SL President leaves for Italy

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 09:22 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wednesday morning around 11:00 a.m. left Colombo on a three-day official visit to Italy. Three Catholic ministers in the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government Messrs: Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Milroy Perera and Felix Perera also accompanied Mr.Rajapaksa, Presidential Secretariat sources said.

Rohitha Bogollagama, Foreign Minister who is already in Rome would join Rajapaksa when the latter meets Pope Benedict on April 19 at Vatican.

Rajapaksa is to brief the Pope on the current political and security situation in Sri Lanka and the present status of the peace talks.

Meanwhile the Human Rights Watch headquartered in USA has requested the Pope to express his concern over the human rights violation in Sri Lanka to Rajapaksa when he meets him. Asian Regional Director of the HRW, Brad Adams on Monday has sent a five-page memorandum to the Pope on the Sri Lanka situation dealing on five topics regarding abduction, disappearances, unlawful arrests, human rights violations and forceful resettlement of internally displaced families. HRW has begged the Pope to discuss these issues with Rajapaksa when he meets him, media sources said.



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