Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that the current level of petroleum prices is "fair" and called on members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to resist pressures for lower prices.
Chavez, whose country currently holds OPEC's rotating presidency, was speaking at a joint press conference with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, after their meeting here Sunday. "The current level of prices is fair," Chavez said, calling on OPEC countries to "stand up to" those pressuring for lower prices.
In that context, he said OPEC has the ability to face this challenge, accusing western industrial nations of trying to impose prices that are to their liking. Khadafi echoed that sentiment, saying OPEC "has the ability to twist their arms."
In New York on Friday, light sweet crude oil for September delivery rose to $31.34 from $28.66 the week before.
Chavez arrived in Tripoli at dawn after a visit to Indonesia. He is visiting all of the cartel's members in preparation for a summit to be held in Caracas in September, to mark OPEC's 40th anniversary. He met with Kadhafi in a tent set up at Kadhafi's Azizia residence, which was destroyed by a US-led air raid in 1986.
OPEC was founded in Baghdad in 1960. The summit will be only the second one in its history. The first was held in Algiers, in 1975.
Chavez drew fire from Washington by insisting on including Iraq in his tour, becoming the first head of state to visit the country since it attracted international sanctions by invading Kuwait in 1990.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )