Venezuela’s Defense Minister Announces Troop Withdrawal Amid Maritime Tensions

Venezuela’s Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, took to Twitter on Sunday to announce the withdrawal of “a portion of the naval assets” in response to recent developments involving the British patrol vessel HMS Trent in disputed waters near Guyana. This decision came after President Nicolás Maduro ordered defensive action following the presence of a British ship in the area last week.

Transition to New Phase in ‘Sifontes’ Joint Action Exercise

Padrino López stated, “In light of the departure of the British warship HMS Trent from the disputed waters, President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the transition to a new phase of the ‘Sifontes’ Joint Action Exercise and the redeployment of some naval assets to their respective bases.”

Efforts were made to confirm this withdrawal with the UK Ministry of Defense.

The situation escalated during the year-end salute ceremony to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) last Wednesday when President Maduro condemned the presence of the British patrol vessel as a “provocation” and a “threat to the peace and sovereignty” of Venezuela. He emphasized that Venezuela would not stand idle in the face of any threat.

“Likewise, (Maduro) warmly congratulated the FANB personnel who responded to the call to defend our homeland,” Padrino López detailed in his Twitter post, affirming that they would remain vigilant and alert “to any provocation.”

Guyana’s President Reiterates Commitment to Peace

Meanwhile, President Irfaan Ali of Guyana reiterated his commitment to peace following the deployment of Venezuelan troops in the joint military action known as “General Domingo Sifontes.” In response, the UK government characterized Venezuela’s military actions as “unjustified” and called for their cessation. The UK also stated they are working with regional partners to prevent escalation.

Padrino López stressed the importance of respecting the Argyle agreements, “which undoubtedly serve as a guarantee of peace in the region.” These agreements refer to the commitments made by Venezuela and Guyana during their meeting in San Vicente and the Grenadines on December 14th.

In their joint statement, both countries agreed to “refrain, whether by word or deed, from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any dispute between them.”

HMS Trent’s Official Account Reports Diplomatic Engagement

On December 29th, the official X account of HMS Trent reported that Guyana’s Chief of Defense Staff, Omar Khan, the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, and several other dignitaries were received on board as guests for a meal and a tour of the vessel.

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