Chancellor urges deputies to push for dialogue in Haiti and end the stalemate

Santo Domingo.- Roberto Álvarez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, recently addressed three commissions of deputies to discuss the crisis arising from the construction in Haiti of a canal on the Masacre River, an action considered illegal by the Dominican government. Álvarez emphasized the need to stop the construction of the canal over the Dajabón River, citing environmental and technical concerns based on the limited documentation available. This meeting was attended by the Armed Forces, Border Affairs, Foreign Relations, International Cooperation commissions of the Lower House and Alfredo Pacheco, president of the chamber.

Since Luis Abinader’s administration became aware of the construction of the canal in the Juana Méndez area, bordering Dajabón, it has consistently called for the cessation of works to facilitate dialogue on Haitian interests.

Álvarez highlighted the diplomatic efforts made by the Foreign Ministry to address this issue. On April 27, 2021, a diplomatic note was sent to the Haitian Government demanding the cessation of unilateral construction for violating the 1929 Treaty of Peace, Perpetual Friendship and Arbitration between both nations. While a meeting was requested by Haiti on May 5 and agreed to by the Dominican Republic on May 7 within the Dominican-Haitian Mixed Bilateral Commission, Álvarez clarified that the construction agreement was not reached at the subsequent meeting on May 27. The Dominican claim to stop construction and present the pertinent studies was maintained.

Álvarez stated that the construction of the canal is illegal, citing the lack of official notification to the Dominican Government as required by the 1929 Treaty and the absence of an environmental impact study. Dominican technical analyzes indicate possible serious environmental damage to both nations and the risk of flooding of the CODEVI binational industrial park, which employs many Haitians and affects the populations of Dajabón and Juana Méndez.

Due to the Haitian government’s indifference to these concerns, the Dominican Republic sought international assistance, contacting the Secretary General of the OAS in Washington, DC, on September 24. Following this, OAS Director of Legal Affairs Jean Michel Arrighi and another official visited both the Dominican Republic and Haiti to better understand the situation.

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