President’s visit to the Vatican, a great success:
Spiritually, a sanctifying experience
President Mahinda Rajapaksa greets the Holy Father, Benedict XVI
The Vatican pledged unconditional support to the Government’s
reconciliation process. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to the
Vatican and meeting the Holy Father, Benedict XVI was a great success.
The Vatican accorded a warm welcome to the President and his delegation.
Former Attorney General Mohan Pieris told Asian Tribune, “The support
of the Vatican was refreshing and a boost to the President to know that
the Holy See is 100 percent behind the Government’s reconciliation
process. Vatican sources said that the Government should continue to
work with the same commitment as they are doing now”.
Mohan Pieris who is also the Special Advisor to the Cabinet of
Ministers and the Chairman, Inter Agency Commission to Implement the
Interim Recommendations of the LLRC was a member of President
Rajapaksa’s delegation to Italy and Vatican from June 7-8.
Asked about the President’s visit to the United Kingdom, Italy and
the Vatican, Pieris said it was very succesful.
“I did not visit the UK and I can’t speak on the President’s to
“I was in the delegation to Rome. The visit to Rome was extremely
successful. The bilateral relationship was further strengthened. The
Vatican had pledged unconditional support to the Government and its
reconciliation process,” Pieris said.
No reference was made to the Bishop Rayappu Joseph.
Asian Tribune pointed out that Bishop Rayappu’s security problem will
be taken up when the President meets the Pope. “But now you say it was
not taken up by the Pope?”
“This matter was not taken up and as far as I am concerned there is
no such problem and there was no discussion about it”, Mohan Pieris
Former AG Mohan Pieris
He said that numerous matters were covered in the discussions with
the Pope and with the Cardinals, but there was nothing in writing.” We
had discussions and matters of such common platforms were agreed upon
for further action.”
He said, “The Vatican was of the view that the Government is doing
everything within its power in the reconciliation process and they
pledged support to the reconciliation process and they will facilitate
the process in the best way they can.”
Pieris said, in Rome, the President and his delegation was received
by the Director General of FAO Jose Grazino da Silva at the FAO
headquarters. A brief meeting was held between President Rajapaksa and
his delegation and the FAO Director General.
He said President Rajapaksa attended Vesak celebrations at the FAO
headquarters in Rome as a special guest. It was attended by top Bhikkhus
in Italy, Director General of FAO José Graziano da Silva, diplomatic
community and Buddhists living in Rome, he said.
Buddhists in Rome extended a warm welcome to President Rajapaksa who
is a widely accepted Buddhist leader in the world.
Chief Incumbent of the Rome Buddhist Vihara Ven. Molligoda
Dheerananda Thera said, it was a significant day that Vesak was
celebrated in Rome since it coincided with the President’s 42nd
anniversary of entering Parliament.
The Bhikkus wished the President well and chanted Jaya Piritha to
invoke blessings on him. Pieris said that it was a great event and there
was interaction with the civil society which included some members of
the Tamil diaspora, and it went off well.
The President held two meetings with them which included some members
of the diaspora. He said Deputy Minister Neomal Perera saw the
earthquake affected area with the Ambassador.
The President also had a one on one meeting with the Pope and talks
with the Cardinals. The President’s delegation included First Lady
Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera,
Ambassador Asitha Perera and Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam who is
accredited to the Vatican, Presdient’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.
Pieris said, “It was a spiritually and sanctifying experience and we
exchange views in a frank and sincere environment.”
Courtesy: Asian Tribune