Ex-Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Likely To Return On Saturday: Reports

Ex-Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Likely To Return On Saturday: Reports

New Delhi: Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country following an uprising against his government over the island-nation’s worst-ever economic crisis, may return to the country from Thailand on Saturday, according to media reports on Thursday.

Rajapaksa, 73, fled the country on July 13 after months-long mass public demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation on July 9 gained momentum after protesters stormed the President’s House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.

Rajapaksa will return back to the country on Saturday, a source close to him was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror news portal.

Having gone to the Maldives on a Sri Lanka Airforce plane, the former president proceeded to Singapore from where he sent in his resignation on July 13.

Later, he flew to Thailand, seeking temporary shelter. Thailand’s foreign minister Don Pramudwinai has said that Rajapaksa can stay in the country for 90 days because he is still a diplomatic passport holder.

However, Rajapaksa will not be allowed to engage in political activities in Thailand. He is also reportedly confined to a hotel and surrounded by security personnel.

After Rajapaksa was ousted, Sri Lanka’s parliament elected then-Acting President and six-time former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Head of State. He had the backing of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the largest bloc in the 225-member parliament.

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Media reports say President Wickremesinghe has made arrangements for his return after the SLPP led by the Rajapaksas made a request to him.

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On August 19, the SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said that the request was made at a meeting held with President Wickremesinghe.

Kariyawasam had said that they asked the president to facilitate his (Rajapaksa’s) return and ensure security and necessary facilities.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 which was triggered by a severe paucity of foreign exchange reserves.

The IMF on Thursday announced that it will provide Sri Lanka with a loan of about USD 2.9 billion over four years under a preliminary agreement to help the bankrupt island nation tide over its worst economic crisis and protect the livelihoods of the people.

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)