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European Union slams Venezuela's expulsion of Spanish ambassador

The EU on Friday condemned Venezuela's expulsion of the Spanish ambassador, expressing "solidarity" with Madrid and urging the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro to reverse the decision.

European Union slams Venezuelas expulsion of Spanish ambassador

Venezuela on Thursday declared Spain's ambassador to Caracas, Jesus Silva, "persona non grata" and accused Madrid of masterminding recent European Union sanctions on seven of Maduro's key allies.

"The EU firmly condemns the decision by Venezuelan authorities," Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini, told a daily briefing in Brussels.

"We express our full solidarity with Spain and we call for the decision to be reverted as it goes against the need to keep diplomatic channels open."

Venezuela has also recalled its own ambassador to Spain following the EU's adoption of the asset freezes and travel bans on figures including Diosdado Cabello, one of the most powerful figures in the Venezuela leadership. 

Caracas accuses Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of being one of the masterminds behind the sanctions, saying he was acting on instructions from the United States.

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