Venezuelas Maduro Tours Middle East Boosting Oil Output Cap Deal

10/23/2016 - 11:54 AM

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was cited on Saturday as saying that OPEC and non-OPEC nations were "very close" to an agreement on oil production curbs, Azerbaijan's state news agency Azertag reported.

"Today with (Azeri) President Ilham Aliyev we talked about reaching agreements between OPEC and countries that are not members of the cartel. We are very close to reaching agreements and signing a relevant deal," Azertag quoted Maduro as saying in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital city.

"I believe that the relevant agreement will be reached within a very short time and we will announce it. This will pave the way for a new era of stability and investment, stable output and a new oil price formula," he said.

Later in Tehran, Maduro called for increased cooperation between oil-rich nations to stabilise prices as he met with the supreme leader and president of Iran.

"To stabilise the price of oil, new mechanisms should be taken and consultation among oil-producing countries, be they members or non-members of the OPEC, should increase," Maduro said, according to the website of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Venezuela's economic and political crisis has been compounded by the collapsing price of oil, and Maduro hopes that other oil-rich countries will agree to cap production in order to boost global prices.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei implied that the falling price of oil was "an instrument" imposed by the US to "put pressure on independent countries", his official site said.

"We can adopt a rational policy and reinforce our cooperation to prevent these plots and this hostile policy," Khamenei said.

Maduro also received support from Rouhani, who said: "Iran backs any effort bringing stability, fair price and members' fair share to the oil market."

The Venezuelan leader is also due to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

OPEC members agreed to limit production for the first time since 2008 at an informal meeting in Algiers in September.

They are due to formalise the deal when they meet on 30 November, amid doubts from market analysts over whether it can be effectively implemented.

Maduro's tour of the Middle East comes as a furious opposition back home vowed mass street protests over the government's move to block a recall referendum against the unpopular president.

Maduro has accused Washington of plotting to overthrow him, and brands the crisis a capitalist conspiracy.

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