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US reports new operation in waters that Venezuela considers its own


The United States said Thursday that a warship deployed in the Caribbean Sea conducted a new operation in international waters to challenge an “excessive maritime claim” by Venezuela.

The USS William P. Lawrence carried out a freedom of navigation operation to challenge Venezuela’s excessive maritime claim in international waters, “a spokesman for the Southern Command, which directs US military operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, told AFP. South America.

We routinely conduct freedom of navigation operations globally, peacefully, in accordance with international law, “he added.

Southern Command said in a statement that the operation on Wednesday by the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) was “successful.”

The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro on Thursday accused the Southern Command of “intimidating intentions”, noting that the warship was deployed “in the Venezuelan Contiguous Zone, at a distance of 16.1 nautical miles from the Venezuelan coast.”

It is clearly a deliberate act of provocation, erratic and childish, “Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in a statement.

Washington, which does not know Maduro’s mandate because it considers it the result of fraudulent elections, did not allude to the Caracas complaint.

But, in its statement, the Southern Command rejected the proposal.

Maduro’s illegitimate regime unduly calls for excessive controls over those international waters, which extend three nautical miles beyond the territorial sea of ​​12 nautical miles, a claim that is incompatible with international law, “he said.

And he recalled that the US Navy had already carried out a similar operation in international waters “outside the territorial sea of ​​Venezuela” on July 15, when the USS Pinckney (DDG 91) “legally and peacefully affirmed” recognized maritime navigation rights and freedoms. internationally.

The Southern Command said that global access to international waters “guarantees that the US Navy can fulfill key missions,” among which it mentioned humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, combating drug trafficking and multinational exercises.

The United States deployed the USS William P. Lawrence and other Navy and Coast Guard ships as part of the vast anti-drug operation in the Caribbean announced in early April by President Donald Trump.

On March 26, the Justice Department announced charges against Maduro for “narco-terrorism” and the Trump administration offered up to $ 15 million for information to allow his arrest.