September 5, 2015 / 3:31 PM / 2 years ago

In Qatar, Venezuela's Maduro pushes for OPEC heads of state summit

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani smile during a meeting in this handout picture provided by Miraflores Palace on September 4, 2015.Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has suggested to the Emir of Qatar a summit for heads of state of OPEC countries to defend oil prices, an idea he said the leader of the Arab Gulf state "liked".

"I made the proposal, he liked the idea, he said he was in agreement with the idea, and as president of our organization for summits he will make the necessary consultations," Maduro said in an interview with television channel Telesur on Saturday.

The Venezuelan leader, who met with the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during his visit to OPEC nation Qatar, added he had also suggested non-OPEC countries, which include Russia, take part.

"I also suggested that non-OPEC oil-producing countries could be invited to this summit because this is about us being faced with a new market situation, which has turned the market into a very unstable one with back-and-forths that hurt the global economy and hurt oil investments," added Maduro.

The emir's reaction to that part of the proposal was not clear.

It was not immediately possible to get comments from Qatar. Venezuela's Oil Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for further details.

Cash-strapped Venezuela has for months been pushing for an emergency OPEC meeting and joint coordination with Russia to stem a tumble in oil prices.

However, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' relatively wealthy members in the Gulf drove the group's strategy shift last year to allow prices to fall to defend market share.

The South American country is known as an oil price hawk, and a severe recession and product shortages have heightened Maduro's need for a market recovery, especially ahead of a Dec. 6 parliamentary election.

Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Ros Russell

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