The U.S. does not believe that tense relations between Venezuela and Colombia will lead to war, U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, said on Monday.
The U.S. does think “there have been accusations and provocation,” but despite this “we do not outright see what will happen,” Valenzuela said in Chile, his birthplace.
Relations between Caracas and Bogota worsened after the announcement of a U.S.-Colombia treaty that allows the North Americans access to Colombian military bases and airports. The “complex and difficult situation” the two countries now find themselves in is being monitored by the U.S. “with close attention.”
However, Valenzuela reiterated U.S. claims that the newly-signed plan is very similar to existing forms of cooperation.
“They are not military bases; they are airports where – with the permission of Colombia – some flights can take off,” the official said, emphazising that the reason for the military cooperation is the fight against drug trafficking.
Venezuelan and U.S. diplomats met on Monday to discuss increased tensions in the region, following Venezuelan claims on Friday that a U.S. military plane violated Venezuelan airspace after taking off from the Caribbean islands of the Netherlands Antilles.
Washington denies this intrusion, and responded that the U.S. does not enter another nation’s airspace “without prior consent and coordination.”