Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was on his way to Singapore on Thursday and was expected to stay there for the time being, a Sri Lankan government source told Reuters, after the president fled to the Maldives from his home country.
Rajapaksa had repeatedly assured the speaker of parliament that he would step down on Wednesday, but his resignation letter had not arrived as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's anti-government demonstrators said Thursday they were ending their occupation of official buildings, as they vowed to press on with their bid to bring down the president and prime minister in the face of a dire economic crisis.
The United Kingdom, Singapore and Bahrain have asked its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Sri Lanka as an economic collapse in the country have led to massive protests. The island nation is experiencing a severe economic crisis which has led to shortages of basic necessities including medicines, cooking gas, fuel and food.
Here are the Live updates on Sri Lanka Crisis:
The Sri Lanka President was expected to stay in Singapore for the time being, a Lankan government source told Reuters.
Sri Lanka's anti-government protesters, who forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from his official residence at the weekend, announced Thursday that they will vacate key buildings they have overrun.
"We are peacefully withdrawing from the Presidential Palace, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister's Office with immediate effect, but will continue our struggle," a spokeswoman said.
Amid the unrest in Sri Lanka, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said that it is important to address the conflict and grievances of protestors.
"I continue to follow the situation in Sri Lanka very closely. It is important that the root causes of the conflict and protestors' grievances are addressed. I urge all party leaders to embrace the spirit of compromise for a peaceful and democratic transition," he tweeted.
Amid the unrest in Sri Lanka, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung has urged for the peaceful transfer of power within the country's constitutional framework and said that the US condemns all violence and calls for the rule of law to be upheld in the crisis-hit island nation.
Julie Chung also requested parties to work together to bring economic and political stability in Sri Lanka.
"We urge all parties to approach this juncture with a commitment to the betterment of the nation and to work quickly to implement solutions that will bring long-term economic & political stability," she said in a Tweet.
Sri Lankans waited for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today, a day after he fled to the Maldives to escape a popular uprising against an economic crisis blamed on his government's mismanagement.
Rajapaksa was expected to next head to Singapore though his final destination was not clear. His decision on Wednesday to make his ally Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the acting president triggered more protests, with demonstrators storming the premier's office demanding that he quit too.