US expels 2 Venezuelan envoys as diplomatic tit-for-tat

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Victoria Nuland
Caracas, March 11: The US said on Monday that it had expelled two Venezuelan envoys as a retaliation to the ouster of two of its military attachés by latter last week.

Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman of the state department, said Washington would take reciprocal action if its people were treated in an unjust manner. She said the US needed to take such step to protect its own people.

The two expelled officials, Orlando José Montañez Olivares, a second secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and Víctor Camacaro Mata, a consular officer in New York, have already left the country, Nuland said.

On March 5, Venezuela had expelled two Air Force attachés saying they were trying to destabilise the country. Nicolas Maduro, who took over as Venezuela's acting president after the death of the charismatic Hugo Chavez recently, accused one of the attachés of trying to recruit Venezuelan military personnel to destabilise the country.

Caracas and Washington began informal talks late 2012 to improve relations but US sources said the process has been stalled since the latest diplomatic row took place.

Nuland said the US always wants a better relation with Venezuela and work togethwr en firlds like counter-terrorism, counter-narcotocs, economics and energy but it will also require a changed stance from Caracas.

Maduro will serve as the interim president until a special election is held to find Chavez's successor on April 14.

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