partlycloudy
Wednesday September 19th, 2018 4:42PM

In Peru, Pence defends Syrian strike to Latin America allies

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Thousands of miles from home, Vice President Mike Pence was thrust into a new, more immediate, role on the world stage Saturday: explaining President Donald Trump's military strike in Syria to a summit of Latin America leaders.

Hours after Trump hailed the missile strike targeting the Syria's suspected chemical weapons — tweeting, "Mission Accomplished!" — Pence defended the president while building support among U.S. allies for the joint strikes with Britain and France.

"The objective of the mission the commander in chief gave our military forces and our allies was completely accomplished — with swift professionalism," Pence told reporters, noting there were "no reported civilian casualties."

Later, speaking in a cavernous hall of world leaders at the Summit of the Americas, Pence expressed gratitude to Canada, Colombia and other nations that had voiced support for the strike and urged "every nation in this hemisphere of freedom" to support the military action.

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. And with tensions simmering over trade, Pence expressed hope alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the three nations could soon agree to a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

And while Trump grapples with the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Pence sought to draw a bright line against Vladimir Putin's alliance with Syria following the suspected chemical attack. "Our message to Russia is that you're on the wrong side of history," Pence said.

Trump often improvises his remarks and is known for bold declarations in person and on his Twitter account. Pence, meanwhile, tends to be more scripted in his exchanges and frequently glanced down at highlighted index cards as he spoke to Latin American leaders here.

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. Pence watched Trump's speech from his hotel suite, joined by aides.

Unlike past appearances at international summits, the vice president had to dive into the packed agenda on short notice. He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the U.S. response to Syria.

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

Seeking rapprochement with Mexico, which has been at odds with Trump over the border wall and immigration, Pence said the topic of funding for Trump's long-promised border wall did not come up in his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Pence said they simply had a difference of opinion and some issues were "set aside, for a later date." Left unsaid was whether Pence's overtures might eventually lead to a joint Trump-Pena Nieto meeting, their first.

Seated alongside Trudeau, Pence said there was a "real possibility" the U.S. could reach a deal with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA "within the next several weeks." Trump has long assailed the trade deal's impact on U.S. workers and threatened to pull the U.S. out if he's unhappy with the terms.

The summit also gave Pence an opportunity to press the case for tougher sanctions and more isolation of Venezuela across the region.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was barred from attending the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and that many foreign governments consider a sham.

Pence urged Maduro to accept humanitarian aid as the once-prosperous nation deals with humanitarian and economic crises. But he called on the region to take a harder line on Maduro's government, a message he intends to deliver in Brazil next month.

"The United States believes now is the time to do more, much more," he said.

___

On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at https://twitter.com/KThomasDC

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
In Peru, Pence defends Syrian strike to Latin America allies
In Peru for an international summit, Vice President Mike Pence was left explaining President Donald Trump's military strikes in Syria to Latin American leaders
5:28PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Storm blasts central US with snow, ice and wind, killing 3
Flights canceled, roads closed as deadly storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes buffets central US with heavy wind, rain, hail and snow
5:23PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump administration pauses legal orientation for immigrants
The federal government is putting on hold an orientation program that helps tens of thousands of immigrants navigate the country's complex immigration court system
5:12PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Trump speaks to UK, French leaders after strikes
President Donald Trump has spoken with the leaders of France and the United Kingdom individually to discuss their joint military operation in Syria
4:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP devotes $250M to midterm strategy: Keep House majority
RNC commits $250 million to midterm election strategy that has one goal above all else: Preserve the GOP's House majority
4:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Syrian leader: West just using pretext to attack
Syria's deputy parliament speaker says he believes Western countries could again use the pretext of chemical weapons to launch airstrikes on his country
3:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: France: Evidence gathered before Syria strike
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says the U.S., France and Britain launched joint military strikes after gathering evidence that Syrian armed forces had used chemical weapons
4:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
Qatar wants talks on logistics of 48-team World Cup in 2022
Qatar wants talks with FIFA to discuss the logistics of increasing the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams
3:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Pakistan has 'grave concern' on Syria situation
Pakistan says it is following the situation in Syria with "grave concern" and calls on all sides to refrain from actions that violate the U.N. charter
2:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Pence urges Latin American allies to isolate Venezuela
Vice President Mike Pence is urging Latin American allies to further isolate Venezuela and send more humanitarian aid to counter the country's political crisis
8:19PM ( 21 hours ago )
Cuba's Castro joins Trump in skipping Americas Summit
A steadily growing list of leaders are following U.S. President Donald Trump in choosing to send an alternate to the Summit of the Americas
5:59PM ( 23 hours ago )
Pence to press hard line on Venezuela, promote US trade
Vice President Mike Pence plans to promote the U.S. as a steady trading partner and press Latin American partners to further isolate Venezuela during his weekend trip to Peru
4:23PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
Storm blasts central US with snow, ice and wind, killing 3
Flights canceled, roads closed as deadly storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes buffets central US with heavy wind, rain, hail and snow
5:23PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump administration pauses legal orientation for immigrants
The federal government is putting on hold an orientation program that helps tens of thousands of immigrants navigate the country's complex immigration court system
5:12PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Defiant Syrians say West hasn't shaken their resolve
Hundreds of Syrians filled the streets of Damascus in defiance of what they called the West's "failure" to shake their nation's resolve with airstrikes that jolted the capital only hours earlier
5:09PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Teacher rebellion tests Republican grip on Kentucky
A teacher rebellion in Kentucky is testing the Republican party's grip on the state
5:01PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Certain of gas attack, allies struck Syria before UN report
The United States, Britain and France decided to strike Syria for its apparent use of chemical weapons without waiting for a report from U.N. inspectors
4:59PM ( 37 minutes ago )