On Wednesday, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres discussed a call from a U.N. expert to allow humanitarian supplies to pass through his country’s shuttered border with Haiti.
President Luis Abinader said he had not received a formal request to do so and would need more details, after U.N. expert William O’Neill said stopping essential goods such as food and medicine crossing the border would be «dire» for Haiti.
Furthermore, Abinader, who is seeking reelection in May, announced a total border shutdown on Thursday over the construction of a canal from a shared river he argues violates a 1929 treaty.
On the other hand, Dominican Republic official data says that the canal is being built by non-government agents, but has called on Haiti’s government, which is facing escalating gang warfare and a worsening humanitarian crisis, to halt construction.
Haiti has condemned the border shutdown and called on the Dominican Republic to safeguard Haitians in its country; the country has deported tens of thousands fleeing the crisis back to Haiti, despite repeated U.N. criticisms.
Furthermore, Santo Domingo has said it will not resume talks until construction on the canal is stopped, and that it is planning to build two dams which could «significantly affect» Haiti if the treaty is not active.
According to official data, several aid groups in Haiti have stopped operations amid dwindling funds and dangers for staff and patients.
Abinader, who is attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, has stated that he would meet his Kenyan counterpart as the African nation mulls leading a U.N.-backed multinational force to help Haiti’s under-gunned police fight gangs.