Card Ranjith and Buddhist monks against US bases in Sri Lanka
by Melani Manel Perera

The Sri Lankan government is thought to be negotiations deals over military bases with foreign powers to protect the country from international terrorism following the Easter Sunday attacks.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, and some high-ranking Buddhist monks signed a joint declaration strongly opposing any agreement with foreign countries involving the presence of “foreign troops in Sri Lanka".

The religious leaders point the finger at a secret agreement that would see Sri Lanka allow the United States to use a base on the island nation.

Local newspapers have reported that the Sri Lankan government is negotiating military agreements with foreign countries with the aim of fighting Islamic terrorism, following the Easter Sunday attacks by Islamists against three churches and three hotels in Colombo, which left more than 250 people dead.

The declaration was signed by Card Ranjith, Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera, the Mahanayake (great leader) of the Asgiriya Chapter, Venerables Vijithasiri Thera and Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera, Anunayake monks of the Malwatte Chapter, Venerables Wendaruwe Upali Thera and Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Thera, and Anunayake monks of the Asgiriya Chapter.

For the religious leaders, such a agreement would jeopardise the country’s sovereignty. "The government has no right to do so," they insist.

At the same time, they call on the authorities to ban extremist organisations to "ensure lasting peace and enforce the law".