PORT OF SPAIN –– Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela have held talks here on Monday, signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow their operating companies to proceed on cross border initiatives.
President Nicolas Maduro, who arrived here on Sunday night from Jamaica, paid a courtesy call on President Anthony and later held talks with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Rowley said that Port of Spain would be providing “relief” to Venezuela in the form of manufactured goods, but gave no indication as to whether it is as a result of the socio-economic and political unrest in the Spanish speaking country.
Maduro was greeted by pro and anti-demonstrators as his motorcade made its way to the office of President Carmona and the Diplomatic Centre where he met Rowley.
Speaking at a joint news conference where neither men took questions from the media, Rowley described the talks as “very productive and very useful…that would be beneficial to both the people of the South American country and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) neighbour. He said the two sides had signed an MOU in order to further boost their trade and economic relations.
“I want to thank president Maduro and his team for coming,” said Rowley, whose administration was hosting the first ever head of state since it came to power in the September 7 general elections last year.
Rowley said that arising from the two hour deliberations, efforts had been made to move the relationships between the two countries forward.
“Venezuela being our closest neighbour and sharing in the same kind of challenges we share we need to work together. Since that time our technical teams and at the levels of the ministries of both countries have had a number of meetings including some of our people going to Caracas and Venezuelan delegations coming to Trinidad.
“Arising out of those efforts Monday as we welcome President Maduro and his very large delegation we found ourselves able to conclude some very far reaching discussions. The outcome of these discussions would have far reaching positive consequences for all the people of Venezuela and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“We have agreed and signed the relevant memorandum which allows the state, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, to now direct the operating companies in the energy sector to proceed on our cross border initiatives,” Rowley said.
He said that the agreements signed with respect to the energy sector “could see the monetisation of cross border gas, Venezuelan gas in Trinidad plants and together Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago approach the international market . . . for these activities”.
Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago is “very pleased” to have heard from Maduro that financing has been put in place to enable the cross border trading in manufactured items “and we look forward from Trinidad and Tobago to provide some significant relief to the people of Venezuela.
“This relief to come from a supply of manufactured goods from Trinidad and Tobago and this trade to be facilitated by the arrangements which were described talks Monday”.
Rowley said that the two sides also discussed at length “the common purpose of reducing illicit activity in Western Venezuela in so far as it affects the waters and territory of Trinidad and Tobago and we have agreed as a matter of urgency, and our security forces will meet and cooperate and re-establish operations, the operations of the joint security coordinating committee and we set the date for the next meeting at the May 30 in Caracas”.