Sunday July 5th, 2020 1:19PM

US expels 2 Cuban diplomats, citing 'influence operations'

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. announced Thursday that it is expelling two Cuban diplomats and restricting travel of members of Cuba's permanent mission to the United Nations as leaders gather from around the world for the annual U.N. General Assembly.

The Cuban diplomats who are being expelled are attached to the U.N. mission and tried to "conduct influence operations against the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. She provided no details on the allegations and the diplomats' names weren't released.

All members of the Cuban mission are being restricted to the island of Manhattan.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said the allegations were a "vulgar slander" against the two diplomats.

Rodríguez said on Twitter the expulsion seeks to "provoke a diplomatic escalation" and increase tensions between the two countries.

Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have deteriorated under President Donald Trump. His administration has restricted travel to the island and has imposed new economic sanctions.

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