Rome, January 11 - The American embassy in Rome on Friday argued in favor of completing the US defense department's satellite communications system in Sicily, which the regional government has blocked. "Italy, as a member of NATO and an important partner for peace and security at the international level, as well as other members of the Alliance, will benefit...in support of NATO operations," said the embassy in a statement. The move to halt construction, announced by Sicily Governor Rosario Crocetta, came after protestors blocked trucks and cranes overnight in the town of Niscemi and later clashed with police near an American military base. Builders at the site, which is part of a global satellite defense network called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), had allegedly rushed construction in recent days, according to the Sicily governor. Opponents to the project say it will be an environmental nuisance and threatens world peace.