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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

SAARC Car Rally in its penultimate leg in Sri Lanka

Colombo, 11 April, (Asiantribune.com): The SAARC Car Rally in its penultimate run began its Sri Lanka leg at Galle Face road yesterday (10th April 2007) at 7.00 a.m. with a ceremonial flag off by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. On the first day, the Rally will pass through Kalutara, Galle, Welligama and will reach Tissamaharama. Also present at the ceremony were Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Cultural Affairs Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, Sports and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A. Bhaila.

The SAARC Rally started its first leg in Bangladesh on 15th March and traveled through Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India. In New Delhi the Rally was formally flagged off by the eight Heads of State /Government on the first day of the SAARC Summit on 3rd April.

The SAARC Car Rally was a proposal by the Prime Minister of India at the 13th SAARC Summit in 2005. It was marked as a curtain raiser to the 14th SAARC Summit held in New Delhi on 3-4 April 2007. The objectives of the Rally are to promote connectivity, people to people contact, trade, tourism and road transport in the region.

The Rally will continue and it will reach Kandy via Nuwara Eliya on the second day. On the third and final day the Rally will travel to Dambulla, Anuradhapura and return to Colombo in the evening. The journey of 930 km in Sri Lanka will run through the coastal belt, hilly areas and historical cities which will give an exposure to the diverse attractions in Sri Lanka. A seminar on intra regional tourism promotion is being organized by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce with regional participation to coincide with the SAARC Car Rally. A series of activities have been planned to welcome the Rally en route by the respective District Secretariats.

The Rally is being held on a public-private partnership basis and Sri Lanka Insurance and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce have extended sponsorship assistance to conduct the Rally together with the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Rally received wide acclaim throughout the region. It has symbolized vividly the regional identity, forged new friendship and strengthened goodwill among the peoples of the region. It is firmly believed that these friendship and ties will be further strengthened during the Sri Lanka leg of the event.

The cars were freighted to Sri Lanka from Mumbai port onboard an Indian Navy Vessel and the participants arrived in Colombo by air. There are around 100 participants from the region with 30 vehicles on tour in Sri Lanka.

The Rally will end in the Maldives on the 13th of April.

- Asian Tribune -

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