The United States says Nicaragua has expelled three American government officials.

State Department spokesman John Kirby says the officials were kicked out of the Central American country Tuesday. He says such action could set back U.S.-Nicaraguan relations on trade and other matters.

Kirby said Thursday that the officials were on temporary duty status in Nicaragua and only recently arrived there. He said the U.S. has complained to Nicaragua's ambassador in Washington, Francisco Campbell.

Kirby wouldn't say if the U.S. might take reciprocal action.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has long had a difficult relationship with the United States, dating back to Nicaragua's Contra War of the 1980s. After returning to power in 2007, Ortega allied himself with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and other opponents of U.S. foreign policy.