President Mahinda Rajapaksa, commencing his four-day state visit to Maldives and Seychelles, arrived in Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male this evening. First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa is accompanying the President.
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim warmly welcomed President Rajapaksa and the First Lady at the airport.
President Rajapaksa was accorded a 12-gun salute by the National Defense Force of Maldives. National anthems of Sri Lanka and the Maldives were played followed by a guard of honor. The welcoming ceremony comprised of cultural items performed by students. President Rajapaksa and the delegation then proceeded to the Presidentís Office in Male with a cultural procession.
During his stay in the Maldives, President Rajapaksa will hold bilateral discussions with the Maldivian President and also call on former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Official discussions between the two countries will also be held after which Sri Lanka and Maldives will sign bilateral agreements on health and investment.
The Maldivian President will also host a state banquet for President Rajapaksa and the First Lady.
Following the Maldives visit, President Rajapaksa will leave for Seychelles.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Higher Education Mr. S.B. Dissanayake, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Members of Parliament Mr. A.H.M. Azwar, Mr. Lohan Ratwatta and Mr. Udith Lokubandara, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne are accompanying the President.