Dominicans Agree to International Monitors on Border With Haiti With AM-Haiti, Bjt
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ The Dominican Republic agreed Monday to allow international surveillance of its border with Haiti, a step the United States hopes will slam the door on overland fuel smuggling.
The long-delayed decision came a day after the U.N. Security Council authorized an invasion of Haiti if necessary for the restoration of democracy and exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
President Clinton has threatened an invasion of Haiti if an international trade embargo fails to dislodge Haiti’s military rulers.
The sanctions have cut most air and sea traffic to Haiti, but smuggled petroleum has continued to flow across the land border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
A memorandum of agreement was signed at the foreign secretariat by U.S. Ambassador Jean Hrinak and Foreign Affairs Secretary Juan Aristides Taveras Guzman.
The accord provides for U.S. military helicopters to patrol the border along with a multinational team of 88 observers under the control of the U.S. Atlantic Command.
The Pentagon has said six Huey helicopters and surveillance and communications gear will be dispatched to the Dominican Republic for the mission.
President Joaquin Balaguer opposes the sanctions, but has committed the Dominican Republic to enforcing them.
Under pressure to stop the flow of petroleum, Balaguer at first said his army had neither the money nor the technical ability to properly monitor the border.
He agreed in May to allow multinational monitoring of the border, but delayed granting permission until after the May 16 elections. The program was further delayed by the slow count of election returns.