No audience with the Pope during PM’s visit to Italy – MFA

The Foreign ministry has stated that Prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has neither requested nor received an invitation to visit the Vatican for an audience with His Holiness, the Pope.

In a statement, the ministry clarifies that the “Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister will shortly make a visit to Bologna, Italy, to participate in an international event which is to be graced by the Prime Minister of Italy and other dignitaries from Italy and other European countries.”

“The Foreign Minister, at his briefing conducted on Monday 6 September, clearly described the purpose of the scheduled visit. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the opening session of the international symposium which will be held in one of Europe’s oldest seats of learning, the University of Bologna.”

“At no stage has the Prime Minister requested nor has he received an invitation to visit the Vatican for an audience with His Holiness, the Pope,” the statement adds.

“The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister will be leaving Italy, at the conclusion of the events in Bologna, the statement further says.

Earlier today (08), Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith alleged there were moves by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to mislead the Pope and international community over the Easter Sunday investigations during the Prime Minister’s visit to Italy which will begin tomorrow. 

The Cardinal was referring to reports that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister of Foreign Affairs Professor G. L. Peiris will brief Pope Francis on the progress made on the investigations with regard to Easter Sunday attacks.

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