Security was tight in Geneva on Sunday (25 March) when representatives of the Organisation of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) arrived for their conference.
GV EXTERIOR aircraft taxiing across tarmac, Geneva airport ZOOM IN TO security guard
SV passengers walking to terminal building
SV INTERIOR passengers' luggage being searched in Customs and moving to immigration section (FOUR SHOTS)
GV TILT DOWN EXTERIOR Hotel Intercontinental with armed security guard on ledge and on pavement (THREE SHOTS)
GV escort jeep arrives and OPEC delegate out of limousine at hotel entrance (TWO SHOTS)
CU oil Minister from United Arab Emirates, Mana Al-Oteiba speaking in English
AL-OTEIBI: "I would like to assure the whole world that we will not take any steps, or any decisions, which will hit the world economy. We are responsible, and we know what we are doing. We are not going to allow any drop of our oil to go to Israel, either directly or indirectly. And this is very clear, and obvious policy, because the present steps which have been taken are not causing the problem. The real problem is the withdrawal from the Sinai. It is a proportion of the problem a part, a minor part of the problem. The main problem is the Palestinian problem. And without causing the Palestinian problem, and without their withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, I don't think there will be a real peace and a real stability."
Reuters news agency reported from the opening session on Monday (26 March) that eleven of the thirteen ministers favoured an immediate increase in prices beyond the levels already set for this year. Last December, OPEC set a price increase of 14.5 percent for the whole of 1979, to be introduced in four stages. As part of this, prices are due to go up by 3.8 percent on April 1. Before the conference, Sheikh Zaki Yamani of Saudi Arabia told newsmen his country would strongly resist pressures to boost the price of a standard barrel above 13.843 dollars, the level officially due to take effect from April 1.
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Background: Security was tight in Geneva on Sunday (25 March) when representatives of the Organisation of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) arrived for their conference. Their consultative meeting had been called to discuss disruption of the oil market caused by a cut in supplies from Iran, OPEC's second largest producer after Saudi Arabia. The oil minister of the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Mana Al-Oteiba, said soon after arrival they would not allow one drop of their oil to reach Israel, either directly or indirectly. The signing of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was taking place in Washington on Monday (26 March), the first day of the OPEC talks.
SYNOPSIS: After the spate of hijackers and airport incidents in recent years, major airports have increased their surveillance and search procedures. Geneva is among the most carefully policed. The kidnapping by terrorists involving OPEC ministers in Vienna two years ago, has led to fine-mesh security whenever its members gather. Before the conference began, the Financial Times of London said the outcome of their deliberations were more uncertain than at any other time since 1973, when they boosted prices four-fold. Experts predicted there would be no decision on official prices.
Geneva's Hotel Intercontinental, venue for the conference, was bristling with silent guards carrying automatic weapons. A question mark hanging over the talks concerned the future production levels of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Neither country had foreshadowed its intentions. The Iran delegation was said not to know how much its new government wants to produce for its revenue needs, or how much oil workers would allow. Mr. Al-Oteiba gave his views on price rises and denying supplies for Israel.