Foreign Relations Minister Roberto Alvarez, in the presence of President Luis Abinader and Vice President Raquel Peña, read the Joint Declaration agreed upon by the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Sunday, 10 January 2021 during an informal meeting on the border.
The Joint Declaration is transcendental. Agreements range from providing Haitians living in the Dominican Republic with Haitian identity documentation, building hospitals in Haiti, setting maritime borders, deploying technology to stop border contraband, promoting sustainable cooking fuel, promoting joint renewable energy sources and discouraging the use of hard plastic.
Alvarez read the list of agreements on the key issues on the Dominican agenda with Haiti. After the United States, international relations with Haiti are the most important. Last Sunday, 10 January 2021, President Luis Abinader held an informal meeting with Haitian President Jovenel Moise when visiting the border.
The Joint Declaration has nine points. Prior to the reading of the statement, Minister of Foreign Relations Alvarez said that the governments agreed to continue collaborating in priority areas and to share experiences in pandemic times and strengthen cooperation and possible opportunities for development. He said the Dominican government encourages Haitian authorities to meet expectations in that country in regards to democratic changes now underway. [Haiti has called for constitutional reform and presidential elections in September 2021.]
The Joint Declaration states:
1. DR and Haiti and its institutions are willing to work together to identify and register all Haitian citizens that live in the Dominican Republic in the Haitian civil registry. [During the past Medina administration, thousands of Haitians were nationalized as Dominicans, and others received special status residence cards. For many these were their first identification cards ever.]
2. In health, and with the collaboration of international community for financing, both heads of state commit to the building of general hospitals in Haitian territory, located where the government of that country considers it appropriate to reduce the intensive use of Dominican public hospitals by Haitian citizens. [Previously, the Haitian government had refused to accept international donations for the construction of hospitals in Haiti, preferring to delegate health matters to Dominican public hospitals. Around 30% of all births in Dominican hospitals are to Haitian women.]
3. Open negotiations to set the limits and maritime borders between both countries as soon as possible.
4. Take measures appropriate to each country to deploy vanguard technologies to end irregular migration and people, weapon and drug trafficking, cattle theft and other illicit activities at the border.
5. Cooperate mutually and sustainably in energy, agriculture and industry, production of fuel for cooking and efforts to control deforestation.
6. Work to obtain financing to train officers in border security and vigilance for both countries. Both countries will collaborate on establishment of technological and physical border controls.
7. Continue negotiations until reaching a general trade agreement for transparent, stable, fair and predictible norms to stop the present contraband that affects tax collections in both countries.
8. Work on a plan for the energy interconnection of both countries giving priority to renewable energies – wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectricity, allowing the surplus of production in one country to be sold in the other.
9. Promote the production of biodegradable products and discourage the use of products manufactured with polystyrene. Polystyrene, the hard, solid plastic used for food and consumer goods packaging and other purposes.
Former JCE judge, Carmen Imbert Brugal, on her Fidelity FM 94.1, morning radio talk show, El Matutino Alternativo, says it is yet to be known if the agreements will be complied with. She observed the country has had many agreements that have been ignored by the Haitian authorities.
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12 January 2021