MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is due on Thursday to hold talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, who will arrive in Russia on a working visit, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
“In fact, President Putin plans to hold such a meeting on Thursday,” Peskov said, confirming earlier reports from Venezuelan sources.
The sides will focus on bilateral Russian-Venezuelan relations, and namely particular projects in energy, and banking and financial sector, Peskov said.
“Of course, the topics will include the situation on the global oil markets, and also other topical issues,” he added.
Last week, the Venezuelan leader visited several OPEC nations and also China to hold a number of high-level discussions to continue the effort to restore world oil prices, which have fallen to their lowest in almost six years.
During the diplomatic tour, Maduro held talks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, as well as Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Venezuela is among the world’s ten largest oil exporters. According to a US Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2012 report, Venezuela’s oil exports reached 1.7 million barrels. Saudi Arabia took the top spot with exports estimated at 8.8 million barrels per day.
After a meeting on November 27 in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to keep a daily oil production quota at the level of 30 million barrels, which sent oil prices further down.
Headquartered in Vienna, OPEC includes 12 countries, namely Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Qatar, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, and Angola. Russia, Mexico, Egypt and Oman are observers at the OPEC.
Inside the oil cartel, Algeria, Venezuela and Iran have conflicting interests with and Saudi Arabia. Amid the US shale revolution, Saudi Arabia is unwilling to give up its market share and is not planning to cut oil production.
On the way to China on January 5, the Venezuelan leader’s plane made a technical stop at Moscow’s Vnukovo-2 airport where Maduro briefly met with Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
Venezuelan Minister for Communication and Information Jacqueline Faria wrote on her Twitter account that Maduro’s visit to Moscow signals “solidarity” with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the face of destabilizing actions of the US.
In late December, Maduro said Washington is conducting an oil war to destroy Russia and Venezuela.
“A real oil war is underway,” he said. “Its goal is to destroy Russia, to drive Russia into a collapse as a global power …” The current slump in oil prices is also spearheaded at Venezuela, Maduro said.
“It seeks to turn our country into a colony, to destroy our independence and our revolution with the aid of an economic collapse,” he stressed.