Havana, Cuba.- Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has categorically rejected the expulsion of two diplomats from the island’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and the announcement of greater restrictions of movement of its staff members and their relatives.

“The accusation that they have performed acts incompatible with their diplomatic status is a vulgar slander,” wrote Rodriguez Parrilla on Twitter.

The island’s top diplomat added that the main purpose of the measure, announced Thursday by State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, is to provoke a diplomatic escalation leading to the closing of bilateral embassies, strengthening the blockade and creating more tensions between the two countries.

The announcement takes place just days before the UN General Assembly high level segment, that gathers world leaders from all over the world, and a few weeks before the annual vote in that body on the Cuban-sponsored resolution demanding the end of the US economic blockade on the island.

According to Ortagus, the expulsion “is due to the diplomats’ attempts to conduct influence operations against the United States.”

Cuban diplomats, who have been submitted for decades to a restricted movement of 25 miles from Columbus Circle in Manhattan, will now see their movement limited exclusively to the island of Manhattan, a decision with no antecedent for other missiosn acredited to the international body.