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U.S. State Department Expresses Concern About OPEC President

Mar 28, 2019, by Nick Wadhams and Tina Davis

U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary Francis Fannon has raised questions about Venezuela’s Manuel Quevedo serving as the president of OPEC.

Fannon, who runs the Bureau of Energy Resources, expressed serious concerns to OPEC’s secretary-general about a former Maduro regime official continuing to act as the president of an international organization, a senior State Department official said in a statement Thursday. U.S. concerns about Quevedo were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Venezuela’s oil minister holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries this year. Last month, he was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for his ties to President Nicolas Maduro. That means any American assets he owns will be blocked and dealings with U.S. persons forbidden.

The organization is more directly represented by its secretary-general, currently the Nigerian Mohammad Barkindo. The president’s duties are more ceremonial, including such items as shaping the agenda of OPEC meetings in concert with the secretary-general.

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