President Maithripala Sirisena who met with Pope Francis in Vatican today, held discussion on the process of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, the Vatican said.
A statement from the Holy See Press Office called the discussions ‘cordial’, and said the two men began the meeting by recalling the Holy Father’s visit to Sri Lanka last January. Their subsequent discussions focused on certain aspects of the country’s recent history and the process of peace and reconciliation that is underway, with the hope that it may contribute to promoting stable social harmony.
Furthermore, they emphasized the contribution of the Catholic Church in various sectors of society and the importance of interreligious dialogue.
There was also an exchange of opinions on the theme of the environment and an evaluation of the results of the Conference on climate change, recently concluded in Paris.
President Sirisena gave the Pope a large silver vase, and the Holy Father gave the Sri Lankan leader a wooden depiction of the “Tree of Peace,” made with two intertwined olive branches.
Meanwhile, President’s media division in a statement said that Pope Francis commended the initiatives taken by the President towards peace building and reconciliation in the country.
“Pope Francis further stated that the best way to combat terrorism activities and conflicts in the world is to halt the production of military equipment. His Holiness also praises the simple lifestyle of the President Sirisena.”
“President Maithripala Sirisena said that the blessing of the His Holiness Pope Francis is a great strength for the Sri Lanka’s path towards national reconciliation and peace and he emphasized that there is a great respect for Pope Francis not only in the hearts of the Sri Lankan Catholic community but also people of other religious communities in the country as well.”
Subsequently, President Sirisena met with the Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican, Pietro Parolin and held discussions.
The Cardinal Secretary of State expressed his happiness over the Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and assured his fullest support in this regard.
The President said Sri Lanka is deeply committed to reconciliation and will continue to do so in the future too.