SINGAPORE — Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Singapore on Thursday evening (14 July), after fleeing to the Maldives a day earlier following days of protests in Colombo against his economic mismanagement.
In response to queries by reporters, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “In response to media queries, it is confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit. He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.”
Rajapaksa is reported to have flown via a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight 788, according to media reports earlier Thursday.
He promised last weekend to resign on Wednesday to make way for a unity government. He is expected to do so shortly after his arrival in Singapore, according to several reports.
In accordance with his presidential powers, Rajapaksa was able to fly to the Maldives along with his wife and two bodyguards in a Sri Lankan Air Force aircraft with the approval of the country’s defence ministry, officials said.
After Rajapaksa escaped from his official residence in Colombo, tens of thousands of protesters overran it.
Sri Lanka has been plagued by protests in the capital in recent days over a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and soaring inflation amid its worst ever economic crisis.
The chaos worsened as protestors stormed into the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was appointed as the acting president on Wednesday. He has declared a state of emergency and ordered the security forces to take “whatever” measures to restore law and order.