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Panama rejects EU offer to media canal dispute

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January 20, 2014 12:31 PM EST | AP


PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — The Panama Canal Authority is rejecting an offer by the European Union to mediate its dispute with a Spanish-led consortium under contract to complete the canal expansion.

Administrator Jorge Quijano says the expansion project continues, but at the same 25 to 30 percent level it has since the conflict arose in November between the authority and the consortium, United for the Canal, over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.

EU spokesman Olivier Bailly said Monday that EU Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani accepted a request by the consortium to mediate.

But the canal authority said in an email to The Associated Press that it won't accept outside mediation.

The authority said the contract for completing the third set of locks already includes mechanisms to resolve disputes, and none involve third parties.