USA to spend $16 million more on Venezuelan refugees, Pence announces

15 April, 2018, 07:25 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • While in Peru, Pence briefs US lawmakers on Syrian strikes

He made the announcement on Friday during a meeting with Venezuelan opposition leaders.

Pence took Trump's place at the summit so the president could remain in the U.S.to manage the response to the apparent chemical attack by Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday that the USA will spend an additional $16 million for Venezuelan refugees.

Pence met with Pena Nieto on Saturday.

Pence is departing for the Summit of the Americas in Lima on Friday.

The vice president is to sit down with several Latin American leaders, including Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra and Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

More than a dozen Latin American countries have also strongly criticized Maduro, accusing him of trampling upon democracy by sidelining the opposition and appointing a super-legislative body over the heads of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Pence, who filled in for Trump, spent part of the summit trying to drum up support for further isolating Venezuela, which faces mounting US sanctions.

Summit host Peru played down the decision by US President Donald Trump to skip the Summit of the Americas, saying Mike Pence was an acceptable substitution, on April 12, 2018.

Vice President Mike Pence says there's a "real possibility" the US could reach a deal with Canada and Mexico on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement "within the next several weeks".

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Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, says Pence called House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi before Trump's speech Friday night. White House officials said the vice president would emphasize the U.S.as the "partner of choice" in Latin American trade, noting that almost half of the US trade agreements are based in the Western Hemisphere.

Pence would likely also aim to counter China's attempt to exert more economic influence in the Americas at a time when the Trump administration has been embroiled in a trade dispute with Beijing. Pence landed in Peru shortly after Trump signaled his interest in possibly rejoining negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Pacific Rim trade pact he frequently blasted during the 2016 campaign, injecting a dose of uncertainty among US trading partners.

"I don't see any progress there", said Richard Feinberg, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who helped organize the first Summit of Americas in 1994. "He's talking about higher trade barriers and tariffs".

Speaking on background, Canadian officials said they expect the meeting to focus on NAFTA and the benefits of free trade for all three North American nations.

The Mexican president's office said the meeting was proposed by Pence to discuss "the status and outlooks for the bilateral relationship" between the two neighbors.

Trump said on Thursday the NAFTA talks between Canada, Mexico and the USA were "coming along great" and "we're getting pretty close to a deal".

The senators encourage Trump to drop an "America First" policy they say is divisive "and embrace instead an "Americas together" policy".

The U.S. president has been pushing a tougher line on immigration and seeking stronger protections along the U.S.

The president's recent tweets called on Mexico to halt "caravans" of migrants, many from Honduras, a message that Pence might be asked about in his discussions.

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