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U.S. Expels 3 Venezuelan Diplomats

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WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says three Venezuelan diplomats are being expelled in response to a decision by the Venezuelan government to expel three U.S. officials there, including charge d' affaires Kelly Keiderling.

The department said late Tuesday that it had given Venezuelan chargé d' affaires Calixto Ortega Rios and Second Secretary Monica Alejandra Sanchez Morales at the Washington embassy and Consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida at the Houston consulate 48 hours to leave the United States.

The department said, quote, "It is regrettable that the Venezuelan government has again decided to expel U.S. diplomatic officials based on groundless allegations, which require reciprocal action. It is counterproductive to the interests of both our countries."

The department said it rejected allegations of U.S. government involvement in any conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuelan government.

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