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Ousted Sri Lankan leader to visit city

BANGKOK: The Thai government will allow Sri Lanka’s ousted president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to stay temporarily in Thailand.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 11 August 2022, 08:32AM

Rajapaksa: Seeks temporary stay. Photo: Bangkok Post

Rajapaksa: Seeks temporary stay. Photo: Bangkok Post

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told the media yesterday (Aug 10) that permission was granted for humanitarian reasons, reports the Bangkok Post.

Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said Mr Rajapaksa may arrive in Thailand today, after temporarily staying in Singapore.

He said Mr Rajapaksa will enter the kingdom with a diplomatic passport which will allow the holder to stay in the kingdom for up to 90 days. Mr Rajapaksa will manage his own accommodation.

Asked if Thailand could deny Mr Rajapaksa entry, Mr Don said Thailand was able to but the government believed his stay would not cause any trouble for the country.

In addition, the Sri Lankan government did not oppose the decision, he said.

Tanee Sangrat, director-general of the Department of Information and spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Bangkok Post that Thailand received a request for the former president to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka.

“The consideration was based on long-standing and cordial ties between the two countries,” Mr Tanee said.

“The stay is temporary in nature with the aim of onward travel. No political asylum has been sought,” he said.

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Mr Rajapaksa fled his island nation last month amid unprecedented unrest triggered by Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in seven decades and days after thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence and office.

The retired military officer landed in Singapore on July 14, via the Maldives. He then resigned from the presidency, becoming the first Sri Lankan president to quit mid-term.

Mr Rajapaksa has not made any public appearances or comments since leaving Sri Lanka, and Singapore’s government said this month that the city-state had not accorded him any privileges or immunity.

A member of the influential Rajapaksa family, the 73-year-old served in the Sri Lankan military and later as defence secretary.

During his time as defence secretary government forces finally defeated Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009 to end the Sri Lankan civil war. Some rights groups now want accusations that Mr Rajapaksa committed war crimes to be investigated. He denies the allegations.

Some critics and protesters also accuse Mr Rajapaksa and his family of mishandling the economy during his term as president, leading to the country’s worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

His elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is a former president and prime minister. Their younger sibling, Basil Rajapaksa, served as finance minister till earlier this year.

Mr Rajapaksa’s successor, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has said previously the former president should refrain from returning to Sri Lanka in the near future.

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Kurt | 14 August 2022 - 10:58:32

@Harald, about diplomatic passport. Did you forget the reasons Rajapaksa had to leave Sri Lanka from a militais airfield, because the Immigration refused to stamp his passport, plus he was afraid to be lynched by his own nationals at civilian airport? That diplomatic passport bla bla is nonsense. No one needs such passport to get a 90 days visa here. Anyway, the man will not stay 90 days.

Kurt | 14 August 2022 - 10:31:03

@Harald, give examples of 'western corporations sucking dry'. It is the Rajapaksa family, ousted president, his older and younger brother,  that sucked the country dry and sold parts ( like harbour) to China. If a Government don't want to sucked dry by private corporations than it not happens. Like it not happens in Thailand. So simple is that.

harald | 13 August 2022 - 22:46:25

by the way, those who criticize and badmouth everything in thailand are always particularly funny, but still live and stay here. if i don't like something in a country, i leave it as soon as possible.

harald | 13 August 2022 - 22:41:08

@ Kurt you are totally wrong there too. status as a diplomat remains until sri lanka invalidates the diplomatic passport.

harald | 13 August 2022 - 22:36:31

poor sri lanka, also sucked dry by western corporations and with the help of politicians there, until the people took to the streets. whether this will change anything is more than doubtful because the corporations are still there.

Kurt | 13 August 2022 - 10:30:15

The ousted refugee Sri Lanka leader is since his 'abdication' a jobless foreign civilian, nowhere really welcome. Article says ( Minister Don) he got a 90 day visa based on his diplomatic passport, which is actually not valid anymore.  Have not the illusion that this is handled by normal Immigration procedures as Dek thinks. Minister Don should have not mentioned about diplomatic passport.

DeKaaskopp | 12 August 2022 - 16:59:22

@Kurt  Maybe you could send a note to the government or immigration about international rules accompanied by a protest note regarding his granted 90 day stay . 

Kurt | 12 August 2022 - 15:17:18

Mr Rajapaksa, as a fled 'refugee', has according international diplomatic rules not a valid diplomatic passport to enter Thailand with. It seems that Thai Foreign ministery officials have no clue about it. Not surprised they release nonsense.

Kurt | 12 August 2022 - 11:03:17

DeKaaskopp reaction is just one of his insinuations to besmear others here. The fact that I touch 'real' facts in a comment doesn't mean that I have a problem with Government. That is a complete different matter. Dek, not being able ever to come out with comment himself, well...again a misleadinglow level  reaction.

solar_serfer | 12 August 2022 - 08:38:09

he must be put temporarily under lock and key that is sure as hell (that await this dude)

DeKaaskopp | 11 August 2022 - 22:58:33

@Kurt   And why are you still staying here if you have so many problems with the government here?  

Kurt | 11 August 2022 - 10:25:29

No humanitarian reasons were brought up by Prayut regarding forcing Myanmar refugees back to Myanmar, and Uighurs sent back to China's concentrationcamps. But this crook, who brought Sri Lanka to the brink of poverty and starvation, sold the harbour to China, is welcome. It shows true Thai colours. Why he not goes to China?


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