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Saudi Shipping Company Denies Violating US Sanctions Against Venezuela - Embassy

© REUTERS / Jorge SilvaAn oil tanker is seen at Jose refinery cargo terminal in Venezuela in this undated file photo
An oil tanker is seen at Jose refinery cargo terminal in Venezuela in this undated file photo - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia denied accusations by US Senator Marco Rubio who suggested that the company was violating US sanctions on Venezuela, the Saudi Embassy in the United States said in a series Twitter posts on Monday.

"The national shipping company of KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) clarifies that its oil tanker is on her way from the Red Sea to pick up a cargo from the Port of Jose Terminal in #Venezuela for one of its regular customers in India", the Saudi embassy said.

The embassy said the cargo was contracted on 9 January, long before the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela on 28 January.

It added that the ship's voyage would be completed before the end of the exemption period allowed for winding down business with sanctioned Venezuelan entities.

READ MORE: French Oil Giant Total Could Stay in Venezuela Despite US Sanctions — CEO

The embassy was responding to remarks Rubio made on Twitter on Saturday, when he accused Saudi Arabia’s shipping company of "blatantly trying to undermine US efforts" to support the Venezuelan people.

Members of a military agency that transports valuables remove gold bars from a military plane to be taken to Venezuela's Central Bank, at the Carlota military airport in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 1, 2018. - Sputnik International
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In his Twitter post, Rubio claimed a vessel from Saudi Arabia would soon arrive to Venezuela to sell President Nicolas Maduro dilutents for use in producing oil, which he would then sell to generate income.

Rubio has been a vocal supporter of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who on 23 January declared himself to be Venezuela's interim president. Guaido's declaration was almost immediately recognized by the United States and some of its allies.

Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey, Iran and Uruguay have said that they consider constitutionally elected Maduro to be Venezuela's legitimate president.

READ MORE: US Actions in Venezuela are About Controlling Region, Not Just Its Oil – Prof

In late January, the United States blocked all assets of Venezuela’s PDVSA in its jurisdiction and imposed a ban on deals with the oil company. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that by blocking PDVSA's assets, the United States was taking care of this company "in the interests of the people of Venezuela" and also protecting its own market.

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