Thailand to allow Sri Lankan ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa

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Thailand to allow Sri Lankan ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The Sri Lankan government has asked Thailand for its former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to enter the country, according to Mr Tanee Sangrat, director general of Thailand's Information Department, Foreign Affairs Ministry. In a media statement, Mr Tanee said that the consideration was based on longstanding and cordial ties between the two countries.

His statement followed a report that Sri Lanka's former president is expected to arrive in Thailand on Thursday. In the past month, Rajapaksa fled to his country after protests over the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

He flew to the Maldives before arriving in Singapore on July 14. His short-term visit pass was extended until Aug 11, CNA understands.

Mr Balakrishnan, Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister, said that Mr Rajapaksa was not granted any privileges, immunity or hospitality. According to Mr Tanee, Mr Rajapaksa is not seeking political asylum in Thailand.

According to the 2013 Agreement on Visa Exemption between Thailand and Sri Lanka, the former president is able to enter Thailand without a visa for a period of 90 days. The stay is temporary and is intended for onward travel. There was no political asylum sought, according to Mr Tanee in the statement.

Sri Lanka defaulted on its US $51 billion debt in mid-April. Its dwindling foreign currency has crippled the economy, disrupted imports and led to shortages of fuel, medicine and other essentials.

Injuries increased to 60.8 per cent and the cost of living went up in July, as people in the country were increasingly overwhelmed with the soaring cost of living.

After fleeing the country, Mr Rajapaksa submitted his resignation letter from Singapore. He was replaced by former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month.