PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – Haiti on Friday said it had taken “note of the decision” by the Dominican Republic to close its borders insisting that as a sovereign nation it will decide on the “exploitation of its natural resources.
“The Republic of Haiti will always favour dialogue; dialogue which was underway and on a good track between the Haitian delegation, duly mandated, with their Dominican counterparts of the Binational Commission, at the Dominican Chancellery, in the Dominican Republic, when the announcement of the Dominican President to close its borders was made,” the government said in a statement.
President Luis Abinader, on Thursday issued an order for the complete closure of the country’s border with Haiti, encompassing land, air, and sea routes, effective from 6:00 am on Friday.
He said that the Ministry of Defense, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, is fully prepared to enforce this directive.
Earlier this week, Abinader had announced the suspension of visas to Haitians as the two countries that make up the Caribbean island of Hispaniola continue to be at odds over the recent excavation of a supposed canal in Haiti that the Spanish-speaking country says will divert water from the Massacre River and harm its farmers and the environment.
The river, which runs in both countries, is named for a bloody battle between Spanish and French colonisers in the 1700s.
Last week, the Dominican government sent a crew to monitor the construction of the canal from across the border, insisting that it wasn’t an intimidation tactic but rather an offer to help detain, if necessary, civilians that might be working on the project without permission.
In its statement, the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country said that as a sovereign country it can “decide on the exploitation of its natural resources.
“It has, like the Dominican Republic, with which it shares the Massacre River, the full right to take catches there, in accordance with the 1929 agreement. The government of the Republic of Haiti will take all necessary measures to protect the interests of the Haitian people.
”The government of the Republic of Haiti calls for the protection of lives and property, on both sides of the border, and respect for international conventions governing the matter” the statement said, assuring Haitians that the government “will take all measures so that the irrigation of the Maribahoux plain is carried out within standards, under the supervision in particular of the Ministries of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development and Environment.”
In announcing the closure of the borders, President Abinader expressed the government’s refusal to accept provocations, warning that there would be no violence within the Dominican territory, as the Armed Forces are well-prepared to counter any attempts.
He also said that the issue would be brought before the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation next week.
The Director of Immigration in the Dominican Republic, Venancio Alcántara Valdez, has since issued an order prohibiting nine Haitians, whom he described as provocateurs and constitute a threat to the interests and institutions of the Dominican Republic. From entering the country.
Earlier this week, the United States told its citizens in Haiti planning to travel to the Dominican Republic to reconsider their plans, adding that the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic “is not able to facilitate entry into the Dominican Republic through a closed border crossing.”