U.S. Consulate: Claim breach airspace baseless and unfounded
WILLEMSTAD – Venezuela accused the United States of spying on a Non-Aligned Movement summit it recently hosted, saying Venezuelan fighter jets had intercepted a U.S. surveillance plane and forced it to turn back.
According to the U.S. Consulate in Curaçao these claims that a plane of the American Defense violated the Venezuelan airspace on September 16 and 17 are baseless and unfounded.
"We know a military aircraft carried out flight patterns 130 nautical miles from Margarita island, collecting information, carrying out intelligence operations on the summit," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
He said a US Coast Guard Dash 8 plane was detected near Venezuelan airspace on Friday and Saturday, "flagrantly violating international norms" by failing to announce itself to the Venezuelan military's air traffic controllers.
"Our fighter jets, commanded by the president, flew out, intercepted the aircraft and informed (its crew) of the violation it was committing. The aircraft agreed to return to its base," on the island of Curaçao, the minister said.
He called the incident a "provocation" that "underestimated" Venezuela's capacity to respond.
President Nicolás Maduro asked Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez to file a complaint against the U.S. during the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is not known if the Chancellor has done this.
According to the U.S. Consulate, the plane was deployed in international airspace to detect active illegal trade and to disrupt this. The aircraft remained throughout the mission in international airspace. The area is known for illegal maritime trade. Those missions are planned to ensure that they do not violate the internationally recognized national boundaries, said the U.S. Consulate.