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Sri Lanka ex-leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeks entry into Thailand

Aug 12, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested entry into Thailand for a temporary stay in a second Southeast Asian country after fleeing his island nation last month amid mass protests.

Rajapaksa fled to Singapore on July 14 following widespread demonstrations over Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in seven decades, days after thousands of protesters stormed the President’s official residence and office over acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine.

He then resigned from the presidency, becoming the first Sri Lankan head of state to quit mid-term.

Rajapaksa was expected to leave Singapore and head to Thailand’s capital Bangkok on Thursday.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, a South Asia researcher at Amnesty International, Thyagi Ruwanpathiran, said it had been reported that he has left Singapore for Thailand and will remain there until he finds refuge elsewhere.

According to Thyagi, the other two Rajapaksa brothers have a court order in Sri Lanka which prevents them from travelling abroad.

She says Sri Lanka has still not reached a staff-level agreement for the international monetary fund. Even though the business has picked up a little bit due to a few shipments arriving in Sri Lanka, the economy is functioning more than before. There is still no idea about the six months.

Regarding the possibility of further protests, Thyagi said there could be as the economic struggle is genuine, and those concerns remain. So far, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has not been able to get that together.

The brutal reality now that Sri Lankans face this will be a long uphill struggle. Thyagi said the President has openly communicated that things will not be easy.

“Long term, there seems to be no plan, right now the government is focusing on trying to get the tax structure reformed, attempting to restructure state owned enterprises which are not profit making which would be beneficial to reach in agreement with the IMF,” she said.

Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.

 

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