CARACAS – Venezuela and Palestine have struck a deal that will see the countries set up a binational bank to fund technological and industrial initiatives.
President Mahmoud Abbas, who was recently re-elected, landed in Caracas Monday night for a two-day diplomatic stay in Venezuela.
Abbas and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro signed an accord to create the binational bank which will be kick-started with 20 million Venezuelan petros, the new cryptocurrency launched in February and backed by the Latin American country’s oil and mineral reserves.
“Sovereign and free Venezuela is dedicated to the cause of a free, independent, sovereign and peaceful Palestine,” Maduro told Abbas.
During a session at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, the two countries agreed to expand economic, banking, trade and financial links, in particular establishing a Venezuela-Palestine business council. The latest deal builds on a series of accords in education, trade, agriculture, communication, sport, defence and health that have been in place since 2009.
Abbas thanked Maduro for the continuing support provided by Venezuela, where dozens of Palestinian medical and engineering students benefit from scholarships at the country’s universities.
At a joint press conference, Maduro reaffirmed Venezuela’s opposition to the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, branding the move “illegal.” He said the Palestinians need more support in their struggle against U.S. and Israeli aggression.
“There is more to be done for the Palestinian people and much more needs to be done to stop the human crime that has been committed against Palestine,” he said.
Abbas called on the United Nations to protect Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and said he remained committed to a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
The Palestinian head of state will continue his Latin American diplomatic tour to Cuba and Chile.