The United States on Sunday urged Sri Lanka’s political fraternity to come forward and work quickly to find long-term economic and political solutions to address the people’s discontent, after thousands of angry protesters stormed the official residence of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and forced him to tender his resignation on Wednesday.
Rajapaksa would step down on July 13, Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said on Saturday evening, while Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has already expressed his willingness to step down amid the country’s worst economic and political crisis.
The United States calls on the Sri Lankan parliament to approach this stage with a commitment to the betterment of the nation and not with one political party, a spokesman for the US State Department said on Sunday.
We urge this government or any new constitutionally elected government to work quickly to identify and implement solutions that will achieve long-term economic stability and address the discontent of the people of Sri Lanka over deteriorating conditions. economic, including shortages of electricity, food and fuel, the spokesman said.
The United States warned against attacks on protesters or journalists, but also criticized Saturday’s violence.
The whereabouts of President Rajapaksa were unclear and the 73-year-old leader is believed to have left the house before the massive crowd arrived.
Anti-government protesters have not spared Wickremasinghe either.
A group of protesters entered his private residence and set it on fire.
The people of Sri Lanka have the right to speak out peacefully, and we call for the full investigation, arrest and prosecution of anyone involved in violent incidents related to the protests, the spokesperson added.
Rajapaksa has historically endured a fraught relationship with the United States over the rejection of war crimes allegations during Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war.
Nevertheless, in the past two months, Washington has offered $120 million in new financing to Sri Lankan small and medium-sized businesses, a $27 million contribution to the Sri Lankan dairy industry and $5.75 million humanitarian aid to help those hardest hit by the economic crisis.
The United States also committed $6 million in new grants to provide livelihood assistance for vulnerable populations and financial reform technical assistance that will help stabilize the economy.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by a severe shortage of foreign exchange which has prevented it from paying for essential imports of fuel and other necessities. .
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