Sri Lanka, trapped in a deep economic crisis, has been forced to make another drastic decision to close its embassies in two countries Norway and Iraq and its consulate in Sydney, Australia. Sources say Sri Lanka has temporarily closed these foreign missions.
Amid violence and political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the cabinet tendered mass resignations late on 3 March. However, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa did not resign.
The possibility of forming a national (all-party) government in Sri Lanka is strong now, with leaders of the opposition fancying their chances in a yet-to-be formed dispensation, or so the current government had presumed. However, this reconciliatory proposal of President Rajapaksa had no takers as the opposition leaders flatly refused to be a part of it.
Mass protests against President Rajapaksa are increasing amid the ongoing economic crisis in Colombo. Locals protested against the Sri Lankan government at Independence Square yesterday. The protesters demanded the resignation of the president.
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Sajith Premadasa, said the country’s two main opposition parties, the SJB and the JVP, had rejected the president’s request to form an all-party interim government. They demanded the president’s resignation.
Earlier, amid the failure to check widespread demonstrations in Colombo by imposing a curfew in the capital, President Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification late Friday night, declaring a state of emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect from 1 April.
In the midst of Sri Lanka’s deteriorating economy, its ally India has come in handy. New Delhi has provided Colombo not only diesel and other petrochemicals but also rice and other food items and extended a big lease. India has given Sri Lanka financial assistance packages of $ 1 billion and $ 1.5 billion in two phases. This has increased support for India in the population of Sri Lanka. At the same time, there is palpable public resentment towards China, which had invested heavily in Sri Lanka but on difficult terms, forcing their country to even give away the control of the Hambantota port.