Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Thailand on Thursday (11 Aug), as he sought temporary shelter in a second Southeast Asian country after departing his island nation last month amid mass protests.
Rajapaksa arrived at Bangkok’s Don Muang airport on a chartered flight from Singapore, after the city-state’s immigration authority said in a statement on Thursday that he had left.
Rajapaksa is expected to stay temporarily in Thailand after fleeing Sri Lanka for Singapore on July 14. He resigned from office shortly afterwards following unprecedented unrest over the worst economic crisis in seven decades, and days after thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence and office.
Thai authorities said the former military officer, who is the first Sri Lankan head of state to quit mid-term, had no intention of seeking political asylum and would only stay temporarily.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday (10 Aug) called the matter a humanitarian issue, adding that Rajapaksa could not participate in any political activities while in Thailand.
Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai meanwhile said the Sri Lankan government supported Rajapaksa’s trip to Thailand, adding that the former president’s diplomatic passport would allow him to stay for 90 days. (NNT)