Gotabaya Rajapaksa allowed to stay in Thailand temporarily but with one condition


Sri Lanka’s ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is to arrive in Thailand today, has been allowed to stay in the country temporarily and with a condition that should not cause problems for Thailand.

During his stay, Rajapaksa will search for a third nation that will offer him permanent refuge, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday, reported news agency PTI.

Rajapaksa, who has been staying in Singapore after fleeing the island nation in July amid massive protests, is seeking refuge in Thailand as his visa runs out on Thursday.

The 73-year-old Sri Lankan leader reached Maldives on July 13, and then fled to Singapore from where he announced his resignation a day later following months of protests over the country’s economic crisis.

The Prime Minister of Thailand confirmed a temporary visit to Thailand by the embattled Sri Lankan leader for humanitarian reasons, and said he promised not to conduct political activities in the kingdom during his search for permanent asylum in another country.

Foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said the ousted president can stay in Thailand for 90 days since he holds a diplomatic passport, the report added. Clarifying that the visit would not create any conflict situation, Don said the Sri Lankan government did not oppose the visit and the Thai government would not make accommodation arrangements for him. The visit would not pose conflicts with Colombo as acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe had worked for him when he was in power, Pramudwinai noted.

The minister made it clear that the condition for Rajapaksa’s stay was that he should not cause problems for Thailand.

The request came to Thailand from Rajapaksa to enter the country, CNN quoted Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tanee Sangrat as saying on Wednesday.

Sangrat also mentioned that Rajapaksa can enter Thailand without a visa for up to 90 days as a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport holder but emphasised that the stay is temporary and he is not seeking political asylum. Sangrat did not mention when Rajapaksa intended on traveling to Thailand, the Bangkok Post report said.

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