Maduro Calls for Emergency Meeting With US Oil Buyers

Maduro Calls for Emergency Meeting With US Oil BuyersMaduro Calls for Emergency Meeting With US Oil Buyers

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday called for an "emergency meeting" with US buyers of the country's crude oil amid new sanctions imposed by the United States.

"I am calling on all US companies we sell oil to attend an emergency meeting, given the situation created by the decree," Maduro said in televised statements, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new sanctions, signed on Friday, will prohibit dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company. The financial sanctions did not mention cutting off US imports of Venezuelan oil, which could be critical to Venezuela's economy as well as US oil refiners.

This was the latest round of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the South American country after Venezuela held elections for the National Constituent Assembly at the end of July.

Venezuela faces a severe recession with millions suffering food and medicine shortages and soaring inflation. The South American nation relies on oil for some 95% of export revenue.

Citgo Petroleum, the US refiner of Venezuela’s ailing state-run oil company PDVSA, is “practically” being forced to close by the order, warned Maduro, adding that a preliminary analysis showed the sanctions would impede Venezuelan crude exports to the United States.

He said he was calling “urgent” meetings with US clients of Venezuelan oil.

The new sanctions ban trade in any new issues of US dollar-denominated debt of the Venezuelan government and PDVSA because the ban applies to the use of US financial system.

Additional financial pressure on PDVSA could push the cash-strapped company closer to a possible default, or bolster its reliance on key allies China and Russia, which have already lent Caracas billions of dollars.

“They want us to fall into default,” said Maduro, adding that just under two-thirds of Venezuelan bond holders are in the United States.

Maduro insisted that Venezuela would continue paying its debts.

The decision also blocks Citgo Petroleum from sending dividends back to the South American nation, a senior official said, in a further blow to PDVSA’s coffers.

However, the order stops short of a major ban on crude trading that could have disrupted Venezuela’s oil industry and worsened the country’s faltering economy.

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