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President returns from Nepal

President Maithripala Sirisena received blessings from the Maha Sangha after being welcomed at the Bandaranaike International Airport on his return from Nepal, on Sunday. Pictures by Chaminda Niroshana

President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the island on Sunday, after attending the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit that recently concluded in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A special ceremony was organised at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), to receive the President who arrived in the country after being selected as the Chairman of the next BIMSTEC Summit.

President Sirisena, who arrived at the BIA at 10.20 pm, was escorted to the VIP lounge on the red carpet.

Seth pirith was chanted by the Maha Sangha to invoke blessings on him.

BIMSTEC is a regional organisation comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal, constituting a contiguous regional unity. They include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

State leaders extended their best wishes to the President for his new appointment and expressed their confidence that BIMSTEC would move forward under his leadership.

President Sirisena held bilateral discussions with Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister K.P. Oli. They entered into two agreements to develop economical, social and cultural ties between both nations, to uplift youth affairs and training of government officers.

President Maithripala Sirisena also held discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Myanmarese President Win Myint and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, where they promised to provide assistance to economic and social development activities in Sri Lanka.

The President also participated in the Sri Lanka-Nepal Trade and Investment Conference during his visit. A farewell was organised at the Thribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, to bid farewell to President Sirisena, where several Nepali ministers and representatives were present.

President Maithripala Sirisnea had helped eradicate Sri Lanka’s negative image that was portrayed in the past and revived the good image of the motherland in the international arena. Sri Lanka would benefit by enhancing the country’s image in the international arena with its friendly nonaligned foreign policy.