Trump Administration Sanctioned Rosneft To Advance US Economy - Ex-UN Diplomat

Trump Administration Sanctioned Rosneft to Advance US Economy - Ex-UN Diplomat

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th February, 2020) Sanctions imposed by the US government on the Russian oil company Rosneft are in reality motivated by the goal of trying to squeeze out a formidable energy export competitor to the United States from major markets, former United Nations official Alfred de Zayas told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russia's Rosneft Trading S.A. and its head Didier Casimiro for allegedly handling Venezuelan oil shipments.

"Ultimately that's the aim - to advance the US economy at the expense of everybody else," de Zayas, formerly a UN independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said on Wednesday.

Washington intensified sanctions last January after US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela. Twice democratically-elected Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro accused Guaido and the Trump administration of trying to overthrow Caracas to seize the country's natural resources.

De Zayas said the latest move is part of Washington's bid to try and topple - so far unsuccessfully, Maduro's government. The new sanctions imposed on Rosneft were part of this strategy to isolate and impoverish Venezuela, de Zayas said.

"Sanctions are economic terrorism - illegal because the consequences constitute collective punishment.

Sanctions kill," the diplomat said.

A report by Professor Jeffrey Sachs and Marc Weisbrot indicated that in the year 2018 an estimated 40,000 Venezuelans died as a consequence of sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies, de Zayas noted.

US President Donald Trump was following a money-oriented policy towards Venezuela, de Zayas explained.

"Ultimately the goal is to destabilize Venezuela, create chaos, impose Juan Guaido as president and then proceed with privatization and the great looting of Venezuela's natural wealth," he said. "Rosneft is only a small facet in the looting scenario."

The US economic sanctions were contrary to the UN Charter, contrary to customary international law and contrary to principles of free trade and free navigation, de Zayas emphasized.

"It is non-conventional war driven by greed. I can hardly call that 'politics' - it is Wild West banditry," he said.

The United States accuses Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-based subsidiary of Russia's oil giant Rosneft, of handling Venezuela's oil exports in circumvention of American sanctions and the company's president of being the main European intermediary to help Maduro survive the impact of sanctions.