It's Not Good Time For Gotabaya To Return To Sri Lanka: President Wickremesinghe

This comes after Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena on Tuesday said that Rajapaksha was not hiding and was likely to return.

By Anushka Vats
Mon, 01 Aug 2022 05:13 PM IST
Minute Read
It's Not Good Time For Gotabaya To Return To Sri Lanka: President Wickremesinghe
Image Source: Reuters

Sri Lanka's new President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday said that it is not the right time for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to return to the island nation, noting that his return can agitate the protesters who have been demanding the resignation of the former President and holding him responsible for the country's financial crisis.

"I don't believe it's the time for him to return," he said. "I have no indication of him returning soon," DailyMirror reported, quoting the President as saying.

Speaking from his office in the Presidential Secretariat, the president stressed that he expected the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff-level agreement to be reached by the end of August, after which the country would be able to further talks with bilateral creditors to revive the nation's economy.

This comes after Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena on Tuesday said that Rajapaksha was not hiding and was likely to return.

Earlier, on July 9, Sri Lankan protesters broke into then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's private residence and set it on fire, angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.

Soon after this, Rajapaksha left the country on a military aircraft bound for the Maldives on July 13, before travelling onward to Singapore where he resigned over email.

The country is going through its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development progress and severely undermining the country's ability to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The protests came after the economic situation of the country worsened, resulting in increasing tensions and reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public queued for hours and sometimes days amid the fuel crisis.

(With agency inputs)

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