U.S. military hasn't been asked to provide military options on Venezuela: Pentagon

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-15 04:59:37|Editor: yan
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Despite U.S. President Donald Trump's claim of military options for Venezuela, the Pentagon said on Monday that U.S. military so far had not been asked to provide military options.

"Our job is to provide options to the president so if called upon we would have a military option for the president. That has not occurred yet," said Pentagon spokesman Rob Manning here at a briefing.

Manning declined to comment on what specific options were, arguing that he could not speculate because "we haven't been asked to provide any options."

Trump said on Friday he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela, a claim also seemingly contradictory to the view of his top national security adviser.

"We have many options for Venezuela. And by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option," Trump said after a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Trump's New Jersey golf club.

"This is our neighbor," Trump added. "You know, we are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."

Just days before Trump's remarks on Venezuela, his top national security adviser H. R. McMaster said in a TV show that he did not see a military intervention from any outside source as likely.

Trump's remarks came amid escalating tensions between Washington and Caracas over Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC) which was formed after an election on July 30.

The 545-member assembly, which has the rights to amend the constitution and reorganize the government, "aims to repair the malfunction" plaguing the country's governing system, according to Delcy Rodriguez, the recently elected president of the new legislative body.

After the election, the United States slapped a string of sanctions on Venezuelan individuals involved in the creation of the ANC, including Maduro, who later rebuffed the measure that targeted him personally.