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Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s whereabouts still not known

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International

oi-Deepika S

| Published: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 11:14 [IST]

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Colombo, July 10: The whereabouts of embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are unknown hours after he was forcefully moved out of his official residence amid Saturday's protests during which thousands of irate anti-government protesters stormed the premises in Colombo.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa File photo of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Rajapaksa's only communication outside since the protesters stormed into the city has been with the Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who announced late Saturday night that the President would resign on Wednesday.

President Rajapaksa informed the Speaker about this decision to quit after Abeywardena wrote to him seeking his resignation following the all-party meeting of leaders held Saturday evening.

In May, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had to quit in the face of massive anti-government protests.

The Rajapaksa brothers, Mahinda and Gotabaya, were hailed by many in Sri Lanka as heroes for winning the civil war against the LTTE but they are now blamed for the country's worst economic crisis.

US urges Sri Lanka to work quickly to achieve economic and political stabilityUS urges Sri Lanka to work quickly to achieve economic and political stability

The expected exit of President Rajapaksa on Wednesday and the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister in May is a dramatic fall from grace for a powerful family that has dominated Sri Lankan politics for more than a decade.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.

The country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026.

Sri Lanka's total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.

Story first published: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 11:14 [IST]

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