Nicaragua withdraws approval of U.S. ambassador nominee

July 28 (Reuters) - The Nicaraguan government has withdrawn its approval of the U.S. nominee for ambassador to Nicaragua, Hugo Rodriguez, following his criticism of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's regime, the Central American country said in a statement on Thursday.

Rodriguez, who was set to replace current U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Kevin Sullivan, told a U.S. Senate hearing earlier in the day that as ambassador, he would "support using all economic and diplomatic tools to bring about a change in direction in Nicaragua".

Nicaragua shot back following Rodriguez's comments, which included calling a decision to potentially remove Nicaragua from the CAFTA-DR trade pact "something we have to seriously consider," saying his remarks were "interfering and disrespectful."

"The government of Nicaragua, in use of its powers and in exercise of its national sovereignty, immediately withdraws the approval granted to the candidate Hugo Rodríguez," Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said in a statement.

Moncada added that Rodriguez could not interfere in Nicaragua's internal political affairs, after the nominee stressed the United States will continue to press for the return of democracy to Nicaragua.

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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