Gotabaya Rajapaksa leaves Singapore for Thailand after short-term visit pass expires
Sri Lanka's ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore for Thailand after his short-term visit pass expired on Thursday, according to a media report.
Rajapaksa boarded a flight from Singapore to Bangkok, after Thailand confirmed a day before that it had received a request from the current Sri Lankan government for him to visit the country.
Responding to media queries, Singapore's Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said that Rajapaksa left Singapore on Thursday, The Straits Times newspaper reported.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday confirmed a temporary visit to Thailand by the 73-year-old embattled Sri Lankan leader for humanitarian reasons, and said he promised not to conduct political activities in the kingdom during his search for permanent asylum in another country.
Rajapaksa, who is currently in Singapore after fleeing Sri Lanka in July amid mass anti-government protests, is seeking refuge in Thailand as his Singapore visa runs out on Thursday.
After flying to the Maldives on July 13, Rajapaksa then fled to Singapore, where he announced his resignation a day later after months of protests over the country's economic crisis.
"This is a humanitarian issue. We have made a promise that it's a temporary stay. No (political) activities are allowed, and this will help him find a country to take refuge in," Prayut was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post newspaper on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the ousted president can stay in Thailand for 90 days as he is still a diplomatic passport holder, the report said.
Don said the Sri Lankan government did not oppose the visit and the Thai government would not make accommodation arrangements for him. The visit would not pose conflicts with Colombo as acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe had worked for him when he was in power, he added.
The minister said a condition for Rajapaksa's stay was that he should not cause problems for Thailand.