Heads of state of the OPEC oil-producing cartel arrived in Caracas Tuesday for a summit clouded by worldwide concern and protests over soaring oil prices.
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid was first to touch down, followed a short time later by Nigeria's Olusegun Abasanjo, met by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Other heads of state attending the two-day summit, which opens formally on Wednesday, include Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Notable absentees here include Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who has sent his vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Libya's Moamar Khadafi, replaced by Tripoli's Revolutionary Council member Mustafa al-Kharroubi.In addition Saudi King Fahd is represented by his brother Crown Prince Abdullah.
The Caracas summit, only the second such meeting in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s 40-year history, is due to climax Thursday with a final declaration.
The summit will respond to industrialized countries' concerns about soaring oil prices. But ministers have stressed that the meeting will not discuss a new production increase to help cool down overheated markets.
The summit proper was to be preceded Tuesday evening by a meeting of the foreign, finance and oil ministers of the 11 OPEC member countries, currently celebrating the cartel's 40th anniversary.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)