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Trump Cancels Trip to Latin America to Focus on Response to Syria - White House

© AP Photo / Pablo Martinez MonsivaisPresident Donald Trump walks onto stage to speak at Local 18 Richfield Training Facility, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Richfield, Ohio.
President Donald Trump walks onto stage to speak at Local 18 Richfield Training Facility, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Richfield, Ohio. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump has canceled his trip to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru in order to monitor the response to Syria, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Tuesday.

"President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled," the statement said. "The President will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world."

As the spokesperson specified, Vice President Mike Pence will go to the summit instead of Trump.

The White House said on Monday that Trump is considering all options in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians in the Syrian city of Douma. Trump has blamed the Syrian government for the attack, though the Syrian government denies the allegations.

Also on Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the United States will respond to the alleged chemical attack regardless of whether the UN Security Council approves a draft resolution to take action against the Assad government.

On Saturday, opposition news sources citing Syrian militants said government forces allegedly used chlorine in an attack in Douma that killed up to 70. Syrian officials said that terrorists and the White Helmets staged the attack to influence public opinion.

Cuban Participation

Meanwhile, speaking later in the day, US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert called on Cuba to facilitate the full participation of civil society in the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Peru.

"We call on the Cuban government to facilitate full, robust participation in the Summit by allowing the free and unrestricted travel of its citizens, a universal human right," Nauert said.

Nauert explained the State Department has received numerous, credible reports that the Cuban government has engaged in activities to undermine the country’s civil society from participating in the Summit.

"[The Cuban government] prevented and continues to prevent members of independent civil society from traveling to Peru to participate in the Summit of the Americas," Nauert said.

The State Department spokesperson emphasized the United States condemns these actions of the Cuban government.

The Summit of the Americas is set to take place in Lima, Peru, on April 13-14.

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