Saudi Arabia has welcomed Venezuela’s President to the Kingdom on an official visit, hosting yet another adversary of the West as it carves a more independent foreign policy path.
According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, arrived in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah late yesterday, greeted by Saudi officials.
State media did not reveal the reason for Maduro’s visit or any details of his schedule, but it is believed his visit may be connected to an international conference on combating extremism later this week, which will be hosted by the Saudi government in the capital, Riyadh.
If the Venezuelan leader does attend and participate in the conference, it would be despite the fact that it is to be co-chaired by the United States’ Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Maduro, who was re-elected President in 2018 after judges banned his main opponents from competing, has been opposed by Venezuelan opposition groups backed by the US over the past few years. Although the movement against him has largely faded and lost momentum – along with a failed coup attempt by mercenaries allegedly plotted by Washington – he continues to be a key adversary of the US and some other Western states.
Riyadh’s hosting of Maduro is seen by many as the latest effort by the Kingdom to continue on its increasingly independent and balanced foreign policy path, in what is regarded as yet another blow to American hegemony in the wider Middle East region.
It also comes amid the Kingdom’s agreement to restore full diplomatic ties with Iran in a China-brokered deal, the normalisation of ties with Syria’s regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and its refusal to follow the West in sanctioning Russia over its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.