Sri Lanka reopens two border crossings after election impasse

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The country’s President was elected in January to lead the country’s turbulent transition to democracy

Sri Lanka has reopened its borders to international travellers on Thursday after closing them a month ago, two weeks before it held an election.

The reopening of the border crossings is part of a package of international relations measures for nations which support the re-election of President Maithripala Sirisena.

A string of countries refused to recognise the results of the poll last month, which handed victory to the opposition leader.

The Islamic country was split apart by a decades-long civil war with Tamil rebels.

Most of the countries that refused to recognise the result – including Australia, India, Japan, the European Union and the United States – cited alleged corruption.

But Sri Lanka’s Sirisena has firmly rejected any accusations of corruption.

During the election campaign the President accused his challenger of plotting to topple him, and alleged foul play involving voter lists, candidate registrations and foreign funds donated to his campaign.

He also accused the media of bias.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sri Lanka reopened two border crossings on Thursday after closing them in June

But under the road-opening process, the nations will extend political and diplomatic recognition to Sri Lanka during a five-day visit by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to them.

Those countries will also continue to recognise Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation and will not resume issuing visas to Sri Lankans going to those countries, the Sri Lankan government says.

The Sri Lankan president was re-elected in January following a tumultuous transition to democracy.

The government effectively had to introduce new presidential term limits – which restricts a president to a maximum of two terms – amid international criticism for its handling of the Tamil rebellion.

On Thursday, a branch of Mr Sirisena’s party was vandalised in Ampara, central Sri Lanka.

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