Venezuela decides not to expel EU ambassador

Telegram från AFP / Omni
02 juli 2020, 18.35

Venezuela has reversed its decision to expel the EU's ambassador to Caracas ordered by President Nicolas Maduro, a statement said on Thursday, ending a tit-for-tat diplomatic row.

Maduro on Monday gave the EU's Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa 72 hours to leave the country in response to European sanctions against 11 Venezuelans.

"The Venezuelan government decided to nullify the decision," said the statement from Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

"Both agreed to promote diplomatic contacts between the parties at the highest level," said the statement, which followed a phone call between the two top officials.

Borrell had condemned the expulsion, saying it would not go unanswered and the EU said that it would summon Venezuela's envoy to the bloc.

Relations have been tense since 2017, when Venezuela became the first Latin American country to be hit by EU sanctions, including an arms embargo.

Venezuela's opposition-controlled parliament on Tuesday blasted the government over the "unacceptable expulsion".

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, the National Assembly president, called it "an outburst of arrogance, a new outburst that seems like madness on the dictator's part".

Among officials hit with new EU sanctions on Monday was Maduro-backed opposition legislator Luis Parra, who is challenging Guaido for the leadership of the National Assembly.