Malé, Maldives – Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday night released a statement regarding the arrival of then Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Government of Maldives, at the official request of the Government of Sri Lanka, granted diplomatic clearance for a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft carrying His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and spouse, on a transit visit, to land at the Velana International Airport on 13 July 2022. President Rajapaksa left to Singapore on 14 July 2022.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed at Velana International Airport (VIA) at approximately 02:50 on Wednesday via a military jet, after a people’s uprising over the country’s worst economic crisis in recent history brought his family’s powerful grip on the island nation to a choking end.
Public ire rose following suggestions that Rapaksa was headed to the neighbouring chain of islands, the outrage further fuelled by news of Maldives’ Parliament Speaker (and former President) Mohamed Nasheed spotted at VIA shortly before said arrival.
After news of the president’s abrupt departure spread, thousands gathered at the leading protest site in Colombo chanting “Gota [colloq. abbreviation for Gotapaksa] thief, Gota thief”. Hundreds of others stormed the prime minister’s office, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has since tendered his resignation.