Greek authorities confirmed on Tuesday that Venezuela’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza was on board a government plane than landed unexpectedly at Athens international airport on Saturday.
According to an announcement by the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, the plane carrying Arreaza landed at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport for refueling. It had flown in from Abu Dhabi.
The plane was on the tarmac for approximately four hours. The Venezuelan minister remained in the VIP section of the airport throughout that time, the Civil Aviation Authority stated. Authority officials added that the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been notified of the arrival hours in advance.
The incident was revealed by a report on SKAI TV on Monday evening. According to the report, the entire procedure was kept in a veil of absolute secrecy.
The mysterious event began to unfold way back on February 24, when the Falcon-type airplane with a registry number of YV2486, belonging to Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, left Caracas and reached Portugal.
The plane didn’t have permission to land there, but after the pilot threatened that it would crash due to a lack of fuel, the Portuguese authorities allowed it to land.
Two days later, and after several European states’ alleged denials to grant permission to land on their soil, the aircraft reached the airport of Geneva, Switzerland.
The aircraft stayed in Geneva for several days. Later it flew to Abu Dhabi, before landing in Athens on March 2.
Greek opposition party New Democracy (ND) has demanded to know whether a Greek official met Arreaza at the airport and, if so, what was discussed there.
New Democracy spokesperson Maria Spyraki asked if the government was aware that Venezuela’s main opposition party has accused Nicolas Maduro’s regime of using this particular airplane to illegally transport money, gold and relatives of senior officials out of the country.
The government accused both SKAI TV and the New Democracy Party of constructing and spreading conspiracy theories.
It is noted that Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President, Juan Guaido, has accused the Greek government of supporting the left-wing Maduro administration in Venezuela.
These developments come at a time when the US, Canada, the EU and other major western powers are demanding the Venezuelan leader’s resignation, followed by new, fair elections, in order for the country to obtain new leadership.