In Peru, Pence defends Syria military strike

Frederick Owens
April 16, 2018

The United States, Mexico and Canada will expedite NAFTA talks in a push to reach a deal in coming weeks, Mexico's president said on Saturday (April 14) after a meeting with the U.S. vice president and Canadian prime minister.

The vice president also said that the topic of funding for Trump's proposed wall on the US border with Mexico did not come up in Pence's meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The decades-old trilateral trade agreement has been a frequent target of President Trump, who has criticized large trade deficits the USA has with Mexico and Canada, as well as the relocation of American jobs and companies.

This comes two months after an attempt to schedule a meeting in Washington between Pena Nieto and the USA president was called off due to Trump's harsh rhetoric regarding NAFTA and immigration.

Vice President Mike Pence has told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the "encouraged" by the progress on negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and hopeful it can lead to "more fair and reciprocal trade".

Pence said he was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Mexican president, although he made no reference to Pena Nieto's call for "mutual respect".

Trudeau also said the NAFTA talks had reached a "positive momentum".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is praising Peru's "strong stand" on the "tyranny and humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela.

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The joint operation was in response to a suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma last week.

Pence Saturday responded to a reporter's question about if the president overstated the outcome of Syria's mission.

In condemning the US-led attack, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted on Saturday that the missile strikes would only strengthen his nation's resolve to keep its fight against Western-backed terror groups and "crush terrorism in every inch of the nation".

He says President Donald Trump is sending his regrets that he couldn't attend the summit.

But Pence, who is attending the Summit of the Americas in Peru, said that other leaders at the gathering had both publicly and privately expressed support for the allied strikes on Syria.

Pence, however, justified the attack by merely stating that the USA did not act alone, claiming that other leaders at the Latin American summit had both publicly and privately expressed support for the Syria bombardment.

Pence was whisked away from the Summit of the Americas late Friday so he could inform USA congressional leaders by phone of Trump's plans to announce the missile strikes.

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