Venezuela to send oil to Palestine
Published Saturday 17/05/2014 (updated) 18/05/2014 16:07
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) and Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas, sign agreements at Miraflores presidential palace
in Caracas on May 16, 2014 (AFP Juan Barreto)
CARACAS (AFP) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledged to send oil and diesel to the Palestinian Authority, as part of agreements signed with its leader Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to Caracas.
Venezuela, which sits atop the world's largest oil reserves, said it would provide an initial shipment of 240,000 barrels of oil, but gave no details as to how it would send them.
"Thanks to Venezuela for supporting Palestine ... to break Israel's monopoly on our economy, for your response to our needs, for your willingness to support the Palestinian people in their long struggle," Abbas said, according to an official translation.
During the meeting, Maduro also agreed to support the Palestinian Authority's quest to be granted observer status in three Latin American regional organizations: the Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
"The Palestinian people have the right to maintain commercial relations with the world as well," Maduro said.
In the face of fierce Israeli opposition, the Palestinians won observer status at the United Nations in November 2012, opening the way for it to adopt a host of international accords.
During his third visit to Venezuela in five years, Abbas visited the grave of Maduro's predecessor, longtime leader Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last year.
Abbas arrived in Caracas on Thursday after meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London the day before, a first since the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis collapsed.
Abbas's visit comes amid months of at times bloody protests that have rocked Venezuela since February.
Maduro has called the unrest, which has claimed at least 42 lives, a coup attempt backed by the United States, raising tensions with Washington, which has repeatedly denied the claim.
Ma'an staff contributed to this report.