Non-Aligned Summit on Margarita Island
CARACAS, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Venezuela will use this weekend’s Non-Aligned Summit to meet fellow oil producers and gather support for a global deal to strengthen oil prices at a gathering in Algeria this month, Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said.
“Obviously we are going to use this meeting to build consensus,” Del Pino told reporters, saying leaders from OPEC nations from the Gulf to Ecuador would be present at the 120-nation bloc’s meeting on Margarita Island.
“The focus for the consensus is Algeria, where we hope to reach important stabilization accords to obtain a fair price for hydrocarbons that all producer countries are seeking,” he said in comments at a pro-government march carried on state television.
Algeria is hosting meetings of the International Energy Forum and OPEC on Sept. 26-28.
Price hawk Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, has been one of the worst-hit countries by the fall in crude prices, which has left its economy is in crisis.
Del Pino said he had visited Margarita and seen that opposition hopes the Non-Aligned Movement summit would be a failure, making President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government look weak and isolated, were being dashed.
“It’s another failure for the opposition, who were trying to present a non-existing image of the country, aided by unpatriotic international media trying to create a view of Venezuela like they did in Libya, in Iraq,” he said.
“And we know what happened there.”
Despite the government’s upbeat projection of the summit, only one head of state – Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe – had arrived by midday Friday for the leaders’ meetings scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was expected to fly into Margarita, along with Latin American leftist leaders from Bolivia and Ecuador, but overall turnout could be a record low for the Cold War-era group.
(Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Billl Trott)