Nicolas Maduro
Nicolas Maduro Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday affirmed his country's unconditional support to the Palestinian cause out of a sense of moral and humanitarian obligations, the Wafa news agency reports.

Maduro made the comments during a meeting with the Palestinian Authority (PA) “foreign minister” Riyad al-Malki on the sidelines of the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The Venezuelan President stressed the need for Venezuela and “Palestine” to intensify their efforts in order to confront the arrogance of the US administration and its policies that contradict the principles of international relations based on mutual respect, the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, and the principle of self-determination of peoples, according to Wafa.

For his part, al-Malki briefed Maduro on the latest developments on the Palestinian arena and the international move carried by the PA, including at the level of the International Criminal Court and the Supreme Court of Justice, to confront what he called “the American-Israeli attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause by imposing de facto policies on the ground and bypassing international consensus.”

Maduro has in the past expressed support for Palestinian Arabs and, in 2014, hosted Palestinian Arab students in what was described as a sign of Venezuela’s “condemnation of Zionism”.

Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, was known to be a good friend of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who travelled to Venezuela to attend Chavez’s funeral in 2013. Chavez frequently criticized Israel and in 2009, during the counterterrorism Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, cut off Venezuela’s diplomatic ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador from Caracas.

Maduro, who took over power after Chavez’s death, was one of several Latin American leaders who slammed the Israeli self-defense Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

At the same time, he has denied being anti-Semitic and stressed that, while his country has differences with Israel, those differences have nothing to do with the Jewish people.

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