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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Sri Lanka’s Missing President Rajapaksa back in action; gas distribution orders


PTI

Columbus, 10th of July

Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose location is still unknown since protesters stormed his office and official residence, ordered authorities to ensure smooth distribution of cooking gas after the fuel-starved country received 3,700 metric tons of LP gas. , said his office. on Sunday.

In recent months, people have blocked roads across the country in a desperate attempt to force the government to address the acute gas shortage issue.

President Rajapaksa has instructed officers to carry out the offloading and distribution of gas when the first ship arrives in Kerawalapitiya this afternoon. A second vessel with 3,740 tonnes of gas is due to arrive on July 11 and a third with 3,200 tonnes of gas will arrive on July 15, according to Sri Lankan media.

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A large crowd of protesters continues to occupy the president’s and prime minister’s iconic administrative buildings, which also function as official residences. No major security breaches were reported on Sunday, police said.

President Rajapaksa was not present at the presidential house when a mob burst into the building on Saturday.

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

The country, with an acute exchange rate crisis that resulted in default on its external debt, announced in April that it is suspending the payment of the external debt of almost US$ 7 billion due this year, from the approximately US$ 25 billion due until 2026. .

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Sri Lanka’s total external debt is US$51 billion.

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