Mekong River Commission leaves Xayaburi Dam off agenda
A ministerial meeting of the four member countries of the Mekong River Commission kicked off in Laos Wednesday without the controversial Xayaburi Dam project on its agenda, sources said.
"There was no special request to discuss the Xayaburi project anymore, and if there was, Laos would reconfirm its decision," said Viraphonh Viravong, Lao vice minister of energy and mines.
Laos in November decided to go ahead with the 3.5-billion-dollar hydropower project, a joint venture between the Lao government and Thai firms, despite requests for a comprehensive environmental impact study.
The dam will be the first to be built on the lower Mekong. China has built four dams on the upper mekong already.
"For over two years, the proposed Xayaburi Dam has sharply divided the region’s governments and become one of the world’s highest profile trans-boundary water disputes," said Pianporn Deetes of International Rivers.
"As Laos has consistently refused to cooperate with its neighbors,it’s no surprise that the issue is not on the agenda," she said.
The commission was set up in 1995 by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to jointly manage the development of the mekong River thatstarts in China and passes through the four downstream nations.//DPA