Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   22 April

Tit-for-tat: US expels two Venezuelan diplomats as row escalates

YEREVAN, MAY 24, ARMENPRESS. The US has announced the tit-for-tat expulsion of two Venezuelan diplomats in a row sparked by Washington's criticism of President Nicolas Maduro's reelection, CNN reports.

The two Venezuelan diplomats were declared "personae non grata" and directed to leave the US within 48 hours, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

The expulsion was ordered in response to the Maduro regime's decision to expel two US diplomats earlier this week, the statement added.

Maduro announced on Tuesday the expulsion of the two top diplomats, Todd Robinson and Brian Naranjo, following the Trump administration's trenchant criticism of last Sunday's controversial presidential elections. Maduro made the announcement at his confirmation ceremony in Caracas, accusing the men of interfering in the election and giving them 48 hours to leave Venezuela.

Maduro said the expulsions were "in defense of the dignity of the homeland", receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

"The accusations behind the Maduro regime's decision are unjustified," said Nauert's statement.

"Our Embassy officers have carried out their official duties responsibly and consistent with diplomatic practice and applicable provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," she added.


English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan


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