Ousted Sri Lankan leader seeks entry to Thailand — RT World News


The former president resigned and flew to Singapore in July amid mass protests

Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has applied to enter Thailand, weeks after he left office and hastily fled his own country during a series of anti-government protests.

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tanee Sangrat, announced the request in a series of tweet on Wednesday, saying officials had been contacted by current authorities in Sri Lanka and asked if Rajapaksa could visit the South Asian country.

“The Thai side received a request for the former president to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka. The consideration was based on long-standing and cordial ties between the two countries,” said Sangrat, adding that Rajapaksa’s stay would be “temporary” and had the “purpose of further journey.”

While the spokesman gave few other details on the proposed arrangement, he noted that any Sri Lankan passport holder is allowed to enter Thailand without a visa for a period of 90 days, suggesting that the ex-president would be no exception. He did not say Rajapaksa’s final destination or when he intended to travel to Thailand, but said the ex-leader was not seeking political asylum from the Thai government.

READ MORE:
Sri Lankan president resigns by email – media

Rajapaksa ended up in Singapore on July 14 after first fleeing to the Maldives on a military plane the day before. He was initially prevented from leaving Sri Lanka by airport officials as it is widely believed he sought to avoid detention once his presidential immunities expired, but he eventually escaped in the middle of a massive outbreak of unrest related to the alleged mismanagement of his administration, among other grievances. Officials in Singapore said Rajapaksa was just a “private tour” and did not seek asylum there.

Under Rajapaksa’s leadership, Sri Lanka was driven into bankruptcy, defaulting on its foreign debts in May and introducing fuel rationing in July. The economic turmoil has sparked a wave of protests that culminated last month when a crowd of protesters stormed the presidential residence and forced Rajapaksa to flee for his own safety.

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