Q: How do you decide which three diplomats to expel in
retaliation? Is it, like, a predetermined list? Or what kind of
process — what kind of selection process are they going through?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m —
Q: In this case they’re similar, too.
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to outline that for all of you.
Obviously reciprocal actions and steps taken like these are pretty
standard practice, so that’s a step we took last night and I’m just
And in response to reports Maduro now wants to send an ambassador to Washington:
: So in light of the comments made by President Maduro — he’s
stating his intention to try and appoint a new ambassador, which I
believe is going to be made sometime later on today.
Would that be something that you would welcome?
MS. PSAKI: We’ve seen those reports, and obviously, you know, we
have indicated our readiness to develop a more constructive
relationship with Venezuela. We’ve said many months ago that could
include an exchange of ambassadors. But Venezuela also needs to show
seriousness for us to be able to move forward. And recent actions,
including expelling three of our diplomats, continue to make that
Q: So you would not go back on this decision — should he this
afternoon decide that such and such person is going to be the
ambassador, that would not — you would not go back on your decision
to expel these three particular individuals at this point.
MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, a decision about an exchange of
ambassadors is a mutual decision, so, obviously we’ve said months ago
that we could — we would be open to an exchange of ambassadors but
that Venezuela needs to show seriousness about their willingness and
their openness to a positive relationship moving forward. And — but
this is not an action that’s related to that. I wouldn’t look at it
in that way.