Dominican Republic, Haiti to resume immigration talks, Venezuela says

CARACAS Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:17pm EST

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CARACAS (Reuters) - The Dominican Republic and Haiti have agreed to resume immigration talks that broke down last month, Venezuela said on Tuesday, as the two nations seek to resolve differences over a Dominican court ruling that could strip citizenship from people of Haitian descent.

The Dominican Republic last month broke off talks with Haiti mediated by Venezuela over the September ruling that retroactively denied Dominican nationality to anyone born after 1929 who does not have at least one parent of Dominican blood.

The two countries share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

The presidents of the two countries "decided to create a high-level commission to seek a joint solution to the problems facing the two governments," said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro before a meeting of regional leaders.

The bilateral commission will also discuss commerce and environment issues, Venezuelan state media reported.

Dominican President Danilo Medina and Haitian President Michel Martelly were both in Caracas for a joint summit of the Petrocaribe energy cooperation deal and the leftist ALBA bloc of nations.

The Dominican government has come under intense international pressure over the ruling by foreign leaders, United Nations agencies and human rights groups.

The Dominican Republic's population of 10 million includes about 458,000 people of Haitian descent, many of whom lack proper documents, according to official figures. About 240,000 of those people of Haitian descent were born in the Dominican Republic.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth)

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