Maduro seeks Islamic nations’ support in row with US

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation shared values that could address global challenges. – EPA pic, September 11, 2017.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro yesterday sought to rally the Islamic world’s support for his country in its confrontation with the United States.  

“The Venezuelan people, especially in the last six months, have witnessed invasions and interventions by the United States, but we will resist those pressures by maintaining our unity,” Maduro said at a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Astana.  

Maduro arrived on Saturday night in the Kazakh capital to attend the Islamic summit with the aim of bringing an end to his nation’s diplomatic isolation, strengthening its financial independence and avoiding the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member’s possible economic collapse due to a new round of US sanctions targeting Venezuelan government-issued bonds.  

In addition to addressing oil, geopolitics and international cooperation with Rouhani, Maduro also met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was welcomed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.  

Upon his arrival in Astana, Maduro said the mission of his visit was to diversify economic relations with Arab countries and strengthen ties with Opec non-members.

On his way to Kazakhstan, Maduro made a brief stopover in Algeria, an Opec member and one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers.  

Maduro was invited to speak at the OIC summit as secretary-general of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a position that he is to hold until 2019.

 “It’s time to fight for another world. It’s time to fight for a world without wars, without terrorism, without hegemonic empires,” he said, in clear reference to the United States, which he accuses of plotting his ouster.

He said the 57-member OIC and NAM could only make progress toward those objectives of justice and peace if they are united.

The Venezuelan leader said both organisations shared principles such as “inclusive multilateralism,” which he said was the “most effective tool” for addressing global challenges.  

“And the rejection of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or the political independence of states, and the rejection of the imposition of unilateral sanctions in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations charter and the norms of international law,” he added.  

Maduro plans to meet representatives of Opec member countries in Astana, as well as  with other producers that are not part of the cartel.  

He proposed setting a price goal ahead of the next Opec summit to be held on September 22 in Vienna, where the cartel could extend the decision it took last December to limit production to raise crude prices.  

The president said he planned to present in Astana a formula to stabilise oil and gas prices at sustainable levels, as those exports are crucial to the health of Venezuela’s economy.  

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino participated in meetings Saturday in Astana with producing countries and explained that the objective is to stabilise not only oil prices but also those of gas and other energy sources.

Before travelling to Kazakhstan, Maduro had announced his aim of reducing Venezuela’s dependence on the dollar and weathering US sanctions by selling oil and gas in yuan, yen, rubles and rupees, among other currencies.  

These measures are intended to strengthen the “socialist model” pursued over the past two decades in the Latin American country by Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez. – Bernama, September 11, 2017. 

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