President Mahinda Rajapaksa left the Island this afternoon (2) for a visit to Italy and the Vatican on an invitation by the Holy See. He is accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa.
President Rajapaksa will arrive at Fiumicino Airport in Rome in the evening.
The highlight of the President's visit will be an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis I at Apostolic Palace which will take place on Friday (03). Thereafter President Rajapaksa will have talks with His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State and Prime Minister of the Holy See.
During his stay in Italy, President will meet Sri Lankan expatriates living there and will also have discussions with SLFP organizers for the European Union, Rome and Northern Italy.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of State Resources and Enterprise Development Mr. Dayasritha Tissera, Minister of Social Services Mr. Felix Perera, Deputy Minister of External Affairs Mr. Neomal Perera, Chief Opposition Whip Mr. John Amaratunga, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne are also accompanying the President during this tour.