Sri Lanka’s ousted president Rajapaksa to seek temporary stay in Thailand

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BANGKOK: Former President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to arrive in Thailand on Thursday and stay in a second Southeast Asian country since leaving her island nation last month amid massive protests.
Rajapaksa fled to Singapore on 14 July and resigned shortly thereafter, following unprecedented unrest over his government’s handling of the worst economic crisis in seven decades, and days after Thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence and office.
The former army officer, who is the first Sri Lankan head of state to quit mid-term, is expected to travel from Singapore to the Thai capital Bangkok on Thursday, two sources said. It is not clear what time he will arrive.
Thai authorities say Rajapaksa has no intention of applying for political asylum and will only stay temporarily.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters on Wednesday: “This is a humanitarian issue and there is an agreement that it is a temporary stay.
Prayuth also said Rajapaksa could not participate in any political activities while in Thailand.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the current Sri Lankan government supported Rajapaksa’s trip to Thailand, adding that the former president’s diplomatic passport would allow him to stay for 90 days.
Rajapaksa has not appeared or commented publicly since leaving Sri Lanka, and Reuters was unable to immediately contact him.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is the result of a number of factors including COVID-19, which has destroyed an economy dependent on tourism and slashed remittances from overseas workers, rising oil prices , populist tax cuts and a seven-month ban on chemical fertilizer imports last year. that agriculture was destroyed.


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