US says it never asked for naval base in Namibia

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Windhoek

The United States of America neither has an interest in having a military base in Namibia nor did it ever approach the Namibian government with such a request.

That strong statement came from the American Embassy in Windhoek, following President Hage Geingob’s interview on BBC’s HARDTalk where he clearly stated that as head of state he had not received such request from the Chinese, while hinting that the Americans had indeed made such a request.

If any nation asks to have a naval base here, its request would have to go through Cabinet and parliament for consideration before any decision is made, Geingob said.

However, the public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Windhoek, Priscilla Ann Hernandez, said the US had never made such request.

“The United States government has no interest in establishing a military base in Namibia. The United States government has never inquired about establishing a military base in Namibia,” Hernandez said.
She was also emphatic that the US government would never question the decision of the Namibian government on such a sovereign issue if the Chinese or any other foreign nation had or were to make such a request.

“The United States government has not questioned the Namibian government about a proposed base by any other nation,” Hernandez said.

During the interview which was broadcast this week Geingob denied knowledge of any plans by the Chinese to set up a naval base in Namibia – a rumour that Western nations have followed with keen interest.
A naval base (military port) is a military base where warships and other naval ships are deployed when they have no mission at sea or want to restock.

Geingob was pressed hard on the naval base allegations during the interview, among a host of other topics. “Do not bring in China into your ideological problems between China and your beliefs. If the Chinese come to us with a proposal, like everyone else does …

“Americans asked for the same thing, we did not decide on any of them,” he said.
Asked whether Namibia would, ideally, allow China to set up a naval base in the country, Geingob said: “If Cabinet and parliament decide, but we are not there yet, you are jumping the gun… I do not know anything about such a proposal. It never came to me, maybe to the former president [Hifikepunye Pohamba].”

Both China and Namibia have repeatedly denied that they plan to set up a naval base in the country, after reports in this regard surfaced towards the end of 2014.

HARDTalk host Sarah Montague pressed Geingob on whether Namibia would accept a proposal from China to establish a naval base in Namibia if such request were to be made in the future.

“If they want to do it in a sovereign country like Namibia, how does that concern you?” the president replied. “That is for Namibians to decide, but I can assure you that there will be no secret deals. It is my country… and it does not affect you.”

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