US expels two of Cuba's UN diplomats, citing 'influence operations'
WASHINGTON - The Trump administration on Thursday ordered the expulsion from the United States of two members of Cuba's delegation to the United Nations and restricted travel of the remaining mission members to Manhattan, drawing strong condemnation from Havana.
In an announcement just days before world leaders gather for the annual UN General Assembly, the US State Department accused the two Cuban diplomats of trying to "conduct influence operations" harmful to US national security but did not elaborate on the accusations or release their names.
It was the latest sign of deteriorating US relations with Cuba, since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, which has rolled back the detente initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
"The Department of State today notified the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the United States requires the imminent departure of two members of Cuba's Permanent Mission to the United Nations for abusing their privileges of residence," said Morgan Ortagus, the department spokesperson, in a statement.
"This is due to their attempts to conduct influence operations against the United States," the spokesperson added, without providing further details on the issue.
Besides, the US required Cuba's UN mission's travel should "essentially be restricted to the island of Manhattan," according to the statement.
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