Ankara: Venezuela has sent a committee to Turkey to sign a contract enabling refining of thousands of tons of gold at central Turkish facilities.
The team has been dispatched to Turkey’s province of Corum, where the refineries are located, to conduct the talks leading to the deal, various Turkish media outlets reported on Monday. It will report to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro about the details of the deal, according to Turkey’s Aksam newspaper.
Venezuela’s Minister of Industries and National Production will finalize the deal during a visit to Turkey on Wednesday.
Venezuela’s Central Bank began refining gold in Turkey in 2018 on Maduro’s orders.
Venezuela’s economy has been stretched almost to the limit by an economic war launched against the country by the United States that calls the country “a threat to its national security” and has brought it under several rounds of sanctions.
Relations between Caracas and Washington have been tense since the late socialist president Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.
Former US president Barack Obama first ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials in March 2015, alleging that they were involved in the violation of Venezuelans’ human rights.
In November 2018, Obama’s successor Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing fresh economic sanctions against Maduro’s government aimed at disrupting the South American country’s gold exports.
Earlier this January, the US imposed fresh sanctions against individuals who allegedly worked in a network transferring billions of dollars for the Venezuelan government.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in December criticized sanctions on Venezuela during his visit to Caracas.
Maduro says the US seeks to topple his administration through the sanctions.
Caracas has lodged a complaint at the World Trade Organization to challenge the bans, saying they flout the WTO’s rules.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the American measures targeting Venezuela during a visit to Caracas last December.