As pressure grows, Venezuela's Maduro addresses UN

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Sanctions such as those published on Tuesday bar American citizens and companies from any dealings with the individuals in question, which blocks them from holding bank accounts or contracting services from US firms.

During his speech to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump announced he was tightening pressure on Maduro's inner circle with sanctions against Venezuela's first lady, Cilia Flores, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez. For two days running, Trump said he wouldn't rule out a military intervention in Venezuela to resolve the nation's deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

Trump would not rule out US intervention in the South American nation and promised to help all Venezuelans, including the many Venezuelans living in Miami.

An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled into neighbouring countries in the last four years, threatening to upset regional stability.

The presidents of Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday signed a letter and sent it to the court based in The Hague on Wednesday, Peruvian foreign minister Nestor Popolizio said.

Treasury said the sanctions could be lifted if the officials "take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the government, and combat corruption in Venezuela".

It's the first time that member countries have referred another country to the Netherlands-based United Nations court.

"More personal sanctions can maybe deprive top Venezuelan officials from some ill-gotten gains but this will hardly destabilise the regime", said Raul Gallegos, associate director of consultancy Control Risks.

It is now up to the prosecutor - who didn't immediately comment on the request - to decide what to do next.

Human Rights Watch called the unprecedented step a reflection of "the growing alarm among other countries about the human rights catastrophe that has overtaken Venezuela".

The U migration and refugees organisations said in a joint statement in August that 2.3 million Venezuelans are now living overseas and more than 1.6 million have left since 2015.

Earlier in the day, Trump said he'd be willing to meet his longtime foe, but the White House said there were no immediate plans for such an encounter.

"This strategy ignores the fact that there have been coup attempts within the past year, and they've all failed", Ramsey said. But he also made clear Canada's support for global cooperation to help developing nations "to build a more peaceful, equal and stable world".

"For us to remove that from the table is irresponsible, " Cutz said.

While more world leaders spoke at the General Assembly on Wednesday, most attention was still focused on Trump, whose brash behavior provoked laughter and headshakes from other leaders.

While Wednesday's meeting of the council will be addressing the issue of nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Trump himself has left little doubt that it'll be another chance to target Tehran.

Earlier this year, members of the Trump administration met to discuss options for addressing the situation in Venezuela.

Venezuela was once among the wealthiest nations in Latin America, but the economy has been gutted by falling oil prices, reduced oil output and widespread incompetence and corruption.