President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island this morning (5) after concluding a successful 3-day visit to Italy and Vatican.
First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa accompanied the President during the visit.
The President who left for Vatican on an invitation extended by the Holy See had an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis I last Friday (3) and extended an invitation for His Holiness to visit Sri Lanka in January next year.
At the cordial discussions between the President and His Holiness, President Rajapaksa informed His Holiness of the progress made be Sri Lanka following the defeat of terrorism. His Holiness the Pope expressed his gratitude to the President for explaining the current situation in Sri Lanka and said he was eagerly awaiting a visit to Sri Lanka.
After the meeting with His Holiness President Rajapaksa had a brief discussion with His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State and Prime Minister of the Holy See.
During the visit President met groups of Sri Lankan community in Rome and Milano and European Union countries such as UK, France, Germany, Norway and Swizterland.
President also launched the official website of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, EU branch and had discussions with SLFP organizers in South Italy.
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, 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, Minister of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Mr. Anthony Victor Perera, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena Chief Opposition Whip Mr. John Amaratunga, and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne were also accompanied the President during this tour.