After Iran, Venezuelan president arrives in Saudi Arabia in hopes to settle oil crisis

Published January 12th, 2015 - 04:55 GMT

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was in OPEC's leading oil producer Saudi Arabia for talks Sunday, state media reported, after he visited Iran to discuss the impact of plummeting crude prices.

He was to continue on for further talks in fellow OPEC producer Algeria.

Maduro landed on Saturday in Riyadh where Deputy Crown Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz received him, the Saudi Press Agency said.

"The Venezuelan president was accompanied by a number of ministers," it said, giving no further details.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest crude exporter and the biggest producer in the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to which Venezuela and Iran also belong.

While Saudi Arabia says it is financially strong enough to withstand the drop in world oil prices, which fell about 50 percent last year, the budgets of Venezuela and Iran are under strain.

Venezuela has said it is willing to cut production to support prices but OPEC decided in November to maintain an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day.

The decision intensified the price slide that began in the middle of the year, blamed on softer growth in demand and a stronger United States dollar as well as oversupply.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, his oil minister and other top officials have criticised Saudi Arabia for not backing steps to bolster prices.


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