Sri Lanka ex-leader Rajapaksa leaves Singapore


Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Raja paksa has left Singapore on Thursday, the city-state’s immigration office said, after his social visit pass expired.

It did not say where the former leader was headed to but the Thai foreign ministry, as well as a source in Colombo, said he was seeking a new safe haven in Thailand.

Raja paksa fled to the Moldives on July 13 and then to Singapore, where he announced his resignation after months of protests over Sri Lanka’s economic meltdown.

The Thai foreign ministry confirmed it had received a request from Colombo for the 73-year-old deposed leader to visit Thailand and an assurance that he would not seek political asylum there.

“The Thai side received a request for the former president to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka,” ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said in a statement.

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

Sri Lankans arriving in Singapore get a 30-day visa, but Singapore authorities said they had initially given Rajapaksa only two weeks and later extended the visa by another two weeks.

The Rajapaksa confidant told AFP that he was keen to return home as protests against his administration had fizzled out, but his successor Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised him against an early return.

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