The organizers of the 2008 Dakar Rally Raid, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), confirmed at a press conference in Lisbon that the decision had been taken to cancel this year's rally, which was due to start from the Portuguese capital on Saturday 5th January.
An official statement issued by ASO stated that, "After different exchanges with the French government - in particular with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - and based on their firm recommendations, the organizers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally."
The statement referred to "direct threats targeted directly against the race", saying that "no other decision but the cancellation of the event could be taken by ASO."
"ASO's first responsibility," it continued, "is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, the amateur and professional competitors, the technical personnel, the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. ASO therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally."