3.9 C
Sofia
Thursday, March 7, 2024

Sri Lanka ex-leader claims ousted over China investments

Sri Lanka ex-leader claims ousted over China investments

by AFP Staff Writers

Colombo (AFP) March 7, 2024

Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa ended a long silence over his ouster Thursday by releasing a book claiming “geopolitical rivalry” between China and other countries was responsible for his downfall.

Rajapaksa was forced into temporary exile after protesters stormed his official residence in 2022, following months of street protests over the island nation’s worst-ever economic crisis.

In a self-published account of his downfall, “The Conspiracy”, Rajapaksa defends his government’s economic policies, which forced an unprecedented foreign debt default and saw months of severe food and fuel shortages.

Instead, he said “Chinese funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka after 2006 brought in an element of geopolitical rivalry” that precipitated his overthrow.

“It would be extremely naive for anyone to claim that there was no foreign hand in the moves made to oust me from power,” Rajapaksa wrote.

Rajapaksa did not name specific countries, but the United States had in the past repeatedly warned Sri Lanka it risked falling into a Chinese debt trap by signing a raft of infrastructure deals.

At the time of his ouster, the 74-year-old was initially flown out of Sri Lanka aboard a military aircraft and emailed his resignation from Singapore, but he has since returned home.

In the book, Rajapaksa claimed that protesters who took to the streets as the economy ground to a halt in the final months of his tenure had “foreign funding”, without offering evidence.

Beijing has funded several development projects in Sri Lanka, including a rarely-used convention centre and airport in Rajapaksa’s hometown Hambantota, which critics have slammed as white elephants.

China is also Sri Lanka’s biggest single bilateral lender, owning around 10 percent of the island’s foreign debt.

Rajapaksa was once esteemed among the Sinhala Buddhist majority for helping end Sri Lanka’s long civil war in 2009 while serving as the top defence official during his brother Mahinda’s presidency.

He was elected in a landslide in 2019 but his popularity crashed in tandem with Sri Lanka’s economy less than three years later, as supermarket shelves stood empty and days-long queues formed at petrol stations.

Economists blamed the sudden downturn on ill-advised tax cuts by Rajapaksa’s government that left it unable to respond to the collapse of foreign exchange reserves following the coronavirus pandemic.

Political commentator Kusal Perera said Rajapaksa’s downfall was due to his own inept handling of the economy.

“He was popular as a Sinhala-Buddhist leader thanks to media hype, but he was simply unable to deliver,” Perera told AFP.

Rajapaksa’s successor Ranil Wickremesinghe has brokered an International Monetary Fund rescue package and sharply raised taxes to restore government finances.

Related Links

Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com ↗
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com ↗


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 – Space Media Network ↗. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled “by Staff Writers” include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report’s information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement ↗. Additional information can be found here at About Us ↗.

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles