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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 November 2007, 17:50 GMT
Opec pledges reliable oil supply
Chavez (2nd L) at the Opec summit 17 Nov
The summit is Opec's third in 47 years
Opec leaders have pledged to provide the world with reliable supplies of oil and fight global warming, at the end of a rare summit meeting.

The group's final statement made no mention of calls by oil-consuming countries such as the US to raise production to ease sky-high prices.

The sliding dollar was not mentioned in the communique.

Venezuela's president had opened the summit with a warning that oil prices could double if the US attacked Iran.

Oil has been hitting record peaks of well over $90 a barrel as markets believe the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will not boost production.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the price of crude could reach $150 or even $200 a barrel.

The fall of the dollar, which has weakened considerably against the euro and other currencies in the past 12 months, has affected the revenues of Opec members because most of them price and sell their oil exports in the US currency.

The issue is also political, with Iran keen to undermine the US currency.

The summit in Saudi Arabia is only Opec's third in 47 years.

Political agenda

The summit saw differences about the future direction of the exporters' group.

President Chavez and his Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, whose country rejoined Opec at the summit, had both pleaded for a more political agenda for the group, but ran into opposition from US ally Saudi Arabia.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) with Hugo Chavez
Chavez (r) and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are staunch US critics

King Abdullah, the head of state of the host nation, Saudi Arabia said: "Those who want Opec to take advantage of its position are forgetting that Opec has always acted moderately and wisely.

"Oil shouldn't be a tool for conflict, it should be a tool for development."

The final declaration stressed the importance of world peace for the stability of oil prices.

A division had also emerged during the summit between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Iranian officials wanted the final statement to express concern about the weakness of the dollar.

In a post-summit news conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that all Opec countries showed interest in converting their cash reserves into other currencies.

But Saudi officials were against including any such remarks in the declaration. One is reported to have warned that it could add to the pressure on the dollar.

Green credentials

In the statement, Opec leaders insisted on the importance of technology to enable the use of cleaner oil to help fight global warming.

They also recognised the importance of energy in fighting poverty.

"We associate our countries with all global efforts aimed at bridging the development gap and making energy available to the world's poor while protecting the environment," Opec Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, said it would donate $300m to a green technology fund to help combat global warming.

Kuwait said it would donate $150m.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
King Abdullah delivers the closing statement



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