Mérida, 26th August 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – 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 counterpart for the PA Riyah al-Malki in Caracas on Saturday, 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”.
“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,” argued the Venezuelan minister.
In the meeting plans were also advanced for the construction of an eye surgery centre in Ramallah, 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 center in Ramallah were approved by Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro earlier this month.
Palestinian minister Riyah al-Malki said in a press conference 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 six other Latin American states to consolidate support for Palestine to be recognised as a full member state at the United Nations.
The PA overwhelmingly won observer state status in a UN vote last November, in which 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”.
The South American country established diplomatic relations with the PA shortly after severing relations with Israel in reaction to the latter country’s “Operation Cast Lead” assault on the Gaza Strip in January 2009.
Since then 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, and in December last year abolished entrance visa requirements for Palestinian visitors to Venezuela.