World September 15, 2023 | 8:11 am

Government moves from words to action regarding canal construction on the Masacre River

Santo Domingo.- The conflict over the construction of a canal on the Masacre River between the Dominican Republic and Haiti is escalating. President Luis Abinader has ordered the total closure of the land, air, and maritime border with Haiti starting at 6:00 a.m. The decision was made due to the insistence of a group of Haitian citizens to continue the work on the canal, which the Dominican Government claims violates international law and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Perpetual, and Arbitration of 1929.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mirex) emphasized that the canal is not for irrigation, as initially reported, but for transfer. It violates international law and the aforementioned treaty. The canal’s construction could negatively affect the river’s flow, harming arable land on both sides of the border.

The Dominican Government has identified nine individuals involved in financing and supporting the informal construction of the canal, prohibiting their entry into the Dominican Republic. These individuals include former Haitian senators, ministers, journalists, and others.

President Abinader has indicated that the issue will be brought before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Meanwhile, a second meeting of the Dominican-Haitian Bilateral Joint Commission was held without reaching a conclusion on the border conflict.

Haiti has defended its right to exploit its natural resources, including the Masacre River, stating that it can decide sovereignly on resource exploitation. They have expressed their preference for dialogue with the Dominican Republic but criticized the unilateral closure of the border.

The situation remains tense, with both sides asserting their positions and the border closure adding to the complexity of the conflict.

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