Venezuela to move state oil firm from Lisbon to Moscow
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Venezuela to move state oil firm from Lisbon to Moscow

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez made the announcement at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Friday. “We are going to make industrial investments to produce everything we need in our country with the Russian Federation’s help,” said Rodriguez, adding that Caracas was looking forward to expanding oil production cooperation with Russian oil giants. The Venezuelan vice president explained that the relocation would be made to safeguard Venezuela’s state assets, citing the Bank of England’s reluctance to hand over her country’s gold supplies as an example that demonstrated how Europe was no longer providing such protection. The Bank of England has withheld nearly 1.2 billion dollars’ worth of Venezuelan gold following a request from US officials. The US says the gold should be given to Venezuela’s opposition figure Juan Guaido, who declared himself Venezuela’s “interim president” in January. Seeking to empower Guaido, Washington has also targeted Caracas with sanctions, including ones that target revenue from the PDVSA’s US subsidiary. On Friday, the US also imposed fresh sanctions targeting six Venezuelan government officials allegedly affiliated with Maduro, accusing them of blocking aid from reaching the Latin American country. Maduro’s government has closed borders with Brazil and Colombia in order to block what the US says are aid shipments. Russia, which supports Maduro, has warned that Washington is using the aid scenario as a cover to arm Guaido and his supporters and lay the foundation for a coup. Moscow vows support Speaking at the joint news conference on Friday, Lavrov asserted Moscow’s determination “to assist the Venezuelan authorities in resolving social and economic problems, including through the provision of legitimate humanitarian aid.” Lavrov added that Russia had recently sent 7.5 tons of medical supplies to Venezuela and had received a request for more. He also said the two countries were “very closely cooperating” in the “international arena,” adding that the coordination has “acquired special significance now that Venezuela is facing a frontal attack and unabashed interference in its domestic affairs.” The Russian foreign minister also warned the US against any military intervention in Venezuela. Lavrov said that Washington was planning to buy arms, including man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), from an “Eastern European country” and station them “close to Venezuela,” apparently for opposition forces to later pick them up. He urged Venezuela’s neighbors Colombia and Brazil to resist any probable US intervention plans.

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