President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Sri Lanka today (10) after a successful official visit to the Middle East.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa left for the Middle East for an official visit on January 04th.The first stop for the President was the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where he met with the King of Jordan His Majesty King Abdulla II Ibn Al Hussein.
Following a warm welcome for President Rajapaksa, the two leaders held discussions on a number of topics relevant to both countries, including cooperation in defense-related activities and progress of the Joint Committee that was established after the signing of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2007.
President Rajapaksa after visiting the Kingdom of Jordan traveled to Palestine for a two-day state visit and there he held bilateral discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Government of Palestine on January 06th conferred President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the “Star of Palestine” – the highest award of the State of Palestine.
Later, the President opened the Mahinda Rajapaksa Vocational Training Centre in Betunia, Palestine. Following the opening of the training center, President Rajapaksa arrived at the Betunia Municipality Park to plant an olive tree.
Afterwards, the President and the First Lady visited the Sri Lanka Representative Office and saw the road name after the President, which is located opposite the Representative Office. The road was named “H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa Road” in November 2007 in appreciation of President Rajapaksa's work as the Founder President of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, hosted a dinner in honor of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa on Jan. 6 on the Eve of Eastern Christmas Celebrations.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa arrived in Jerusalem, Israel, on Jan. 08th for the final stop in their visit to the Middle East. The President and the delegation arrived in Jerusalem from Bethlehem where President Rajapaksa concluded a two-day visit, following another two-day visit in Jordan.
President Rajapaksa held bilateral talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour religious sites in Jerusalem’s Old City. On Jan. 10 the President met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, attend a tree-planting and met with a business delegation.
Israeli President Shimon Peres commended President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership, calling the achievements during President Rajapaksa’s tenure a “very impressive record.