Venezuela denies violating Colombian airspace

Caracas, Sep 15 (IANS) Venezuela has denied it violated Colombia’s airspace after the latter complained of a second incursion by Venezuelan military aircraft following a similar complaint over the weekend, the media reported on Tuesday.

Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino on Monday said the military aircraft were carrying out a reconnaissance mission in the northwestern border area of La Guajira on September 12, EFE news reported.

K-8 aircraft flew near the northwestern border with Colombia to inspect one of the areas in which President Nicolás Maduro has closed the border and declared a state of emergency, Padrino explained.

The minister denied the aircraft ventured 3 km into Colombian territory, as alleged by Colombia.

Padrino, however, made no reference to the complaint by Colombian Air Force Commander Carlos Bueno on Monday of another incursion, this time up to 10 km by Venezuelan military aircraft in the eastern Vichada department on Sunday night.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has dismissed Colombia’s statements on the first alleged airspace violation, describing them as an “invention” to thwart a possible meeting between Maduro and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, to seek a solution to the border problem.

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