President Rajapaksa on private visit – Singapore

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, along with his wife and two security personnel, arrived in Singapore yesterday (14) from the Maldives, where he had spent the previous 24 hours after fleeing protests demanding for his resignation.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs responding to numerous queries on President Rajapaksa’s arrival issued an official statement putting asylum speculations to rest.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responding that Rajapaksa had been granted entry into Singapore on a private visit, also insisted that the latter had not requested asylum or he has not been granted asylum.

It was also emphasised that Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.

Although the Government formally announced that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been appointed the Acting President by President Rajapaksa, President Rajapaksa, who left the country in the early hours of Wednesday (13), had not tendered his resignation. However, regarding the appointment of Wickremesinghe, no genuine letter was made public.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the Maldives tweeted that President Rajapaksa had resigned and he hopes Sri Lanka can now move forward. “I believe the President would not have resigned if he was still in Sri Lanka and fearful of losing his life. I commend the thoughtful actions of the Government of Maldives,” he tweeted yesterday.

A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Maldives to Singapore believed to be carrying Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the world’s most-tracked flight on Thursday, underscoring massive global interest in the troubled island nation’s political affairs, Bloomberg reported.

“Saudia flight 788 from Male was being tracked by almost 5,000 users as of 7:43 a.m. GMT, according to data from Flightradar24.com, more than three times the number of people tracking a French Air Force plane flying in Europe. Rajapaksa is taking a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane to Singapore and then Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press reported earlier Thursday, citing a Maldivian official it didn’t name,” the Bloomberg said.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan