Cambodia and Vietnam will write a joint letter to the Lao and Thai governments urging that construction of the Xayaburi dam, in northern Laos, be halted, a spokesman for the government’s Mekong committee said yesterday.
Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor met with Vietnam’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Nguyen Minh Quang on Tuesday after claims last week that construction of the hydro-electric dam on the Lower Mekong River had escalated.
“They discussed two issues,” said Te Navuth, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee.
“One is to proceed with the drafting of a letter … to both Thailand and Laos.”
“We will ask our Lao counterpart to halt any construction of the dam until the study is finished,” he said, adding he expected the letter to be drafted by the end of the month.
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – the four Mekong River Commission states – agreed in December that further studies on the environmental effects of the 1,260-megawatt project were needed before construction could begin.
Laos has since announced that a study it commissioned proved the dam would have no negative effects on communities downstream.
The environmental groups WWF and International Rivers have said this study was not comprehensive.
Te Navuth said the two ministers had also signed a memorandum of understanding to support a proposed study by Vietnam on the Mekong Delta.
“It is the platform for co-operation between Cambodia and Vietnam to understand the impact caused by any development upstream,” he said.
Mystery has surrounded the project since Thai development firm Ch. Karnchang announced on April 17 it had signed a contract to begin construction.
Ame Trandem, Southeast Asia program director of International Rivers, told the Post last weeka village was being relocated to make way for construction.
Under a 1995 agreement, a country must consult MRC members before proceeding with such construction.
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