Brussels announced the expulsion of Nicaragua's top diplomatic representative as a tit-for-tat move.

The EU sanctions target individuals accused of undermining democracy and human rights in Nicaragua, including Ortega's wife, who is vice president, and a son.
The EU sanctions target individuals accused of undermining democracy and human rights in Nicaragua, including Ortega's wife, who is vice president, and a son. (AP Archive)

The European Union has announced it was declaring Nicaragua's representative to the bloc "persona non grata" in retaliation for the expulsion of its ambassador from the Central American country.

"This is a reciprocal response to the decision by the Nicaraguan government on 28 September to declare the head of the EU Delegation to Nicaragua as persona non grata. The EU considers the Nicaraguan decision unwarranted," a statement said on Monday.

President Daniel Ortega's leftist government has faced diplomatic pressure over what the United States has called a dramatic deterioration of human rights — which has seen the jailing of dozens of political opponents, students and journalists.

"The EU reaffirms its continued commitment to the Nicaraguan people and to defending democracy, the rule of law and human rights," the bloc said in its statement.

"The current political crisis in Nicaragua should be resolved through genuine dialogue between the government and opposition."

READ MORE: Nicaragua cuts diplomatic ties with Netherlands, bars US envoy

Sanctions against Nicaragua

The EU and United States tightened their sanctions on Nicaragua in January, as Ortega was sworn in for a fourth straight term after elections were criticised in the West as a "sham".

The EU sanctions target individuals accused of undermining democracy and human rights in Nicaragua, including Ortega's wife, who is vice president, and a son.

The EU's top diplomat in the country left Nicaragua in early October after being declared persona non grata.

Managua also expelled the ambassador from EU member the Netherlands and cut ties with its government, describing it as "interventionist" and "neocolonialist".

Nicaragua's Vice President Rosario Murillo also announced this week that the Central American country would not accept the new US-appointed ambassador Hugo Rodriguez as its representative in Managua.

In March, Ortega's government expelled the Vatican's ambassador to Managua, Waldemar Sommertag.

READ MORE: EU, US slap sanctions on Nicaragua as Ortega begins term

Source: TRTWorld and agencies