Trump to attend Summit of the Americas in Peru


Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump will travel to Peru next month to attend the Summit of the Americas of leaders from across the Western Hemisphere.

The decision, which a White House official confirmed to AFP, ends speculation that sour US relations with southern neighbors may stop Trump's attendance at the meeting in Lima on April 13-14.

Trump spoke to host President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski earlier this week, after which a US official said his attendance had "not been confirmed."

But the White House now says he will attend, following a call with an old business acquaintance, Argentine president Mauricio Macri.

During Friday's call, Trump "underscored the need for countries in the region to work together to bring democracy back to the great people of Venezuela," according to the White House.

When Trump travels to Lima, he is likely to encounter protests and perhaps a hesitant welcome from fellow heads of state and government.

Throughout his election campaign and his presidency, Trump has maligned Hispanic migrants and attacked Latin American nations over drugs, trade and the movement of people.

He has promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico and threatened to tear up a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

Argentina and Brazil also face the prospect of punitive tariffs on steel exports after Trump's controversial announcement on Thursday.

The first Summit of the Americas took place in Miami in 1994, and it has long been a forum for the United States to influence events across the region.

Then president Barack Obama used the last summit, in 2015 in Panama, to meet Cuban leader Raul Castro for the first time and to try to isolate the Venezuelan regime.