Trump calls on Venezuela's Maduro to 'restore democracy'

U.S. President Donald Trump walks through the Rose Garden as he prepares to welcome NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. and his team to the White House in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday called on the Venezuelan government to “hold free and fair elections” after President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected in a vote widely condemned overseas.

“We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people,” Trump said in a statement.

Earlier, Trump signed an executive order putting in place new economic sanctions aimed at preventing U.S. citizens from being involved in the sale of Venezuela’s accounts receivables related to oil and other assets.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by David Alexander