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Sri Lankan President reaches Maldives

Colombo, July 13 (UNI): Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in the neighbouring Maldives in the early hours on Wednesday on an AN32 troop transport plane from the Sri Lanka Air Force, ahead of his expected resignation after months of protests, Maldivian airport officials said.

Air traffic control at the Male Airport had initially refused the plane’s request to land until order by the Speaker of Maldivian Parliament Majlis and former President, Mohamed Nasheed, the officials said.

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The President chose to leave for Maldives after Sri Lanka’s main international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport officials refused to stamp his passport when trying to leave for Dubai on Tuesday.

Rajapaksa reportedly missed four flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He, his wife and a dozen other family members and close aides spent the night at a nearby military base.

The President had said he would resign on Wednesday to make way for a unity government after protesters stormed his official residence demanding he step down after three months of continuous protests by the dissenting public.

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