The president of the Dominican Republic remains firm in his decision to close all borders with Haiti.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The president of the Dominican Republic on Sunday defended his decision to close air, sea and land traffic with neighboring Haiti in their dispute over construction of a canal targeting a river that runs through both countries.

President Luis Abinader said in a televised speech that the border closures begun Friday will remain in place until construction is halted on the canal, which seeks to use water from the Massacre River to alleviate a drought in Haiti’s Maribaroux plain.

“I cannot reword”

He accused Haiti of breaching a treaty from 1929 that both nations had agreed upon. He claimed that the Massacre River holds significant importance for Dominican farmers and that any construction could have negative impacts on the environment, including a wetland area.

Abinader expressed concern that constructing an irrigation project without consulting others could set a dangerous precedent, potentially leading to further developments that could harm the river.

The river derives its name from a violent conflict between French and Spanish settlers, and it became the tragic location where the Dominican army perpetrated a large-scale massacre of Haitians in 1937.

Four days after Abinader’s announcement of visa issuance suspension and border closure near Dajabon, the complete shutdown of borders took place.

He emphasized the significance of raising awareness among the global community to provide assistance to Haiti.

Arbinader stated that there is no solution originating from the Dominican Republic for Haiti’s problem. He emphasized that they cannot be expected to do more than what they are already doing.

On Sunday, a representative from the office of Haiti’s prime minister declined to provide a comment and instead pointed to a statement released on Friday. The statement criticized Abinader’s choice to close all borders while discussions were ongoing to resolve the issue. The government of Haiti has expressed its support for the canal project.

Haiti has asked for assistance in addressing a sudden increase in gang violence. The United States has announced its intention to propose a resolution to the United Nations Security Council, which would authorize Kenya to lead a multinational police force in response to this request.

No resolution has been submitted yet, and there is no provided timetable.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.