Mekong dam decision deferred

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The decision to build Xayaburi Dam in Laos, the first dam proposed on the lower Mekong, has been deferred in light of environmental concerns.

On Tuesday, government representatives of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia met to conclude the regional decision-making process on Xayaburi Dam, the first dam proposed on the lower Mekong.

The four lower Mekong basin countries agreed that the Xayaburi Dam issue be elevated to the ministerial level. The April 19 decision brings a much needed, if temporary, reprieve to the mighty Mekong River.

Nguyen Phuong Nga, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman, said countries through which the river flows should cooperate in using as well as protecting water resources and the environment.

Vietnam wants affected nations to study the impact of hydro projects on the Mekong before commissioning them, Nga said Monday.

"The Mekong River is of great significance to socio-economic development, and spiritual and cultural lives of people living along the riverbanks," she said.

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