Pope calls for comprehensive settlement

Pope Benedict XVI has called for a speedy and comprehensive settlement in Sri Lanka following the end of 30 years of war.

Reports from the Vatican said that the Pope made this appeal during his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Rome today.

The steps taken to foster economic and social development and reconciliation between the communities affected by the long internal conflict that has torn apart Sri Lanka were the main issues discussed at the meeting.

The Sri Lankan President was accompanied to the Vatican by his wife, who is Catholic, and a retinue of eight men and two women, including the Minister and the Deputy Foreign Minister, the Governor of the Central Bank and the former Minister of Justice.

A statement released by the Vatican Press Office said the talks were “cordial” and President Rajapaksa gave the pope a clay pot with spices from Sri Lanka and a silver vase.

The Pope presented him with a glazed ceramic and a copy of an etching of the ‘600 representing St. Peter’s Square.