News ID: 115714
Publish Date : 05 June 2023 - 23:02

Saudi Arabia Welcomes Venezuelan President on Official Visit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Dispatches) — Saudi Arabia has welcomed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on an official visit, reaching out to yet another U.S. foe as the oil-rich kingdom engages in a flurry of diplomacy.
Maduro arrived late Sunday in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, where he was greeted by Saudi officials, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
It did not give a reason for the visit or elaborate on his schedule, but Saudi Arabia is hosting an international conference on combating extremism later this week in the capital, Riyadh. The gathering will be co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Saudi Arabia has been a close U.S. ally for decades, but relations have been strained in recent years. Over the last few months, the kingdom has restored relations with Iran and Syria.
Last month, the Saudis welcomed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, a close Western ally, to an Arab League summit. But days later, they hosted a senior Russian official who is under Western sanctions.
The Saudis say they are pursuing their own national interests in a world increasingly defined by great power competition. Experts say the diplomatic surge is aimed at shoring up regional stability and improving the kingdom’s image as it seeks international investment for massive development projects.
Maduro was re-elected in 2018 but Washington backed the opposition and imposed heavy sanctions on Maduro’s government, hoping that would spark change. But Maduro’s government dug in and resisted the sanctions with support from Russia, Turkey and Iran.