Venezuela gives US 15 days to reduce embassy staff

Caracas, March 3: The Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the US has been given 15 days to reduce its embassy staff from 100 to 17.

"They were given a period of 15 days to present the plan regarding the rank classification of officials who will remain in our country accredited by their govenment in Venezuela," the minister said on Monday after meeting with US Charge d'affaires Lee Clenny.


The meeting, described by Rodriguez as "cordial" and "friendly", was aimed at providing details of a group of diplomatic measures announced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on February 28 during his speech at the end of an "anti-imperialist" demonstration.

Among the measures, Maduro ordered the reduction of the US diplomatic personnel in Caracas from 100 to a level similar to the 17 maintained by Venezuela in Washington.

The president made it obligatory for Americans visiting Venezuela to have a visa, a measure adopted, he said, after the capture of a US pilot whom Caracas suspects was engaged in espionage.

In his speech, Maduro said entry into the country will be denied to a group of the US politicians he called "terrorists", a list that includes former President George W Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Congressman Marco Rubio of Florida.


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