CARACAS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered the military to hold war games within a week to counter perceived foreign threats.

The decision to have troops battle ready came after former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in an interview on Thursday urged Venezuela's armed forces to take up arms against the state.

"I have called for military exercises ... to prepare for the defense of our land, our children, our rights to peace," Maduro told a massive gathering in Caracas.

When talking about the situation in Venezuela, Uribe, now a Colombian senator, said the Venezuelan military should use their weapons to defend human rights and political freedom, rather than fighting for a dictatorship, local media reported.

Maduro said Uribe's words were tantamount to foreign intervention in Venezuela.

Venezuela's Armed Forces on Saturday issued a statement reaffirming their allegiance to the government, saying they categorically condemn "the systematic campaign orchestrated abroad to discredit and provoke Venezuela."