President to fly to Tokyo in September


Sri Lanka will ask Japan to invite the country’s main creditor nations, including China and India, to talks on bilateral debt restructuring, as it seeks a way out of its worst economic crisis in decades, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Someone needs to call in, invite the main creditor nations. We will ask Japan to do it,” Wickremesinghe said in an interview with Reuters, adding that he would travel to Tokyo next month and hold talks with Japanese premier Fumio Kishida.

Sri Lanka is facing its most severe financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, resulting from the combined impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic mismanagement.

Left with scant foreign exchange reserves, stalling imports of essentials including fuel and medicines, ordinary Sri Lankans have been battling crippling shortages of months amid sky-rocketing inflation and a devalued currency.

Public anger stoked unprecedented mass protests, with thousands of people storming the colonial-era presidential residence in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo in early July, forcing then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa leaving the country.