Hot on the heels of a high-level Chinese visit to Sri Lanka, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due in the country this month, the Sunday Times reported.
“He is expected to come,” said Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, Secretary to the Foreign Ministry. Other sources say he is due in two weeks, breaking away from an official visit to New Delhi where he is to accompany his colleague, the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, for a major military cooperation agreement expected to be signed between the US and India as part of an anti-China Alliance with Japan and Australia.
Secretary Pompeo, who postponed a previous scheduled visit last year to Sri Lanka, is expected to arrive on October 27. It will be the highest-level US government official of cabinet rank to visit the country since one of his predecessors, John Kerry, visited Sri Lanka in 2015.
The stalled negotiations on the US$ 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to Sri Lanka are likely to be on the agenda for discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the visit. It was not yet clear if the proposed SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) and the existing ACSA (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement) would also be on the agenda.
Meanwhile, following the visit this week to Colombo by Yang Jiechi, a former Foreign Minister of China and currently a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to visit China in early December. During the trip, the two countries are expected to sign several agreements, the content of which was discussed in principle this week.