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Thai government agrees ousted Sri Lankan president can seek temporary shelter

Facebook/Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Following the ousting of former Sri Lankan president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Thailand has agreed he can seek temporary shelter here. Thai PBS World reports that Rajapaksa is expected to arrive in Bangkok today and that the government has agreed to grant him a temporary stay in the kingdom.

Rajapaksa fled to Singapore on July 14 following widespread demonstrations in strife-torn Sri Lanka’s after the worst economic crisis in 7 decades, and days after thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence over acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine.

He then resigned from the presidency, becoming the first Sri Lankan head of state to quit mid-term.

The Thai Foreign Ministry says the request was granted as the president holds a diplomatic passport and has onward travel plans. Thailand’s Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai, says under those conditions, Rajapaksa can remain in Thailand for up to 90 days. Don says the former Sri Lankan president is free to stay in hotel accommodation or rent an apartment or house.

However, the minister also acknowledges the granting of temporary shelter may prove contentious for Sri Lankan people living in Thailand. He says Thailand could have rejected the request but officials had given careful consideration to it and agreed that, provided Rajapaksa does not cause any issues during his time in the kingdom, he’s welcome to stay for a period not exceeding 90 days.

Tanee Sangrat from the Foreign Ministry confirmed that the request for temporary shelter had come from the Sri Lankan government.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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