NEW: U.S. official says Venezuelan Embassy confirmed satisfactory resolution
A State Department official says the plane was approved to clear U.S. airspace
Venezuelan officials had said the U.S. denied permission for their presidential plane
Venezuela accused the United States on Thursday of denying President Nicolas Maduro’s plane permission to enter U.S. airspace – a claim that a State Department official denied.
A senior administration official said Friday that the State Department received a message from the Venezuela Embassy’s charge de’affaires confirming satisfactory resolution of the issue Thursday night.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said U.S. officials have blocked plans for Maduro’s presidential plane to fly through Puerto Rican airspace on the way to China.
But a State Department official, echoed by other U.S. officials, said Friday that clearance was granted Thursday night for the flight over Puerto Rico.
“Although the request was not properly submitted, U.S. authorities worked with Venezuelan officials at the Venezuelan embassy to resolve the issue,” Marie Harf, State Department deputy spokeswoman, said.
“U.S .authorities made an extraordinary effort to work with relevant authorities to grant over-flight approval in a matter of hours. As a result we were able to notify the Venezuelan authorities (Thursday) night that permission was granted.”
Maduro is scheduled to travel to China on Saturday.
Harf said the request for diplomatic clearance was made sooner than the three days’ advance notice required for diplomatic flight clearances.
“Additionally, the plane in question was not a state aircraft, which is required for a diplomatic clearance,” Harf added.
“We advised Venezuela on the correct way to get the clearance and notified (Venezuelan) authorities … that permission was granted.”
In remarks broadcast on state television, Maduro called the situation “a serious offense.”
The Venezuelan president vowed to take action, adding that the United States had also denied visas for several members of his country’s delegation scheduled to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“If I have to take diplomatic measures against the U.S. government, I will take them to the most drastic level if it is necessary, but I am not going to accept any type of aggression,” he said.
The State Department official also called the visa issue untrue, saying the United States had approved them.
CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet, Elise Labott, Jamie Crawford, Patrick Oppmann and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.