Dominican Republic to close all borders with Haiti
President Luis Abinader announces border shutdown amid canal dispute
The Dominican Republic will close its air, land and sea borders with neighboring Haiti on Friday, President Luis Abinader announced in the wake of a conflict arising from the construction of a water canal originating from a shared river.
"As of 6 a.m. (1000GMT), tomorrow, Friday, the entire border of the Dominican Republic -- both land, sea and air -- will be closed," Abinader said Thursday at a military camp, where he delivered 20 armored command and transport vehicles to the army.
"It will be closed for as long as necessary for this provocative action to stop," he added.
Officials from both nations convened on Wednesday in the Dominican Republic to address a dispute that arose from the use of the Massacre River, which runs along their shared border on the island of Hispaniola. Dominican authorities claim the canal would divert water from the river, causing harm to local farmers and the environment.
Santo Domingo had already suspended the issuance of visas to Haitian nationals earlier in the week and closed the Dajabon border crossing, one of the most important, where a binational market operates twice a week.
"It is a totally inadequate construction, without any kind of engineering. It is a provocation that this government will not accept," said Abinader.
He emphasized that the construction of the canal on the river violates a 1929 treaty.
The Dominican president had already threatened to close the border with Haiti as a consequence of the economic, political and security crisis in which the nation is mired, which has caused thousands of Haitians to flee, seeking to escape gangs that control around 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
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