President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in the country this morning (Dec. 16) after a successful visit to Vatican, Rome.
The President who arrived in Vatican on December 13 on a special invitation of Pope Francis called on His Holiness on the 14th.
During this meeting His Holiness commended the initiatives taken by the President towards peace building and reconciliation in the country. He also 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 country with friendly people.
The Holy Father presented President Sirisena with 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.
Subsequently, President Sirisena met with the Secretary of State of Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and held discussions.
The President participated in a banquet hosted by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Cardinal on the 15th at St Thomas Church in Livia Bella in Rome.
The Archbishop expressing his pleasure over the visit of President Sirisena said; “When the Holy Pope visited Sri Lanka, he said the simple habits and unpretentious nature of President Maithripala Sirisena was similar to his life style. When the Holy Pope said ‘President Sirisena is just like me’ I said ‘no you are just like President Sirisena,”.
President Sirisena also visited St Peter’s Basilica Church, with his delegation.