President Maithripala Sirisena called on His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican today (14).
Pope Francis expressed his happiness over the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him when he visited Sri Lanka last January and said that Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation with friendly people.
His Holiness commended the initiatives taken by the President towards peacebuilding and reconciliation in the country.
The importance of protection of the environment to prevent climate change of today’s world was also discussed during this meeting.
Pope Francis further stated that the best way to combat terrorism activities and conflicts in the world is to halt the production of military equipment. His Holiness also praises the simple lifestyle of the President Sirisena.
President Maithripala Sirisena said that the blessing of the His Holiness Pope Francis is a great strength for the Sri Lanka’s path towards national reconciliation and peace and he emphasized that there is a great respect for Pope Francis not only in the hearts of the Sri Lankan Catholic community but also people of other religious communities in the country as well.
The Holy Father gave President Maithripala Sirisena a wooden depiction of the “Tree of Peace,” made with two intertwined olive branches and a book written by the Holy Father about the environmental protection and Social Justice was also presented to the President.
Subsequently, President Sirisena met with the Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican , Pietro Parolin and held discussions.
The Cardinal Secretary of State expressed his happiness over the Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and assured his fullest support in this regard.
The President said Sri Lanka is deeply committed to reconciliation and will continue to do so in the future too.
A detailed discussion was held regarding the development works of Sri Lanka between the President and the Cardinal Secretary of State, Parolin.
Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs- John Amaratunga, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply- Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Deputy Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs- Arundika Fernando, Kavinda Jayawardena-MP, Hector Appuhamy-MP, the Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Office- Rosy Senanayake and former MP Dayasritha Tissera also participated in this meeting.