US demands two Venezuelan diplomats leave within 48 hours: State Department

The US Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 18, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has ordered two Venezuelan diplomats to leave its territory within 48 hours, the State Department said on Wednesday (May 23), responding to Caracas's expulsion order against the top two US diplomats there.

"This action is to reciprocate the Maduro regime's decision to declare the Charge d'Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Caracas personae non grata," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, referring to Venezuela's diplomatic move that followed a US tightening of sanctions over Nicolas Maduro's controversial presidential re-election.

Caracas had charged it was the victim of a "political and financial lynching" - accusations Nauert branded "unjustified".

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