Panama Canal officials set deadline of no more than a week from Feb. 12 to restart work on canal expansion, says failure to reach agreement on cost dispute would leave no alternative than to complete project without Spanish-led consortium

PANAMA CITY, Panama , February 17, 2014 () – The Panama Canal has set a target of no more than a week to reach a deal to jumpstart work on a multi-billion dollar expansion of the waterway amid a cost row, its administrator said on Wednesday.

Panama Canal Authority head Jorge Quijano, who said earlier on Wednesday the sides were close to a deal, warned that failure to reach an agreement would leave no alternative but to complete the project without a consortium led by Spain's Sacyr .

"I think we have no more than a week, and that is the target we have set," Quijano said. "If we go beyond that, then we will have no alternative."

(Reporting by Lomi Kriel; Editing by Simon Gardner)

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