Venezuela slaps again at EU over envoy expulsion

CARACAS, March 7 (Xinhua) — Venezuela on Thursday defied a call from the European Union (EU) urging the South American country to reconsider its decision to expel Germany’s ambassador.

“Venezuela hopes the European Union recovers some balance and reconsiders its position of permanently interfering in our internal affairs, its clear alignment with Washington’s attack strategy and its support for the unconstitutional actions of the extremist opposition,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted.

On Wednesday, Venezuela declared German Ambassador Daniel Martin Kriener persona non grata for meddling in its internal affairs, and gave him 48 hours to leave the country.

Kriener was among a handful of ambassadors who went to the airport on Monday to welcome opposition leader and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido on his return from a tour of Latin American countries that support Venezuela’s Washington-backed right-wing opposition.

“We regret the fact that the German ambassador to Venezuela is pressed to leave the country in spite of a tense and complex political context,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, on Thursday.

“The European Union has been keen to maintain lines of communication with all key parties in Venezuela including the government of Mr. Maduro,” she added. “And from that perspective the European Union hopes that this decision can be reconsidered.”

Political conflicts between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Guaido erupted as the latter declared himself interim president during an anti-government rally on Jan. 23, a move which was immediately recognized by the United States.

Maduro, in response, cut diplomatic ties with the United States.