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Daily News - 22 November 1999

Preparations advance for world summit
Technical meetings of ambassadors and ministers were held over the weekend to prepare the agenda for the II African, Caribbean and Pacific Summit of Heads of State and Government opening in Santo Domingo 25-26 November. The summit is held to establish a joint negotiating position regarding the successor agreement of the Lome IV treaty with the European Union as well as a joint agenda when attending the upcoming start of the next round of World Trade Organization negotiations.
More than 2,500 persons from Africa, Pacific and the Caribbean are coming for the event, described as the most important summit ever held in the Caribbean.
Heads of state and high-ranking delegations are expected from:
Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Comores, Congo, Congo Democratic Republic, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinee-Bissau, Guinea Equatorial, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Duan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Chad, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kits & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago.
Pacific: Fiji, Kiribati, Papua-New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
The languages spoken are: English (32), French (22), Portuguese (5), Spanish (3), Arabian (3), Swahili (2).
The event organizers expect more than 60 heads of state and government to participate, and overall more than 80 delegations, including representations from Europe and 29 international organizations.
The visiting statesmen will be staying at the following hotels:
V Centenario Inter-Continental, Santo Domingo, Meliá Santo Domingo, Barceló Gran Hotel Lina, Dominican Fiesta, El Embajador and Renaissance Jaragua. Support personnel will be lodged at hotels in Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.
Activities for the summit will take place at the Officers Club of the Ministry of Foreign Relations that has been remodeled and equipped for the event at cost of RD$30 million.
The official photograph of the summit will be taken at the Plaza de la Bandera, in front of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
On the social activities program is a concert at the Ruinas de San Francisco, with the performance of music by Dominican composers.
To close the summit, a folklore show will be held at the Fortaleza Ozama, with dances from Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean to be performed.
The formal opening of the summit will be at 10 am on Thursday, 25 November at the National Theater. The first plenary session is scheduled to start at the Ministry of Armed Forces at 3:30 pm.
For more information on the meeting and the ACP nations, see http://www.acpsec.org/

ACP unity important to achieve objectives
Ambassador Freddy Emam Zade, in charge of trade negotiations for the Dominican Republic, told El Siglo newspaper that ACP nations have felt the pressure from developed nations as these try to divide the bloc in their attempt to diminish the incidence of the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations in international organizations. He explained that whenever so many countries are working together, there will be internal and external forces that will work to divide the bloc, some because it is a threat to their interests. "this bloc of 71 countries in any world forum is a strong block that can make difficult obtaining their [developed world] objectives and easier obtaining ours [developing and under-developed countries]," he explained. He said that in the case of the ACP bloc there have been more internal forces in favor of the union than against it. The II Summit seeks to define and consolidate the interests of the group of under-developed and developing nations. He said that of the 71 members of the ACP, 56 are part of the World Trade Organization, thus the ACP bloc takes a strong participation to the round of negotiations that opens 30 November in Seattle, Washington. The WTO has 132 member-nations.
The ACP bloc is the largest group of nations within the WTO.
The ACP group of nations is made up of 48 African nations, 15 Caribbean nations and 8 island-states that have in common that they were colonized by European settlers and today benefit from the Lome IV trade and financial cooperation program of the European Union.

Caribbean and African cultural exhibitions
"Urban Life in the Caribbean Region" is an inter-Caribbean exhibition that opens at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on occasion of the hosting of the II ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government. Cariforum sponsors the traveling exhibition. Three works of art from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Guyana French, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Curaçao, Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the DR each will be exhibited.
Also taking place in Santo Domingo, is the start of the Afro-American Festival at the Centro Cultural Español, a Spanish government culture center located at Arzobispo Meriño, in the Colonial City. The festival will continue through December.

No show of Haitians chills DR-Haitian relations
Haitian and Dominican foreign ministers, Fritz Longchamps and Eduardo Latorre met in Havana during the 9th Iberoamerican Summit on 15 November and agreed that the directors of migration of both countries would meet in the frontier town of Jimaní at noon on Friday, 20 November. The meeting was to discuss how to better coordinate the repatriations of illegal Haitians and Haitian migration to the DR. Dominican director of Migration, Danilo Díaz traveled to the frontier town of Jimaní (a four-hour drive from Santo Domingo) for the meeting. He cancelled a scheduled trip to Canada to be present at the talks with his Haitian colleague. He waited four hours but the Haitian Migration Department director, Jeanne Bernard Pierre nor her representatives showed up. The meeting had been confirmed the day before.
When the Dominican government requested an explanation, charge d'affairs of Haiti in the DR, Guy Lamothe informed the Ministry of Foreign Relations that the Haitian migration authorities did not attend the meeting because the meeting had not been channeled through the formal diplomatic channels. Lamothe said that the Dominican government has to follow diplomatic formalities, as per bilateral agreements. He said the verbal telephone confirmation between the migration directors of both countries was not enough.
Guy Lamothe said that the Haitian government was interested in the talks and was formally inviting Minister Eduardo Latorre to meet with Haitian Minister of Foreign Relations Fritz Longchamps on Monday in Santo Domingo. Longchamp would be in Santo Domingo to attend meetings prior to the II ACP Summit.
In a press communiqué responding to the Haitian explanation, the Dominican government rejected the Haitian government's reasoning indicating that "the meeting had been agreed upon at the highest level of diplomacy of both countries." And both departments of Migration had confirmed it on Wednesday and Thursday. The Haitian no-show was unjustified, said the Dominican government, especially since the meeting of the migration heads had been convened at the request of Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti Fritz Longchamps himself when meeting with Minister of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic Eduardo Latorre in Havana.
The Dominican authorities say they are in the best disposition to meet with the government of Haiti to discuss the massive crossing of illegal of Haitian citizens and the deporting of undocumented Haitians.
But the Dominican authorities now are conditioning the holding of the meeting that Haiti offer a more satisfactory explanation to the absence of its delegation to the meeting that Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti Fritz Longchamps had requested when meeting with his colleague, Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre. The Ministry of Foreign Relations of the DR says that several inter-government meetings have been held in the past following verbal and not formal requests.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More than 95% of its population lives below the poverty line. Given the political crisis in Haiti, international organizations have suspended aid and development programs. Migration to the DR seems to be the only escape valve to the political, social and economic crisis that the Haitian government has been unable to tackle.

French ambassador favors finding an alternative to migration
The Ambassador of France in the DR, Xavier Denieu favored the finding of alternatives in Haiti to the mass migration of indigent and undocumented Haitians to the DR. He expressed his concern over the precarious economic conditions in Haiti and recognized that developed nations should contribute more to finding solutions within Haiti. Ambassador Denieu said it is necessary that Haiti can present new alternatives to the hundreds of Haitians that feel forced to migrate to other countries seeking survival opportunities they do not find at home. He said France is the country that has provided the most financial assistance to Haiti.

Group arrested with US$759,000 when crossing frontier from Haiti
The Dominican Army arrested on Friday at the Jimaní frontier with Haiti four men that had with them US$759,000 in back packs. They were traveling in a Haitian registration vehicle. What was more notorious, was that one of the men was Second Lieutenant Bernardino Mateo Cuevas, a military that is assigned to the Drug Control Bureau in the DR. Second Lieutenant Mateo Cuevas gained notoriety earlier this year when he returned an envelope with US$20,000 to a a Puerto Rican woman who had misplaced the money at the La Romana Airport. He works as a drug control officer at the Punta Aguila airport. At the time he was promoted for his honesty.
Traveling from Haiti to the DR with him were Virginie Javier Antonio Tadeo and Efrain Gilbert Rinaldo de Windt, from Curaçao, and British citizen Asaf Ali Darr. They were arrested when their vehicle was registered at the Fortaleza El Rodeo crossing point by military stationed at the frontier. The group was sent to the Department of Intelligence of the Army for investigations.

1,500 women's rights activists meet in Juan Dolio
VIII Encounter of Latin American and Caribbean feminists opens today in Juan Dolio. 1,500 women are participating in the event that will focus on the development of women in the region throughout the past recent decades.

Propane gas facility to be ready by year's end
Coastal Petroleum Dominicana, an affiliate of Coastal Corporation, (www.coastalcorp.com), announced its new San Pedro de Macorís propane gas storage facility will be ready by the year's end. The terminal for the uploading of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) includes 30 tanks with capacity for 2,325 barrels of gas, linked by eight-inch high tech pipelines. The new facility is expected to resolve the problem of cyclical shortages of the gas.
A Coastal Power Company affiliate and Gener S.A. (a leading South American electricity company) recently won the bid for 50% of the Itabo General Company from the Dominican government. Itabo owns and operates six thermal plants with nominal capacity totaling approximately 586 megawatts located near Santo Domingo.
Coastal Corporation is a Houston-based energy holding company with consolidated assets of more than $12 billion and subsidiary operations in natural gas transmission, storage, gathering/processing and marketing; oil and gas exploration and production; petroleum refining, marketing and distribution; chemicals; power production; and coal.

Vendors to set up shop again on Duarte Avenue
The Municipality of Santo Domingo is authorizing hundreds of vendors (buhoneros) to set up their shacks on city streets. Vendors need to pay RD$500 to the Municipality for the permit that will be valid 1 December through 7 January. Most will set up shop to sell Christmas fruit, toys and other gift items along heavily transited Avenida Duarte. The vendors had been forced to leave when stores in the area complained of an increase in picket-pocketing and the slum-like appearance they gave to the area. Others are interested in selling alcoholic beverages along the Malecón.

Work on 27 de Febrero tunnel fissure
Modesto Construcciones personnel is using special heavy duty drills and bolts to secure the concrete lining along the tunnel under 27 de Febrero Expressway at the Máximo Gómez Avenue intersection. The north side of the tunnel was closed to traffic last week after drainage problems resulted in a meter-wide fissure between the expressway and its intersecting tunnel. The government appointed an inter-institutional commission of engineers to come up with an in-depth report, but meanwhile, the builders are reinforcing the lining.

Half million to promote DR tourism in Britain
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez said that the government will invest US$500,000 in promotion in the English market. Advertising agency AGK, George Niklas was contracted to do the job. More over, the public relations firm, PR Result was also hired to implement a marketing plan at a cost of US$100,000. Dominican Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Pedro Padilla Tonos and president of the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Rafael Blanco Canto attended the signing of the agreements in Santo Domingo.

Puerto Plata Merengue Festival set for December
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez announced that a four-day Puerto Plata Merengue Festival will take place during the first week of December. The festival traditionally has been held in October. Merengue events are planned for Luperón, Sosua, Cabarete and Puerto Plata city.

Baseball update
Monday, 22 November 1999, 8 pm
Santiago: Pollos vs. Aguilas
San Pedro de Macorís: Escogido vs. Estrellas

Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing as of Sunday, 21 November 1999:
Leones del Escogido 12-5 (.706)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 13-7 (.650) - .5 games
Estrellas Orientales 8-9 (.471) ­4 games
Tigres del Licey 6-12 (.333), -6.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 4-10 (.286) ­6.5 games

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