Gotabaya Rajapaksa unlikely to return soon - President

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made no indication that he would return to Sri Lanka soon. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Wickremesinghe admitted he is in contact with Rajapaksa to deal with administrative handover issues and other government business and said the former President had not told him he would return to Sri Lanka in the near future. 

This is contrary to the statement by Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena recently where he said it is likely that Rajapaksa would return to Sri Lanka soon. Rajapaksa is currently in Singapore on a visit visa after fleeing the country on July 13 amidst widespread protests calling for his resignation.  

In his interview, Wickremesinghe also opined it is not the right time for Rajapaksa to return as it would give rise to more political tensions in the country. Wickremesinghe also said he believes Sri Lanka has already hit rock bottom and the staff level agreement with the IMF will likely be finalised at the end of August. He also added it will be months before Sri Lankans see any improvement in the economy and their circumstances.