The United States weighed into the ongoing dispute between the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) and the GUPC consortium, led by Spanish company Sacyr, over the stoppage in works to widen the waterway, calling on Friday for a "rapid solution to ensure the complete resumption" of the project.
Work was paralyzed this week when the PCA and GUPC were unable to resolve an impasse stemming from $1.6 billion in cost overruns the consortium has incurred in the project to build a new set of locks on the waterway.
Sacyr chairman Manuel Manrique told EL PAÍS that work on "the project is coming to a halt," on Thursday as the two parties continued to tussle over who should assume responsibility for the lack of liquidity.
The US is the principle user of the Panama Canal. Washington has been "closely following" developments, a spokesman for the State Department told news wire Efe. "A swift conclusion to the widening of the canal is important for the commercial activity of the US," he said. Work is scheduled to end in 2015.