Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza highlighted the importance of Latin America-Africa relations for the development of both continents on Thursday.
"For us, Africa is our mother," Arreaza said after meeting with Congolese authorities in the South-South Dignity Tour, which started in Central America and the Caribbean and continued on the African continent.
Venezuela: Petro Sales Exceed $1 Billion in Just Two Days
On Friday, Arreaza was received in Africa by Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila. "The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, asked us to elevate our bilateral relations to a higher level, which coincides with the spirit of this trip and the intention of cooperation of President Nicolas Maduro," Arreaza said.
On Thursday, Arreaza had met with his Congolese counterpart, Jean Claude Gakosso, and Republic of the Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso.
On Wednesday, he met with Nigerian officials then with Angolan President Joao Lourenco and Foreign Minister Manuel Domingos Augusto to further cooperation in the energy, oil, education and health sectors.
During the first leg of his tour, Arreaza visited Cuba, Belize, Nicaragua, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Saint Vincent, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador in Latin America.
Several countries have voiced concern over Venezuela "being targeted by the United States," and are echoing calls by Maduro's government for the nation's sovereignty to be respected. Venezuelan officials have also received support from social movements during the South-South Dignity Tour.
The Dignity Tour was a response to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's Latin America tour. During his visit, Tillerson defended the Monroe doctrine; called for an oil embargo to further strangle the Venezuelan economy; hinted at a military coup, and allegedly encouraged Venezuela's opposition not to sign an agreement with the government after talks in the Dominican Republic.
Arreaza told the press: "With Hugo Chavez, we learned to love Africa, our origins, and to learn that together we can create a great center of power.
"Together, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa can be one great center of power of independent people who don't want war, who want to work to generate development."
The tour seeks to strengthen south-south cooperation and diplomatic ties in order to counter U.S. attempts to isolate Venezuela.