Local February 21, 2012 | 8:30 am

Amid sovereignty concerns, US Embassy clarifies role in naval station

Santo Domingo.- The United States Embassy yesterday said there’ll be no American military involved “in either the construction or operation of the station or based on Saona island," as quoted by newspaper Diario Libre.

The statement comes in the wake of concern voiced by various sectors over the potential violation of Dominican sovereignty, and a call for an investigation by two lawmakers.

When asked what role the U.S. will play once concludes its support to Navy to build the pier and the station, US Embassy Press attaché Judith Ravin affirmed that Washington “will contribute only the funds and the supervision of the construction."

"The United States contribution forms part of the priorities of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which aims to reduce illicit traffic substantially, as well as other international crimes that threaten the regional and public security," the U.S. Embassy said.

In the Friday groundbreaking U.S. Embassy Consul for Public Affairs

Todd Haskell said the facility to be built at a cost US$1.5 million has the support of the US Southern Command, and will be finished in nine months.

“This investment of 1.5 million dollars in the long term will mean a better effectiveness in the fight against common threats which affect our two nations. Once finished, the project also will allow the Dominican Navy to have a continuous presence in Saona Island, a strategically important point for the vigilance over the Mona Passage,” Haskell said.

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