The Netherlands demands explanation from Venezuela

The Dutch ambassador to Venezuela will ask exactly what President Hugo Chá vez meant with his recent statements.

In a speech to the Venezuelan parliament last week, Chávez talked about Venezuela’s territorial waters. He called for the creation of regional governing entities that would be managed by vice presidents appointed by the president and demarcating Venezuelan sovereignty in parts of the Caribbean, possibly by building artificial islands. The islands could harbour cities, submarine bases, scientific research centres, as well as oil and mining facilities.

"There's 760,000 square kilometres that no other country but Venezuela has a right to," he said referring to country's continental platform.

Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen assumes that Venezuela will continue to be a good neighbour and respect the Netherlands' territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Verhagen has asked the ambassador to Venezuela to contact the Venezuelan authorities and request more information about Chávez’s statements. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will keep close track of developments in Venezuela.