COLOMBO: The Indian proposal to enter into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka will not be discussed during the current visit of Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to New Delhi, the Lankan Minister of International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema, said in a statement.
CEPA would neither be signed nor discussed, the Minister, who is a member of the Lankan delegation, said.
Samarawickrema however added that in keeping with present day global challenges and trends, Lanka’s bilateral economic agreements with any country, including India, would go beyond trade to include investment, technology, education, job generation for the youth, agriculture, industrial development and culture.
Lambasting opposition political parties which are opposing CEPA with India, he charged that the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government had signed international agreements for personal gain rather than to serve the national interest.
Wimal Weerawansa’s National Freedom Front (NFF), which is close to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, held a demonstration against the alleged plan to sign CEPA at Delhi. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) spokesman Vijitha Herath denounced CEPA as an Indian economic Trojan Horse.