The exchange, lasting a minute and a half and full of smiles, took place in the corridors of the climate change conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (COP27).
“I will be delighted if we can talk longer, if we can undertake useful bilateral work for the region,” Macron told Maduro., according to images provided by the Venezuelan presidency to AFP. “President (…), I will call you,” she added.
Maduro was later very pleased with the meeting. “Excellent handshake with the President of France Emmanuel Macron, within the framework of the COP27, which is undoubtedly a meeting point between the governments and countries of the world. The doors of Venezuela are open for the French people,” he expressed in Twitter, where he posted two photos of the moment.
France is among the more than 50 countries that ignored the re-election of Maduro in 2018, branded by the opposition as “fraudulent”, and gave their support to the opposition Juan Guaidó as president in charge of the country.
Guaidó’s support has since dwindled, especially in Europe. In fact, the channels of dialogue between France and Maduro’s Venezuela remained open, in the midst of a “balancing power” policy that Macron wants to promote.
The French president plans to receive in Paris his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, the country’s first left-wing president, who restored relations between Bogotá and Caracas after a three-year break.
The Venezuelan president said in the conversation with Macron that “France must play a positive role” in the region.
Amid the policy of isolation led by Washington, Maduro strengthened ties with countries like Russia to continue exporting its oil and avoid financial sanctions against it.
The French presidency, concerned with the energy crisis resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, called on June 27 to “diversify oil supply sources” during the G7 summit in Germany, looking at production from Iran and Venezuela.
“Venezuelan oil must also be able to return to the market,” the Elysee said at the time.
Maduro responded the next day that Venezuela was “ready” to receive French oil companies “that want to come and produce oil and gas for the European market, for the world market.” “Welcome whenever you want, we are ready, ready and ready to do it.”