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Haiti - FLASH : Dominican Republic does not seek confrontation with Haiti
18/09/2023 10:05:32

Haiti - FLASH : Dominican Republic does not seek confrontation with Haiti
Sunday evening in a short televised speech, the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, defended his decision to completely close the land, air and sea borders with Haiti as part of his dispute over the construction of an irrigation canal in Haiti with a water intake on the Massacre River which flows between the two Nations.

Abinader said the border closure which has been in place since Friday September 16 at 6:00 a.m. will continue until the construction of this canal is suspended.

"We neither wish nor seek confrontation, but we are faced with uncontrollable people who maintain insecurity in Haiti and who, because of their private interests, are now also conspiring against the stability of their government and the security of our resources in water."

"[...] This is not a conflict between two peoples, because neither the Dominican people nor the Haitian people want confrontation.

"[...] The precedent of an irrigation project built unilaterally can lead to an escalation of construction that would destroy the river," Abinader underlined

"[...] We understood the need to react forcefully in self-defense against uncontrollable groups who do not obey the Haitian constitutional order and do not recognize bilateral agreements.

"[...] Why did we act ? To prevent our rivers from drying up, our forests from being cut down or our wildlife from disappearing.

"[...] Our objective is to ensure security and the national interest, as well as to protect our rivers, our environment and our agricultural production."

One might believe that the Dominican Republic refuses any sharing of water, yet reading the history, it seems rather that it is more the form than the substance that is in question.

Let's recall that in 1978 Haiti and the DR, in a search for mutual benefits, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Ramón Emilio Jiménez Jr. (DR) and Edner Brutus (Haiti) reached consensus and signed an agreement for the construction of an "international diversion dam" on the Pedernales River.

This aimed for an equal distribution of water so that the inhabitants of the Pedernales region and the Haitian commune of Anse-à-Pitre, bordering Dominican territory, could benefit from the resource equitably, until These days.

This is how the Pedernales River was divided by this dam which, according to what has been established, provides 0.25 cubic meters per second of the diverted flow for each country.

The location of this infrastructure was precisely determined by the Joint Bilateral Supervision Commission. The work was financed by the two governments, each contributing 50% of the total cost.

On November 30, 1979, after a bilateral agreement, the presidents of the two countries (Antonio Guzmán and Jean Claude Duvalier) met to inaugurate work on a border tributary, similar to the one currently in conflict...

Should be noted that on April 14, 2023, the Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Joint Commission reported on the study of a project to adapt the Pedernales River and the cleaning of its diversion dam with the aim of increasing driving capacity of water through the Pedernales River channel.

SL/ HaitiLibre

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