Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs
January 2, 1998
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs informs that, in relation to national press reports of today concerning the passage of a ship containing nuclear waste through the Mona Channel, the Government of the Dominican Republic has reiterated its commitment in various international fora for the defense of the environment and protection of natural resources.
In December 1996, during the II Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States, the Dominican Republic signed a declaration about the Transport of Nuclear Waste in the Caribbean Sea, where it was stated that such "ships are a threat to our people due to the inherent dangerous nature of the material transported and the high level of susceptibility of the Caribbean region to natural disasters."
In that meeting were present 24 of the 25 full members of the Association, as well as France as an associate member, the Low Countries and 14 international organizations.
Later, specifically during the 52nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Chancellor Eduardo Latorre, in a speech given before that body, also expressed the concern of the Government of the Dominican Republic about this important issue: "It is currently debated, in various international conferences, conventions about the use of nuclear energy. One of these Conventions regulates the damages which can be caused to people and the environment by the shipment of nuclear waste. The Dominican Republic depends in a large part on tourism, tourism to our sunny beaches. The quality of the water of our coasts is of vital importance for the development sector, and any damage, even unintentional, of radioactive material could cause a significant disruption of this important national economic sector. We appeal to the good will of the international community to put in place the necessary protection measures."
Finally, this Chancery has initiated steps to solicit of the nations allegedly involved in this shipments, in case press reports are true, to refrain from passing near to the coast of the Dominican Republic.
-- unofficial translation --
For more information from the Government of the Dominican Republic, contact the public relations office of Foreign Affairs at 1-809-535-6280.
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