DR1 - The DR has been admitted as an observer member to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), made up of 70 countries united by their French-speaking tradition. The DR was admitted as an observer at the 13th Summit of Presidents, Heads of State and Government held in Montreaux, Switzerland. The decision was based on the existence of a strong French influence in the DR. Vice President Rafael Alburquerque represented the DR at the ceremony. He was accompanied to the event by Dominican Ambassador in France Laura Faxas, and by Luis Homero Hernandez, Dominican representative to the United Nations in Switzerland. Alburquerque declared that the DR identifies with the principles of language diversity, peace, democracy, human rights, education, research and sustainable development, all priorities of the OIF. He explained that juridical codes in the Dominican Republic are based on French law and that Dominican lawyers needed to learn French to understand Dominican law. The Vice President added that the French presence on the island of Santo Domingo had left a strong influence. He said geopolitics of sharing the island with Haiti were also a factor in the decision to make the DR, a Spanish-speaking country, an OIF observer. After Haitian independence in 1804 many French colonists made their way to the eastern side of the island, now the Dominican Republic. There is also a large French-speaking community in the northeastern province of Samana as well as other parts of the country, made up of more recent expatriates from France and from Quebec.