President To Meet Pope Francis Today

President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Rome yesterday evening local time and is scheduled to meet Pope Francis today, Presidential Media Unit said.

The President was cordially welcomed at the Rome Airport by a delegation including Vatican Chief of Protocol Jose Bettancourt, Sri Lankan Ambassador in Italy Navalage Bennet Cooray and Sri Lanka Representative to the Holy See and to Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha.

President Rajapaksa is to meet the Pope at the Apostolic Palace, Pope’s official residence, today.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in January 2015. He will be the third Pope to visit the country. In 1970, Pope Paul VI visited the island and Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1995.

The Sri Lankan delegation includes first lady Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa, Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, Minister of External Affairs Prof GL Peiris and several other ministers, Chief Organizer of the Opposition John Amaratunge and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Kshenuka Seneviratne.

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