Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Venezuela to quit World Bank body

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez has seized assets of foreign companies as part of nationalisations and state takeovers (AP)

Venezuela plans to leave the World Bank's international arbitration body and try to settle disputes with foreign companies within its own judicial system, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

Mr Ramirez also announced that Venezuela would seek to renegotiate dozens of international investment-related agreements.

"We do not accept impositions and we are going to rescue our national sovereignty," said Mr Ramirez, speaking during a televised interview.

Mr Ramirez said disputes with foreign companies, including an unsettled disagreement with Exxon Mobil, would be heard by Venezuelan judges - not international forums such as the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID.

"We are going to send notification of our withdraw of the ICSID," Mr Ramirez said.

Venezuela's decision to leave the organisation would affect more than a dozen foreign companies that have unsettled disputes with the government of President Hugo Chavez over compensation for assets seized as part of nationalisations and state takeovers.

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