Sri Lanka says financial bailout talks near end
Sri Lanka’s interim president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said on Monday the country was almost done bailout interviews with international lenders.
“The Acting President further explained that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were approaching. conclusionand assistance discussions with foreign countries are also progressing,” Wickremesinghe’s office said in a statement.
On Sunday evening, Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency as Sri Lanka continues to face a deep economic crisis. The move aims to quell unrest ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to elect a new president.
Sri Lanka is seeking a financial bailout from the IMF and other organizations. But senior officials say the country’s finances are so bad that even securing a bailout has been difficult. There was no comment from the IMF on Wickremesinghe’s statement.
The acting president said aid was being provided to people and steps were being taken to ease fuel and cooking gas shortages.
However, he said “elements within society” were causing unrest. He said disorder will not be allowed to harm the progress of the country.
Wickremesinghe said peaceful protesters who had real concerns would be heard by the government. He urged the political parties to put aside their differences and form “a multi-party government that would allow the country to recover from the economic crisis”.
Sri Lankan leaders have declared a state of emergency several times since April. It was then that the protests began against the government’s reaction to the economic crisis and the shortage of necessary goods.
Previous emergency declarations have allowed the military to arrest and detain people, search private property and put down public protests.
Last week, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Colombo and occupied the official home and office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He then fled to the Maldives Islands and then to Singapore.
Parliament accepted Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday. It met a day later to begin the process of electing a new president. A vote is expected on Wednesday.
The nation received a shipment of fuel providing aid to deal with severe shortages.
Wickremesinghe is six times Prime Minister considered an ally of Rajapaksa. He is one of the best candidates to win the full-time presidency. But the protesters also want him to resign.
Protesters accuse Rajapaksa and his powerful family of stealing from the government. They also say his misdirection of the economy led to its collapse. The family denied the corruption charges, but Rajapaksa admitted that some of his policies led to the crisis.
I am Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by Reuters and The Associated Press.
words in this story
bailout -not. the act of saving or salvaging something like a company or a country
conclusion — nm the act of finishing or completing something
We want to hear from you. We have a new comment system. Here’s how it works:
- Write your comment in the box.
- Below the box, you can see four images for social media accounts. They are for Disqus, Facebook, Twitter and Google.
- Click on an image and a box appears. Enter your social media account ID. Or you can create one on the Disqus system. It’s a blue circle with “D” on it. It’s free.
Every time you come back to comment on the Learning English site, you can use your account and see your comments and replies. Our feedback policy is here.