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#2163: Haiti changes top diplomat in Dominican Republic (fwd)


Posted at 8:12 p.m. EST Friday, February 4, 2000 

 Haiti changes top diplomat in Dominican Republic

 SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- (AP) -- Haiti will replace its top
 diplomat in the Dominican Republic amid tension between the neighboring
 countries over Dominican treatment of undocumented Haitian immigrants.
 Embassy officials in the Dominican Republic confirmed Thursday that
Charge d'Affaires Guy Lamonthe will switch places with his counterpart
in Mexico City, Andre Dorton. The Embassy gave no explanation for the
transfer. However, the move followed months of friction that began in
November with the sudden expulsion of thousands of Haitian immigrants.
 Conflict over immigration flared again two weeks ago, when Lamonthe
criticized the Dominican Army for killing two Haitians who tried to
escape from authorities after being detained for entering the country
illegally. Lamonthe had repeatedly criticized the Dominican government
for its treatment of Haitians. Many Haitians sneak across the border to
work in sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic. The countries share
the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Last year, the Dominican government
came under fire from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission for
refusing to give citizenship papers to children of illegal immigrants.
 Soon after the commission issued its report, Dominican officials
expelled as many as 5,000 undocumented Haitians over three weeks in
November. Haiti has not had an ambassador in the Dominican Republic
since Ambassador Guy Alexander resigned two years ago.