President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in the country Wednesday morning (Dec. 16) after a successful visit to Vatican, Rome, President’s Media Division said.
The President who arrived in Vatican on December 13 on a special invitation of Pope Francis called on the Pope on the 14th.
During the meeting the Pope 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. Pope Francis presented President Sirisena with a wooden depiction of the “Tree of Peace,” made with two intertwined olive branches and a book written by him 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 Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith on the 15th at St Thomas Church in Livia Bella in Rome. President Sirisena also visited St Peter’s Basilica Church on Tuesday, with his delegation.