European Union condemns Venezuela's expulsion of Spanish ambassador

Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guards officers control shoppers as they line up outside a supermarket to buy food at discounted prices in Caracas on Jan. 6

Spain on Friday ordered Venezuela's ambassador to leave in a tit-for-tat move, escalating a row a day after its top diplomat was kicked out by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime.

"We are obligated to keep fighting in all arenas for electoral guarantees", Democratic Unity said in a statement.

"We'll have to see at the European level whether we want new sanctions".

Spain wants to maintain a relationship based on mutual respect, friendship and cooperation, Fernandez said, but decisions by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "make it hard to realize this hope".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday rejected the comments by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who supported the European Union for passing sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials. Venezuela has expelled the Spanish ambassador to Caracas, Jesús Silva Fernández, accusing him of interfering in its internal affairs, BBC reports.

Fernandez balked at his unexpected expulsion, saying it is "a totally unjustified treatment and a setback and a blow that harms the negotiation between the parties and where the government of Spain and the embassy in Venezuela has tried to be one of the keys to help for all".




Seemingly responding to Venezuelan accusations Spain played a leading role in promoting sanctions, the spokesperson said, "We recall that the decisions taken by the European Union in matters of foreign affairs are taken unanimously by all member states".

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting Friday that Isea was being expelled "in a strict application of the rule of reciprocity".

The Venezuelan Supreme Court decision today effectively cleared the way for Maduro to win another term in April.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France January 26, 2018.

Macron urged other countries that have wider economic ties with Venezuela to also impose "efficient sanctions".

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