President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa, along with the Sri Lankan delegation, arrived Monday morning in Palestine on a two-day state visit.
President Rajapaksa was received in Palestine by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah,
Palestinian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr. Anwar H. Al-Agha, Sri Lanka's Acting Representative in Palestine Mr. Siraj Ahamed and the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Bethlehem Mr. Micheal Shomali.
Upon arrival, President Rajapaksa visited the mausoleum of the former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to lay a wreath. President Rajapaksa and the entire family met the late President Arafat back in 1997 when he visited Sri Lanka.
During the day, President Rajapaksa and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will conduct a one-on-one meeting as well as engage in extended bilateral discussions with their respective delegations.
The Palestinian Government is scheduled to confer President Rajapaksa with the “Star of Palestine” - the highest award of the State of Palestine.
President Rajapaksa is also expected to open a vocational training center, plant an olive tree at the Betunia Municipality Park, meet with members of the Sri Lanka-Palestine Friendship Association and attend midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Parliamentarians Ms. Kamala Ranatunga and Mr. Roshan Ranasinghe, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Jordan Mr. Gamini Rajapakse are a part of the delegation.