joint Opposition wanted to know on what basis this figure was arrived at.
President Sirisena is likely to ask the Chinese to bring down their equity in the Hambantota Sino-Lankan JV from the present 80 percent to a more politically acceptable level, sources said.
Rajapaksa, and his new organisation the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP), have threatened to abrogate the agreement with when they come to power.
After the departure of the two ships which were released by the navy by the use of force, no ship has berthed in Hambantota.
The port, constructed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a Chinese loan of US$ 1.4 billion, has been without business so far because it has no worthwhile hinterland.
The Framework Agreement provides for the setting up of a JV company between CMPort and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
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