December 4, 2013
LATIN AMERICAThursday, September 26, 2013
Maduro calls off UN appearance
Venezuelan leader says cancellation due to trouble in obtaining permission to fly over US
CARACAS — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called off his appearance before the United Nations’ General Assembly yesterday after encountering “serious trouble” in obtaining permission for his plane to fly over US air space, the Venezuelan consulate in New York said yesterday.
Even before the consulate’s announcement, Maduro’s name had been removed from the list of speakers expected to address the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Maduro’s trip to the US had been in doubt since yesterday morning after the president had said on his Twitter account that, after returning from a trip to China, he would devote himself to his work in Venezuela.
On his way back to Venezuela from China, Maduro had said that he had “an intense agenda” planned for the day.
He hadn’t said, however, whether he was cancelling his trip to New York.
Hours later, the Communications Ministry said the president would be participating in an event at a car factory in the Venezuelan state of Aragua at the same time as his planned appearance at the UN.
On September, 20, a couple of hours before boarding the flight to China, Maduro said that the US had denied him the right to fly over its territory and that one of his ministers, Wilmer Barrientos, had been denied a visa to accompany him to the UN General Assembly.
Hours later, Washington said the permission had been resolved and that no visa had been denied.
The incident appeared to have have been resolved earlier this week after the Venezuelan government announced Maduro’s participation in the UN session as well as meetings with some of his counterparts.
‘CHINA’s good friend’
During his visit to China, Maduro told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that the main goal of his trip was to further consolidate and expand the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The two leaders signed 12 agreements Sunday, including one related to a finance fund deal, education, and a joint development between Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec and Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA. They also signed a cooperation and exchange agreement between China’s space flight administration and Venezuela’s science and innovation ministry relating to remote satellites. No details were given on any of the agreements.
Maduro told Xi that Venezuela was in an important phase of economic transformation and wanted to diversify its economic structure.
“We want to put forth great effort to develop our production industries and at the same time solidify our 21st century Socialist foundation,” Maduro said.
He said he believed these goals could be realized this decade through exchanges and current and future cooperative projects between the two countries.
Xi called Maduro “China’s good friend” and said his visit would propel bilateral relations “to new heights.”
— Herald with AP, Télam