President Maithripala Sirisena says at present the Government has decided to exempt many courtiers from visa requirement when visiting the country for travel purposes as well as Buddhist religious activities.
The President made these remarks participating at the opening ceremony of the newly built Vihara Mandiraya at the International Cambodian Buddhist Center, Kaduwela, today (09).
The President has said that this decision was taken to promote the country’s tourism sector and with the aim of creating Buddhist revival. This decision will be effective from April.
President Sirisena said that according to a request made by the Maha Sangha regarding the issues face when obtaining visas to visit Sri Lanka from Cambodia, steps will be taken to exempt Cambodia from visa requirement when visiting the country for tourism and religious purposes.
The President pointed out that the main cause of the long-standing friendship between Sri Lanka and Cambodia is the Theravada Buddhist philosophy and the President also said that Sri Lanka as the centre for Theravada Buddhism will always take every possible step to develop it while strengthening relations with Buddhist countries.
The President, who visited the International Buddhist Centre, first engaged in the religious observances and secured blessings and later opens the Vihara Mandiraya unveiling the plaque.
The President gifted a Bo Sapling of the Sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree to the Chief Incumbent of the Temple Ven. Ariyawansa Nayaka Thero to plant at the Lanka Viharaya in Cambodia.
A memento was presented to the President by Most Venerable Am Lim Heng Maha Nayaka Thera, Deputy Sangharaja of Cambodia and the President also presented a memento to the Nayaka Thera.
The President also felicitated the Cambodian architect who contributed to the creation of the shrine room. The President also presented the felicitation certificates to the Bhikkus of Cambodian International Buddhist Center.