January 29, 2019 / 1:14 PM / 10 months ago

U.S., Venezuela envoys trade jibes at U.N. disarmament talks

GENEVA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Senior U.S. and Venezuelan diplomats traded jibes at a U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, a day after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the state-owned oil firm PDVSA in its toughest financial challenge yet to embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

"The United States remains committed to holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela's tragic decline and will continue to use the full sweep of its diplomatic and economic tools to support interim president Juan Guaido, the National Assembly and the Venezuelan people's effort to restore their democracy," Cynthia Plath, deputy U.S. ambassador, said.

Venezuela's ambassador Jorge Valero said that the Trump administration was preparing a "military invasion" of his country and questioned whether Washington had the moral authority to "impose a diktat" on Caracas. Plath walked out of the conference during his comments, then returned.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Andrew Heavens

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