Venezuela has agreed to sell oil to the Palestinian Authority (PA) at a “fair price” as part of new energy agreements with the Middle Eastern government.
The deals, made during a meeting between Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua and his PA counterpart Riyah al-Malki in Caracas on August 24, include the training of Palestinians in the handling and distribution of oil.
Jaua referred to the deal as “an agreement of cooperation and solidarity … the sale of fuel at a fair price”.
He said: “The Palestinian state has suffered a criminal blockade for decades, a permanent siege making free access to sources of energy, food and transport impossible, and due to that, this agreement is vitally important for the Palestinian people.”
Plans were also advanced for building an eye surgery centre in Ramallah, in the West Bank, as part of the Miracle Mission International.
The Miracle Mission is a program through which Cuba and Venezuela offer free eye surgery to citizens of several Latin American and developing-world countries. Resources for the ophthalmological centre in Ramallah were approved by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in early August.
Al-Malki said he was “extremely satisfied” with the oil sale agreement, adding that it “could appear a small gesture, but is great to us Palestinians”.
The Palestinian diplomat is currently on a tour of Latin American states to consolidate support for Palestine to be recognised as a full member state at the United Nations.
The PA overwhelmingly won a vote in the UN for observer state status last November. The United States and Israel were among the minority of countries which voted against the motion.
Venezuela is a firm supporter of Palestinian statehood and is critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian territories, referring to them as “state terrorism”.
Venezuela has signed several deals with the PA, including for the building of medical and urban agricultural facilities in the West Bank.
The Venezuelan government also provides scholarships for Palestinians to study in the Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas. Last December , it abolished entrance visa requirements for Palestinian visitors to Venezuela.
[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]