Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to send oil and diesel to the Palestinian Authority as part of an agreement signed with PA President Mahmoud Abbas during his recent visit to Caracas.
Venezuela has one of the world’s largest oil reserves. The Latin American country, known to sympathize with the Palestinians and has a large presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers (IRGC), said it would send an initial shipment of 240,000 barrels of crude diesel to help boost the Palestinian economy.
“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.
Maduro has hailed the deal as the birth of PetroPalestine. “This is a contract to supply concrete and this agreement is from Venezuela to Palestine for the diesel that Palestine needs to keep its economy growing and consolidating,” Maduro said. “PetroPalestine is born and it’s the alliance between Venezuela and Palestine.”
During the meeting between Maduro and Abbas, Maduro also agreed to support the PA’s quest in being granted observer status in three Latine American regional organizations: the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
“The Palestinian people have the right to maintain commercial relations with the world as well,” Maduro stated.
This is Abbas’s third visit to Venezuela in five years. During his visit, Abbas visited the grave of former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez who died last year of cancer.
Abbas’s visit comes a few days after meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London in “informal” talks to revive the peace process. Israel suspended all peace negotiations with the Palestinians upon the announcement forming a national unity government with the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist group.