"Venezuela is Palestine's Most Important Ally," Says Palestinian FM

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki arrived in Caracas yesterday for bilateral talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez.

By Lucas Koerner
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Palestine's Riyad al-Maliki with Delcy Rodriguez (AVN)
Palestine's Riyad al-Maliki with Delcy Rodriguez (AVN)
Caracas, May 19, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki arrived in Caracas yesterday for bilateral talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez. 
Speaking at a press conference marking the diplomat's first official visit to the country on Tuesday morning, al-Maliki noted that Venezuela "is Palestine's most important ally". 
"It's a country that gives without asking for anything in return," he added.
Rodriguez responded by reaffirming her nation's solidarity with Palestine, asserting that Venezuela is "ready at any moment to throw itself into the battle for [Palestinian] independence and sovereignty." 
Under the leadership of the late former president Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has emerged as one of the most vocal champions of Palestine solidarity worldwide. 
In recent years, the South American nation has led the diplomatic charge against Israeli occupation and apartheid as well as forged close diplomatic and economic ties with the Palestinian Authority, including oil deals, emergency aid, and scholarships for Palestinian medical students. 
Al-Maliki's visit also coincides with period of heightened tensions between Venezuela and Spain over an April 14 resolution approved by the Spanish parliament calling for the release of jailed far right leaders it alleges to be "political prisoners". 
At the behest of Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, the Palestinian diplomat agreed to help mediate between the two countries, vowing to do "everything possible" in order to "bring Venezuela and Spain closer together". 
As part of his visit, the PA diplomatic chief will additionally convene the first ever meeting of Palestinian ambassadors from throughout South America which will take place today and tomorrow. 
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority exercises civil and security control over a series of non-contiguous zones comprising 18% of the West Bank, while the remainder remains under full Israeli military jurisdiction as part of the country's 48 year running occupation of Palestinian land. 

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