The U.S. proposed Tuesday a framework for a transitional government in Venezuela composed of elected members from both sides of the National Assembly.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the framework a "path to democracy".

"The elected members of the national assembly would create an acceptable Council of State to serve as transitional government, until presidential and national assembly elections could be held, we hope, within six to 12 months," Pompeo told reporters.

He said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido will accept the Council of State "as the sole executive" during the transitional period.

"If the conditions of the framework are met, including the departure of foreign security forces, and elections are deemed free and fair by international observers, then all remaining U.S. sanctions will be lifted," said the top U.S. diplomat.

Pompeo later said in a statement that sanctions will remain and increase until Maduro accepts a political transition.

That plan comes amid what Pompeo called a critical urgency, accusing the Maduro government of failing to properly address the coronavirus pandemic. Venezeula has more than 130 diagnosed cases and three deaths, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University data.

"This framework can provide a path that ends the suffering and opens the path to a brighter future for Venezuela," said Pompeo.