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US, Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections loom

US, Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections loom

US Vice President Mike Pence will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Summit of the Americas in Peru on Saturday, the vice president's Communications Director Jarrod Agen said in a statement.

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

The US Vice President said the topic of funding for the border wall did not come up in the meeting, while acknowledging that the two countries have differences.

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".

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.

This comes two months after an attempt to schedule a meeting in Washington between Pena Nieto and the United States president was called off due to Trump's harsh rhetoric regarding NAFTA and immigration.

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Vice President Mike Pence said the United States did the morally right thing when it attacked Syrian chemical weapons facilities in retaliation for an attack on civilians - and it could happen again. He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the US response to Syria. 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.

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, however, justified the attack by merely stating that the USA did not act alone, claiming that other leaders at the Latin American summit had both publicly and privately expressed support for the Syria bombardment. The U.S. led a missile strike in Syria earlier Saturday.

There had been hopes leading up to this weekend's summit that an agreement might be signed, but that did not happen and instead, USA negotiators softened their demands on autos even as Trump said he will to renegotiate "forever".

For Pence, the calls and schedule changes served as the latest example of his supporting role here in place of Trump, who pulled out of the summit so he could manage the US response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.