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Venezuela to Continue Supplying Oil to Syria

Source: Bloomberg 2/28/2012, Location: Middle East

Venezuela said it would continue to ship fuel to Syria as Europe extends sanctions on the nation for using military force to quell civilian dissent against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“We’ve sent Syria two cargoes of diesel and shipments will continue as they are needed,” Venezuela’s Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters during a signing ceremony with Chinese officials in Caracas yesterday. “We have a high degree of friendship and cooperation with Syria, a country under siege.”

European Union governments tightened sanctions on Syria by freezing the assets of the country’s central bank and forbidding Syrian cargo-only flights. Petroleos de Venezuela SA isn’t prohibited from shipping oil to Syria under current sanctions, said Ramirez, who is also the president of the state oil company.

The Syrian army has intensified attacks on civilians since a resolution supported by the Arab League aimed at installing a transitional government was vetoed at the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China on Feb. 4.

Ramirez made his comments on Syria after Venezuela and China signed $10 billion in agreements to finance oil, infrastructure and agricultural projects. The countries also renewed a joint economic-development fund for $4 billion, he said.

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