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Thailand to accept former Sri Lankan president's visit with no visa

Thailand will accept former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, pictured in 2021 speaking at the UN General Assembly, into the country on a temporary basis, a government spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday. File Pool Photo by Justin Lane/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/01fbee80995f166e549aff256300f779/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Thailand will accept former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, pictured in 2021 speaking at the UN General Assembly, into the country on a temporary basis, a government spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday. File Pool Photo by Justin Lane/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Thailand will accept Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the country on a temporary basis, a government spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

Rajapaksa can enter the country for 90 days without needing a visa and Thailand says the former leader is not seeking political asylum.

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The 73-year-old had been in Singapore since leaving his country in July.

Rajapaksa agreed to resign amid massive protests in Sri Lanka that saw demonstrators storming the official residences of the president and prime minister. Rajapaksa agreed to resign from the office effective July 13. He arrived in Singapore a day later.

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"The Thai side received a request for the former President to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka. The consideration was based on long-standing and cordial ties between the two countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said in a statement on Twitter.

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"As a holder of a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport, former President's can enter Thailand w/o a visa for 90 days, per 2013 Agreement on Visa Exemption between Thailand+Sri Lanka. The stay's temporary w/ aim of onward travel. No political asylum's been sought."

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Rajapaksa initially fled to Maldives, in Southern Asia before moving on to Singapore, where he officially tendered his resignation from the political office he'd held since 2019.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was later sworn in as acting president.

In July, more than 100,000 protesters took to the streets of the capital, Colombo, calling for both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe to resign amid an economic crisis that has left millions of residents struggling to afford essentials including food, medicine and fuel.

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Schools in the country of 22 million people have been suspended and fuel has been limited to essential services.

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