US VP Pence thanks Canada for backing Syria strikes, optimistic on NAFTA

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence receives a Venezuela's flag pin from Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma during a meeting at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Lima Peru Friday

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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 USA vice president and Canadian prime minister.

There "will be a price to pay" if Syria ever uses chemical weapons again, as the USA is ready to take additional action, Pence told reporters travelling with him to Peru to attend the Summit of the Americas.

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.

After meeting Pena Nieto and Trudeau separately, Pence said he was leaving the summit "very hopeful that we are very close to a renegotiated NAFTA".

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But he said it was "intellectually bankrupt" to expect the security services to lay out all the information they have. There have been calls from opposition parties and some Conservative MPs for Parliament to have a vote beforehand.

There had been expectations leading up to the meeting that NAFTA would dominate the discussion, particularly after conflicting messages from US trade officials and President Donald Trump earlier in the week.

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 US and Canada.

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".

Canada and the US stood shoulder-to-shoulder on Saturday as they condemned the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians and sounded a positive note about the ongoing North American free trade talks.

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Pence says he looks forward to discussing NAFTA and a broad range of issues between the two countries. He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the US response to Syria.

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

"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".

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday called USA led airstrikes on Syria a completely accomplished mission while in Peru to renegotiate the NAFTA trade pact. The U.S. led a missile strike in Syria earlier Saturday.

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Pence stated leaders at the summit, which is concentrated around the meltdown of democracy in Venezuela, " saoid that they support the missile strikes in Syria.

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