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Delegation To Head To Laos Over Controversial Dam

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

A fisherman works near the site of the proposed Xayaburi Dam in Paksey, northern Laos, file photo.

A fisherman works near the site of the proposed Xayaburi Dam in Paksey, northern Laos, file photo.

Cambodia will send an eight-member team to Laos on a fact-finding mission over the controversial Xayaburi dam project at the end of the month, officials said Thursday.

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia will send an eight-member team to Laos on a fact-finding mission over the controversial Xayaburi dam project at the end of the month, officials said Thursday.

Plans for the Mekong River dam have been strongly criticized by Cambodia and Vietnam, who share the lower part of the river with Laos and who have millions of citizens who rely on its waters. Both want more impact studies done before the dam is built.

Cambodian Mekong River Commission officials say they want to verify reports that construction of the dam is continuing, despite these objections. The Laos government has said the dam is not under construction, but regional media reports have quoted construction officials saying the opposite.

“We have to visit to verify,” said Sin Liny, vice president of Cambodia’s Mekong River Commission.

Chea Phallika, a community rights advocate for the NGO Forum, which will also join the delegation, said the dam can have serious impacts on Cambodians and their livelihoods.

Sin Liny said Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong met with Prime Minister Hun Sen when he paid his respects for the passing of former king Sihanouk and encouraged a delegation to visit “as soon as possible.”
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