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  • Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shake hand after a joint news conference in Moscow.

    Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shake hand after a joint news conference in Moscow. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 March 2019

The purpose of the move is to guarantee the safety of Venezuelan assets abroad. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the relocation of the European headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) from Lisbon to Moscow in order to guarantee the security of the country's assets, Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced Friday at a press conference held with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian capital.

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"Europe does not offer guarantees of respect for our assets. President Nicolas Maduro has instructed that the PDVSA office in Europe, which is located in Lisbon, be transferred to Moscow," Rodriguez said, adding that such decision is also aimed at strengthening ties with Russia.

Venezuela will also expand its energy cooperation with Russian oil companies such as Rosneft and Gazprom. According to Rodriguez, the Venezuelan authorities "have no doubt" that these announcements are made at the right moment.

She also stressed that the U.S. and its allies violate their own laws when they freeze Venezuelan assets in Western banks, which means in practice stealing the Bolivarian people's financial resources.

"The capitalist world violates its own laws," the Vice President said and emphasized that the Venezuelan government will pursue legal actions to defend its offshore financial assets, which have been illegally delivered to the U.S.-backed political opposition.

U.S. President Donald Trump administration has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on senior officials of PDVSA.

During the press conference, Foreign Minister Lavrov reiterated Russia's support for President Maduro's administration and highlighted that Russia categorically rejects economic pressure against Venezuela.

The recent move by the Maduro government comes just a few months after in October 2018, the Bolivarian nation tried to withdraw its gold reserves from the Bank of England, an institution which holds at least 31 tons of Venezuelan gold equivalent to US$1.2 billion.

The government's international right to retrive its gold reserve, however, was denied as a result of U.S. pressure on the United Kingdom not to return that gold.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently urged the international community to "disconnect their financial systems from Maduro's government," thereby threatening reprisals against countries doing business related to Venezuelan gold or oil.

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