Agreement Would Allow U.S. Military Bunkering at Maldives
The U.S. says it is not seeking a permanent base in the Maldives
A draft agreement between the U.S. and the Republic of Maldives would allow U.S. forces access to ship bunkering facilities, as well as sea ports and other facilities in the Indian Ocean island nation, the Maldives newspaper Minivan News reports.
The status of forces agreement (SOFA), which was was said to have been leaked while negotiations are still underway, also authorises the U.S. to "undertake new construction works and make alterations and improvements.”
However a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said there are no plans for a permanent U.S. military presence in Maldives.
Spokesperson, U.S. Embassy
SOFAs generally establish the framework under which U.S. personnel operate
“SOFAs are normal practice wherever the United States cooperates closely with a country’s national security forces,” the spokesperson said.
“SOFAs generally establish the framework under which U.S. personnel operate in a country when supporting security-related activities and the United States is currently party to more than 100 agreements that may be considered a SOFA.”
Among other provisions said to be in the agreement, the U.S. would gain access to “aerial ports, sea ports and agreed facilities for transit, support and related activities; bunkering of ships, refueling of aircraft, maintenance of vessels, aircraft, vehicles and equipment, accommodation of personnel, communications, ship visits, training, exercises, humanitarian activities."
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