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Pence: NAFTA deal could be reached in several weeks

16 Апреля 2018

US Vice President Mike Pence has threatened that Washington is set to respond to possible retaliatory moves against its missile attacks on Syria, by Damascus or its allies, specifically Russian Federation and Iran.

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.

After the meeting with Pence, Trudeau said the "positive momentum" included the thorny issue of USA demands around automobile production.

On an unrelated subject, the vice president acknowledged no change in the stalemate between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump over plans to build a U.S. -Mexico wall.

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 after a meeting with the US vice president and Canadian prime minister.

Trudeau, however, refused to be drawn into any specific timelines even as he noted that both the US and Mexico are facing elections in the coming weeks and months that have created "pressures" for both those countries' negotiators.

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Vice President Mike Pence told USA allies in Latin America on Saturday that the US -led airstrikes on Syria "degraded and crippled" the country's chemical weapons capability in a series of meetings at an worldwide summit. He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the USA response to Syria.

But while Pence struck a notably confident tone, saying USA officials "think we're close", he went much farther a few hours later when he suggested a deal could be finished in a few weeks. And Mr. Trump, told of whom Mr. Pence had chosen, said, "Why would Mike do that?" according to one West Wing official.

But US relations with Mexico had soured in recent weeks as US President Donald Trump has sought to link the trade talks to Mexican efforts to stop migrants illegally crossing the border into the US, and ordered National Guard troops to the border.

Trudeau expressed optimism that the three neighbors could reach an agreement on a renegotiated NAFTA, telling Pence there was "positive momentum" in the talks. Left unsaid was whether Pence's overtures might eventually lead to a joint Trump-Pena Nieto meeting, their first.

Vice President Mike Pence had a simple message for Russia Saturday, after overnight airstrikes in Syria that Russia condemned.

Pence left the summit late Friday so he could confer with USA congressional leaders by telephone from his hotel suite about Trump's plans to announce the missile strikes.

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Pence: NAFTA deal could be reached in several weeks