Home » Govt. drafts Bill to thwart international agreements unilateral withdrawal

Govt. drafts Bill to thwart international agreements unilateral withdrawal

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By: Staff Writer Colombo (LNW): The Government has decided to draw up legislation to prevent the unilateral revocation of bilateral or multilateral agreements made for national development. The proposal to this effect submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the legal draftsman to prepare a comprehensive Bill aimed at bolstering the enforcement of these agreements was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday. “Sri Lanka’s credibility and international repute are tarnished after cancelling agreements instantly without consulting the other parties involved. By enacting laws that reinforce these commitments, the Government aims to foster an environment of trust and reliability on the global stage once again,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing yesterday. The proposal underscores the need for a robust legal framework to instil a sense of accountability and responsibility among all stakeholders involved in bilateral and multilateral agreements. On 22 May 2023, the Cabinet approved that laws should be enacted to prevent deviation from bilateral and multilateral agreements that are determined to be essential for national development without the consent of the relevant parties. In May this year, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to enact laws to prevent deviations from bilateral and multilateral agreements without the consent of relevant parties as the country faced a diplomatic backlash following the cancellation of several international agreements including East Container Terminal (ECT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) projects. Back tracking on Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement by the previous government led by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is also a case in point. Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Bandula Gunawardena emphasised that such arbitrary decisions without consulting other parties had damaged the country’s credibility in the global stage. At present, Sri Lanka is in the process of entering into a number of new bilateral trade agreements along with plans to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). In addition, the government has also requested the Japanese government to revive the canceled Light Railway Transit (LRT) project.The proposed legislation is expected to restrict future governments from arbitrarily canceling or deviating from bilateral and multilateral agreements without obtaining the consent of the other party and thereby restoring Sri Lanka’s credibility globally.
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