Gotabaya to land in Thailand today

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Thailand’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested a temporary stay in Thailand and would arrive in Bangkok on a 90-day entry clearance.

According to Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, he is expected to arrive today (11) in Bangkok and his stay was approved on a “humanitarian” basis.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai confirmed the ousted Sri Lankan President will temporarily stay in Thailand on humanitarian reasons, Thai Media reported.

Rajapaksa has sought to travel to Thailand today, a third country in the Asian region after fleeing Sri Lanka due to mounting pressure from the massive demonstrators. 

Following an extraordinary financial crisis and a lack of fuel and gas that displeased the masses, Rajapaksa was forced to leave his Presidential House at Fort on 9 July when demonstrators stormed into the house. He fled the country on 14 July for the Maldives, as arranged by Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the Maldives Parliament, after hiding on board a Sri Lanka Navy ship. He and his wife took a flight from the Maldives to Singapore, where he is presently staying at a hotel, before departing for Thailand.

Thailand Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanee Sangrat said Thailand saw “no problem” with Rajapaksa entering on a diplomatic passport, which would allow him to stay.

He tweeted, “The consideration was based on long-standing and cordial ties between the two countries and as a holder of a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport the former President can enter Thailand without visa for 90 days as per the agreement of 2013 on visa exemption between Thailand and Sri Lanka. The stay is temporary, with the aim of onward travel, and there is no political asylum sought by him.”

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan