Maduro visits Saudi Arabia in effort "to strengthen political, diplomatic, and energy alliances"
Venezuela’s state television said that the visit was aimed at developing “a work agenda to strengthen political, diplomatic, and energy alliances"
June 6, 2023 7:03am
Updated: June 6, 2023 7:03am
Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro traveled to Saudi Arabia on Monday, making it the latest U.S. foe to be welcomed in the country.
Deputy Governor of Mecca region Prince Bard bin Sultan and other state officials welcomed Maduro at the airport of the Red Sea city of Jeddah, according to the state news agency Saudi Press Agency (SPA). During his visit, Maduro will hold meetings with King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The reason for Maduro’s visit was not made clear by the Saudi news agency. However, Venezuela’s state television said that the visit was aimed at developing “a work agenda to strengthen political, diplomatic, and energy alliances.”
“We are in Saudi Arabia to continue with our productive International Work Agenda, which advances in the strengthening of bilateral relations, of brotherhood and respect between Venezuela and the world,” Maduro tweeted about the visit.
Estamos en Arabia Saudita para continuar con nuestra productiva Agenda de Trabajo Internacional, que avanza en el fortalecimiento de las relaciones bilaterales, de hermandad y respeto entre Venezuela y el mundo. pic.twitter.com/Lwky1WlyxW— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) June 4, 2023
Despite being a U.S. ally for decades, Saudi Arabia has reached out to non-traditional Western allies in an attempt to expand its diplomatic ties and pursue their national interests. Recently, the kingdom restored relations with Iran and Syria—both Western foes.
Similarly, last month Saudi Arabia hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a Western ally, during the Arab League summit. However, days later, the kingdom welcomed a senior Russian official that is sanctioned by the West.
The visit comes days before Saudi Arabia is set to host an international conference to combat extremism in Riyadh, the country's capital.
The conference will be co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is also expected “to meet with Saudi officials to discuss U.S.-Saudi strategic cooperation on regional and global issues and a range of bilateral issues including economic and security cooperation.”