White House: Trump, May will ‘not allow’ Syria chemical attacks to continue

The White House on Tuesday abruptly announced the cancellation of US President Donald Trump’s first trip to Latin America. (Reuters)

The leaders of Britain and the United States vowed Tuesday to end chemical weapon attacks in Syria, drawing a red line ahead of possible military action.

“The president and prime minister agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue,” the White House said in a statement after a call between Donald Trump and Theresa May.

UN vote

It was earlier report that the US requested on Tuesday a UN vote at 1900 GMT on Syria chemical inquiry. This comes after the White House abruptly announced the cancellation of US President Donald Trump's first trip to Latin America, scheduled for later this week, saying he wants to “oversee the American response to Syria.”

The announcement comes as the Republican president weighs military strikes in the war-wracked country -- and shortly after the FBI raided the offices of Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Peru in Trump's stead for the Summit of the Americas, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced. “President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled,” Sanders said in a statement.

Trump “will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world,” she said, adding that Pence would also make the planned stop in Colombia.

Mattis cancels weekend

It was learnt on Tuesday that the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has canceled weekend travel plans, a US official said, as the Pentagon works with the White House on a response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

The change of plans comes as US President Donald Trump shelved his first trip to Latin America, scheduled for later this week, saying he wants to “oversee the American response to Syria.” Mattis was supposed to visit California and Nevada, the official added without giving further details.

Trump has vowed to respond “forcefully” to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, where rescuers and medics say more than 40 people died after the suspected poison gas attack in the last rebel-held pocket of the one-time opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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