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Russians Sceptical About Invitation to Help Build 'Nicaragua Canal'

The project shows signs of stalling - Russia has said before it will only join when the project shows signs of real progress

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Originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines

The project to build the Nicaraguan Canal has stalled, reports the news website Svobodnaya Pressa. Previously, the idea was planned to be implemented with the help of Chinese investments. Now, however, Nicaragua is calling on all-comers, and not least of all – Russia.

“We look forward to the cooperation and participation of the international community, in particular the Russian Federation,” said Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Dec. 13.

The building of the waterway has been postponed for a year. The daily La Estrella de Panama attributed the main reason for the freezing of construction to a report by environmentalists raising concerns about the canal’s impact on the environment. But at the same time, the newspaper said the real factor in the postponement of the project was the financial problems of the main contractor – the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND Group).

"I suppose that China has refused to participate in the construction of the canal for now because of the lack of finances," said Mikhail Belyat, an expert on Latin America and a researcher at the Russian State Humanitarian University.

Mikhail Alexandrov, a senior expert of the Center for Military and Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, cautioned against Russian participation in the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal.

"I think that in the current situation, it is not worth Russia getting involved in this rather risky plan," said Alexandrov.

"Moreover, the whole project caused some doubts from the start. For example, it is unclear whether there was any Chinese state involvement in it. I think if China was interested in building the canal at a state level, the Chinese would not leave so easily," he said.

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