Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa Reaches Singapore, Govt Says Allowed Entry On ‘Private Visit’

Saudi Airline flight SV 788 carrying Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday landed in Singapore from the Maldives after he fled the country amid massive protests against his government’s mishandling of the economy, PTI reported. In a statement, Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said Rajapaksa was allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit.

“Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit. He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum,” the statement said.

Rajapaksa, the 73-year-old leader who agreed to quit on Wednesday, designated Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as interim President hours after fleeing the country, worsening the political turmoil and sparking new demonstrations in the island nation.

Saudi Airlines aircraft SV 788, which was reported to be carrying President Rajapaksa, arrived at Singapore Changi International Airport soon after 7 p.m. (local time).

Thousands of protestors stormed Rajapaksa’s official house on Saturday, accusing him of causing the catastrophic economic meltdown that has brought the nation to its knees, following which he announced on Saturday that he will resign on Wednesday.

Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, stated on Thursday that President Rajapaksa had not yet sent him a letter of resignation.

In order to escape being arrested by the new government—despite having protection from prosecution while he is president—Rajapaksa left the country without quitting.

According to reports in the Maldives capital Male, Rajapaksa’s departure to the Maldives was arranged by former president and speaker of the Maldivian Majlis (Parliament) Mohamed Nasheed.

22 million people live in Sri Lanka, a nation that is experiencing the greatest economic instability in seven decades, making it difficult for many to afford basic necessities like food, medication, and gasoline. Sri Lanka is now a bankrupt country, according to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe last week.

(With Inputs From PTI)