Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, says he will be among co-sponsors of a bill to break the 1977 treaties that will give control of the Panama Canal to Panama dictator Manuel Noriega.

"American engineering genius designed and built the canal, and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $7 billion for it," Hansen said."But when the Senate surrendered America's strategic and economic asset to the Panamanian government, it turned control of the canal over to a reputed drug dealer who has bullied his way to power, terrorized the citizens of Panama, destroyed the local economy and aligned himself with communist elements."

Hansen said he will join Rep. Phil Crane, R-Ill., to re-introduce legislation to annul the treaties.

He also praised former President Reagan, who recently urged President Bush to review the treaties, saying he opposed carrying them out - especially if Noriega remains in power.

"I commend Reagan's efforts but believe we must focus on steps that will protect the canal no matter what kind of government rules Panama. The security of the canal must not rely on the good graces of each passing Panamanian dictator," Hansen said.