The Palestinian Government conferred President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka with the honorary title of “Star of Palestine”
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the honorary title of “Star of Palestine” received from Palestinian President Dr. Mahmoud Abbas
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation arrived in Palestine on Monday (6th January) on a two-day state visit.
On arrival in Palestine, the President and the Sri Lankan delegation was received by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah,Palestinian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr. Anwar H. Al-Agha, Sri Lanka's Acting Representative in Palestine Mr. Siraj Ahamed and the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Bethlehem Mr. Micheal Shomali.
The President visited the mausoleum of the former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to lay a wreath. President Rajapaksa and the entire family met the late President Arafat back in 1997 when he visited Sri Lanka.
During the day, President Rajapaksa and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas conducted a one-on-one meeting as well as engaged in extended bilateral discussions with their respective delegations.
The Palestinian Government conferred President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the honorary title of “Star of Palestine”, which is the highest award of the State of Palestine. Speaking at this function the President told the gathering that relations between Sri Lanka and the State of Palestine are exceptional and he himself and the Sri Lankan government remain committed to extending fullest support to the State of Palestine and the friendly people of Palestine
The President held bilateral discussions at the Presidential Palace in the city of Ramallah with President Dr. Mahmoud Abbas and during the friendly and warm discussion President Abbas recalled his two visits to Sri Lanka respectively in 2008 and 2012.
He said that he is honored to receive the President and emphasized the longstanding cordial relations between Palestine and Sri Lanka and expressed hope that these relationships will improve more and more in the future.
Dr. Abbas expressed his gratitude for the support Sri Lanka extended for Palestine to gain the status as a Non-member Observer State in the United Nations and updated the President on the ongoing peace process with Israel.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured Dr. Abbas that Sri Lanka will always support the Palestinian cause and said that it is his wish and the wish of the people of Sri Lanka to see the early emergence of an independent Palestinian State. The President said relations between the two countries get stronger year after year and apprised the Palestine President of the current developments in Sri Lanka.
He said that within a short period of four years following the end of terrorism, Sri Lanka has made significant progress, in terms of reconstruction, resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation. President Rajapaksa also briefed Dr. Abbas on the Northern Provincial Council elections.
While noting that there has been no terrorist incident reported in Sri Lanka since 2009, the President said in comparison to other provinces in the country more resources have been allocated for the development of Northern and Eastern Provinces. The President also said that the Sri Lankan government took a calculated risk in releasing the rehabilitated child soldiers into society within a short period of time.
An agreement for establishing a Sri Lanka Palestine Joint Economic Commission and an MOU for establishing the Mahinda Rajapaksa Vocational Training Centre in Palestine were signed during this visit.
Story and Photograph The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka