Sri Lankan Prez inaugurates strategic port in Hambantota

Sri Lanka`s new port in Hambantota has been built with Chinese assistance.

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s new port in the southern city of Hambantota, built with Chinese assistance, was on Thursday formally commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the symbolic entry of a converted troopship.

The port located in Rajapaksa`s home district of Hambantota has been named after the President and the inauguration today coincided with his 65th birthday celebrations.

"When I came to power, I promised an honourable peace and a new Sri Lanka. I have kept my promise and built a new country," Rajapaksa said in a speech.

The project is funded by the Chinese government and the first of the four-phase project has been completed at a cost of USD 672 million, officials said.

"Jetliner", the naval vessel that was used for troops transportation during the 30-year-old civil war, entered the harbour followed by two other vessels commissioning the harbour.

Port officials say that more than 2,000 hectares of land adjoining the harbour will be declared as a special economic zone to boost commercial and industrial activities.