Agreement on a new Panama Canal Treaty is imminent. Panamanian and American negotiators meeting in?
Agreement on a new Panama Canal Treaty is imminent. Panamanian and American negotiators meeting in Panama City, have been busy putting the last touches to a final draft which they expect to sign within days.
SYNOPSIS: Both sides have been locked in intensive negotiations at the city's Holiday Inn hotel since Monday (8 August).
The new treaty will replace the 1903 pact which gave the United States permanent control of the Canal, and will provide for a gradual handover of the waterway to Panama by the year 2,000. Panamanian delegation sources say they hope to reach final agreement by midnight on Wednesday (10 August). The main problem still to be resolved is future American payments to Panama for use of the Canal during the 23 year life of the treaty. The United States now pays Panama two point three million dollars (1.4 million pounds) a year. The Panamanians are seeking 460 million dollars (208 million pounds) on signature of the new treaty and 150 million dollars (87 million pounds) during the term of the contract. But even if agreement is reached, the new treaty still needs to be ratified by two thirds of the United States Senate and by a plebiscite in Panama.