NAFTA deal could come within weeks, Pence and Trudeau say

The Latest: Chemical Watchdog Group To Fulfill Syria Mission

"We believe that it has significantly eroded and crippled the ability of the regime to produce chemicals", Pence further claimed despite the fact that the previous U.S. administration was heavily involved in the process of Syria's dismantling of its entire chemical weapons arsenal back in 2014 in the presence of global inspectors.

Pence's to-do list included smoothing over differences with Mexico, America's southern neighbor, amid unease over Trump's decision to send troops to the border and harsh rhetoric on immigration.

While the crisis in Syria was front and centre, Trudeau and Pence also expressed optimism about the state of NAFTA negotiations, the results of which will have dramatic ramifications for the USA and Canada. The allied strike on Friday was prompted by a suspected chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus last week that left dozens dead.

Noting that "you're known by the company you keep", Pence said Russian Federation needs to join other nations in opposing the use of chemical weapons in Syria and "live up to the commitments they made".

Shortly before Trump's address to the nation Friday night, Pence was whisked away from the summit in his motorcade so he could return to his hotel to inform congressional leaders of the pending missile strikes.

Unlike past appearances at worldwide summits, the vice president had to dive into the packed agenda on short notice.

Читайте также: Former First Lady Barbara Bush's health is failing

While President Donald Trump has vowed to scrap NAFTA and pull out of trade agreements as part of his America First policy, most of the region has been moving in the opposite direction.

In meeting after meeting, Pence offered a low-key, extended hand.

Pence said they simply had a difference of opinion and some issues were "set aside, for a later date".

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.

As for next steps for the summit, Pence said the US would be submitting a bid to host the ninth Summit of the Americas and repeated a familiar line about the Trump doctrine: "America First does not mean America alone".

Pence, who was also scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, struck a notably confident tone, saying USA officials "think we're close" and were "encouraged at the progress of our negotiations". He warned that if it could not be overhauled to better protect USA interests, Washington would pull out of the pact. "Many have died of starvation and deprivation, and millions have fled the oppression of the dictatorship in Venezuela", Pence said.

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