• 20 May, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe accepts Maldivian Speaker Nasheed’s offer to assist in securing international relief: Official

Fri, 20 May 2022   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Colombo, May 19 (PTI) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday accepted a generous offer from Maldivian Speaker Mohamed Nasheed to assist the debt-ridden island nation’s bid to secure international relief in the ongoing economic crisis, according to an official statement here.

“The Prime Minister accepted the former President’s offer and appointed him to coordinate the relief efforts,” the statement by the PM Office, issued on the generous offer from Nasheed, said.

Wickremesinghe also tweeted that he has “accepted former Maldivian President @MohamedNasheed’s generous offer to assist in the relief efforts in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery by coordinating the efforts to secure foreign assistance.” Nasheed also retweeted Wickremesinghe’s tweet.

Sri Lanka is reeling under its worst economic crisis and the situation has got so intense that it is not able to pay its debts. Sri Lanka has already suspended repayments for international sovereign bonds, commercial bank loans, Exim bank loans, and bilateral loans. However, multilateral lenders and senior creditors were excluded. It is now negotiating a loan with the IMF. The country had to pay USD 106.34 million this year but only managed to pay USD 12.4 million by April.

The Prime Minister said the debt-ridden country could not even pay a million dollars. He also said that the new cabinet ministers will not be paid their ministerial salaries. He also said that some of the privileges of the Members of Parliament will also be curtailed. The Prime Minister also said he has instructed the staff of the Prime Minister’s office to slash the expenses of the PM Office by 50 per cent. “We need to work towards instilling the correct financial discipline to hasten the country’s economic recovery,” he said in a Twitter post.

Wickremesinghe also thanked the Leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa for extending support in response to his request to address the current drug shortage through the Opposition Leader’s ‘Husma’ initiative. “It is imperative that all parties unite irrespective of political differences to find immediate relief for all Sri Lankans,” he stressed.

“I sincerely urge everyone to accept the gravity of the country’s situation. It is essential for all parties to come together to appoint an all-party National Assembly to immediately address the issues in the country,” Wickremesinghe tweeted. The ongoing economic situation in Sri Lanka triggered severe protests in several parts of the country and the government used force to bring the situation under control.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s office also said that no shoot on sight orders had been issued during the recent unrest. “All security forces have been instructed to follow standard procedures”. The PM’s statement came as the students of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) staged a noisy protest in the heart of the capital on Thursday, demanding the resignation of the government. They defied a court order obtained by the police barring them from entering several key roads in central Colombo’s Fort area where the President’s House is located.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been operating from there since early April when his office came to be surrounded by the group of peaceful protesters who continue to occupy the area surrounding the presidential secretariat at Galle Face promenade. The police used water cannons and tear gas at the IUSF activists when they tried to topple a barricade.

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