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Dominican Republic makes dialogue with Haiti subject to the cessation of the construction of a river canal

The Government of the Dominican Republic has stressed this Thursday that to resume dialogue with Haiti it is essential that the authorities of Port-au-Prince stop “immediately” the construction of a canal over the Masacre River, an issue that has confronted the governments of the Dominican Republic in recent weeks. the island of Hispaniola.

In response to the call of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, to resolve this matter through diplomatic channels, Santo Domingo has stressed the need for both parties to have “institutional capacities and effective control of their territory”.

“The Dominican Republic recognizes that dialogue is the ideal mechanism to resolve any difference; but an effective dialogue requires that both parties have not only good faith, but also the capabilities (…) to apply the agreed solutions,” reads a statement. of the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Likewise, Santo Domingo has stressed that the Masacre River, also known as Dajabón and which “has its source and mouth” within Dominican territory, is “inalienable.” “This condition implies that its owner, the Dominican people, cannot under any circumstances deprive themselves or be deprived of its use,” the diplomacy adds.

Along these lines, the Dominican Foreign Ministry has highlighted that diverting the natural course of the river would mean an “alienation of an essential public domain asset” that also “supports the productive activities of the area and its natural resources.” “.

Finally, Santo Domingo has asserted that the Haitian authorities should have provided the information related to “the cartographic, topographic, geological, geotechnical, hydrological or environmental impact studies” necessary to be able to evaluate “the benefits and risks of the project.”

The Secretary General of the OAS has called on the authorities of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to resolve the conflict regarding the hydraulic resources of the Masacre River – border between both countries – through dialogue.

After giving an ultimatum, the president of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, decreed in mid-September the closure of borders with Haiti, the cessation of the issuance of visas to Haitian citizens and the suspension of entry to those involved in the work.

The construction of a canal on the Masacre River has generated unrest in Santo Domingo because, according to Abinader, it may affect some 14,000 hectares of arable land in his country and another 10,000 in Haitian territory. It could also cause “vital” environmental damage to the Saladilla lagoon, one of the Caribbean country’s main wetlands.

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