Sri Lankan president seeks political unity to overcome economic crisis

Colombo, Aug 3 (EFE).- Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe Wednesday encouraged all parties to work together to lift the crisis-torn island out of “great danger” of economic catastrophe that may get worse.

“We are facing an unprecedented situation that our country had never faced in recent history. We are in great danger. The country could extricate and be secured from that danger, only if we all face this challenge together as one people,” Wickremesinghe said.

He was presenting the policy statement of his government in the house.

The newly-appointed president restated his aspirations to form an all-party government for a shared policy framework and urged all citizens and parliamentarians, regardless of political ideology, to contribute to nation-building.

“I took over a country that was in disaster. Severe economic crisis on one side, massive public opposition on the other. However, I decided to accept this critical challenge on behalf of my people and the country,” he said.

The island nation of 22 million people is grappling with the worst economic crisis in over seven decades.

Months-long mass protests forced the then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign on July 13.

Wickremesinghe was elected the new president in a parliamentary vote on July 20.

In his policy speech, the president stated that “unfavorable international economic factors” triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 outbreak aggravated the Sri Lankan problem.

He said the island suffered a massive loss due to hostility to foreign investment.

“Due to all these reasons…the people have been suffering severe hardship,” he said.

He stated that most of the problems that Sri Lankans were facing were progressively being remedied, such as minimizing power outages, importing fertilizers, and resolving gas and food shortages.

He thanked India for giving Sri Lanka a “breath of life” by aiding the country during the crisis.

Wickremesinghe underscored that “peaceful struggle is a fundamental right” of people but noted that he would not allow violence. EFE


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