Trump said late Monday that the US will respond "forcefully" to a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over the weekend, after suggesting earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin may share responsibility.
The White House had already scaled back the trip in recent weeks, and one planned meeting with Peru's president was canceled after he resigned amid corruption allegations.
His travel plans changed after a Saturday night attack on the Syrian town of Douma which killed at least 60 people and injured more than 1,000 others. Vice President Mike Pence will attend the summit in Trump's place, the White House announced.
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Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, said in a statement that Pence is "honored" to attend the summit, adding that a year ago he "traveled to the region to meet with the Presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama to increase the pressure against the Maduro regime and negotiate better trade deals that benefit American workers". Hopefully this will all be worth it, since the US President has pledged to have come up with a solution to the Syria crisis and worked out what the American response will be within just a few days. "That's why Trump's absence from the summit, where for the first time there won't be a USA president among the participants, marks a key point in ties and in the application of policies based on consensus", Rodriguez said.
US response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria was imminent, the US President said on Monday.
Syria denies being behind any chemical attack. He would not describe the USA response or say when it would come. The U.S.is working to coordinate Latin American countries on a pressure campaign against Venezuela's government.