Peru orders expulsion of Venezuela ambassador

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Media captionNicolás Maduro on the BBC: “What would the Queen, my friend, say?”

Peru has ordered the expulsion of the Venezuelan ambassador from Lima after Caracas sent an “unacceptable” response to regional condemnation of its new constituent assembly.

The ambassador, Diego Molero, has five days to leave Peru, officials say.

The move comes after a dozen diplomats criticised on Tuesday the “rupture of democratic order” in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he would not rule out a military option in the Venezuela crisis.

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” he told reporters.

“We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they’re dying.”

Mr Trump recently imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, accusing him of undermining democracy.

The move by Peru’s foreign ministry, announced in a statement on Twitter (in Spanish), follows the condemnation by 11 other major countries in the Americas of Venezuela’s controversial constituent assembly.

The new body has the ability to rewrite the constitution and could override the opposition-controlled parliament, the National Assembly.

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Media captionYour video guide to the crisis gripping Venezuela

In a separate development, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a fierce critic of Mr Maduro, has urged him to resign, saying he lost any credibility after the election of the new body.

“He’s a dictator and has carried out a coup through a fraudulent election to eliminate Congress,” Mr Kuczynski told Reuters news agency.

Mr Kuczynski also rejected an offer from Mr Maduro to meet face-to-face.

The Venezuelan opposition, which boycotted the election for the constituent assembly, accuses Mr Maduro of trying to cling on to power, which he denies.

The president has repeatedly said that the new assembly would bring peace to the country.

Violent demonstrations since April have left more than 120 people dead in the country.

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