President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently visiting Italy and Vatican met a large number of Sri Lankan expatriates in Italy yesterday (3). The meeting took place at Hotel Cavalieri in Rome.
Following the meeting the Sri Lankans highly commended the President for his service to the nation. They especially lauded the President for liberating the country from terrorism and establishing peace and stability while achieving rapid economic progress. They also said it is now possible for them to visit the Motherland at any time without any fear.
President Rajapaksa told the Sri Lankan community of the development that had taken place in the country after he assumed Presidency while giving special emphasis to post-conflict development. “No one is getting killed by bombs anywhere now. Highways which were only dreams for us before are now a reality. We will soon commence the construction of Kandy and Northern highways. Even the roads in rural areas are now been improved and carpeted. 96% of the population is now have electricity. We will be able to provide power to the remaining 4% by next year,” the President said.
President while elaborating the beautification projects that are now underway in Colombo and other cities said all the shanty dwellers in Colombo will be given new house ownerships by 2016. “People in villages now also enjoy the benefits available in the city while seeking to take best of village environment to the city. We are confident of the success in Sri Lanka’s journey to being the wonder of Asia. The construction of Colombo Port city which commenced recently is another landmark in this process. All the successes were achieved within a short period,” he added.
President Rajapaksa expressing his gratitude to the Sri Lankans in Italy and other European cities for protesting in Geneva against resolutions at UN Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka said a branch of the People’s Bank will be established in Rome very soon for their benefit. He also said measures will be taken to grant duty-free vehicle import facility to the Sri Lankan expatriates who make foreign remittance worth billions of rupees for the country.
President also posed for group photographs with the Sri Lankans.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris and Sri Lankan Ambassador in Italy Mr. Nawalage Bennet Cooray also addressed the gathering.
Minister of Social Services Mr. Felix Perera and Deputy Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resource Mr. Sarath Kumara Gunaratne were also present.