UN urges parties to engage in dialogue to ensure transition of government in Sri Lanka

UN Secretary General, António Guterres – Pedro Fiuza/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the parties to engage in dialogue to ensure a smooth transition of government and find sustainable solutions to the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

«The Secretary-General condemns all acts of violence and calls for those responsible to be held accountable, underlining the paramount importance of maintaining peace. The United Nations stands ready to support Sri Lanka and its people,» said his spokesman, Farhan Haq, in a statement.

This Saturday thousands of people demonstrated in Colombo and other cities of Sri Lanka to protest against the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after months of mobilizations. The demonstrators stormed the official presidential residence and thus culminated months of demonstrations.

Previous information from the Speaker of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, suggested that the head of state had fled the island, although, in declarations to the Asian news agency ANI, he later admitted to having been mistaken during his interview with the British BBC, where he had stated that he was on board a warship outside the country’s territorial waters.

Thus, the Speaker of Parliament has confirmed, as reported by the local media, that both Rajapaksa and the current Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, are in Sri Lankan territory.

Rajapaksa has confirmed this Monday to Wickremesinghe that he will resign his post next Wednesday, at a time when the country is the scene of protests due to the increase in prices and lack of food, medicines and fuel.

Now, the Sri Lankan Parliament must elect a new president on July 20, as announced by one of the ministers of the Government Prasanna Ranatunga and reported by the news portal NewsWire, although Wickremesinghe must be sworn in as president of the country for a limited period.

In this context, the island nation is immersed in what is its worst economic crisis since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. In fact, this Monday long queues are being recorded in the streets of the capital, where citizens are waiting to visit Rajapaksa’s now abandoned home.

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