US SAYS IT'LL ATTEMPT TO EXPEDITE CANAL STUDY

US SAYS IT'LL ATTEMPT TO EXPEDITE CANAL STUDY

The Bush administration Monday indicated it would try to complete a long- delayed study regarding the possible widening of the Panama Canal.

In a meeting here with President Bush, Panamanian President Guillermo Endara asked if a study of the issue could be "accelerated," Assistant Secretary of State Bernard Aronson told reporters. U.S. officials said they would make an effort to expedite the study, Mr. Aronson said.A study of the canal's future is being conducted by the United States, Japan and Panama. The deadline for completion of the study has run out, but it has been agreed to extend it another 30 months, a State Department official said. The study was delayed as a result of political tensions between the United States and Panama under the regime of ousted Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

At their meeting Monday, Panamanian President Endara and President Bush discussed a variety of economic and political issues.

Afterwards, President Bush announced he would nominate Gilberto Guardia, an engineer, as the Panamanian administrator of the canal.

In departure remarks, President Bush said both countries are "eager to look beyond the 1990s" to consider the future of the canal. However, he did not elaborate.