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Haiti, Dominican Republic to reopen talks on migration, trade disputes

The presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have agreed to resume talks to resolve disputes on migration and trade. Relations between the neighbors on the island of Hispaniola have been strained.

Dominican President Danilo Medina and his Haitian counterpart Michel Martelly met Tuesday in the city of Barahona on the Dominican side of the border.

They agreed to a memorandum of understanding in which government ministers from both countries would meet within 15 days to work on "an accord to enhance commercial trade and normalize ground transport of goods."

Haiti recently banned 23 products from entering the country via its land border with its wealthier neighbor, angering the Dominican government and merchants.

Migration issue

The leaders also agreed to talk about coordinating the return of Haitian migrants who did not have legal residency in the Dominican Republic.

"Both governments also agreed to continue ongoing communication and coordination for better harmonization of repatriation," Dominican Foreign Minister Andres Navarro, who read out the presidents' memorandum, said.

The relationship between the countries had become strained after a Dominican immigration policy

gave undocumented migrants until June 17 this year to register with the authorities or face deportation

. The deadline, based on a 2013 Dominican court ruling which said children born in the country to undocumented foreigners did not qualify for automatic citizenship, mostly affected Haitians.

se/kms (AFP, AP)

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