The Latest: Trump says strong Europe 'very important'April 20, 2017 8:48pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Thursday's press conference with President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (all times EDT):

4:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a strong Europe is "very, very important" to the United States.

Trump comments come in advance of Sunday's presidential election in France, a contest that has high stakes for the future of the European Union. Trump supported Britain's decision to leave the EU and has previously said he expected other countries to do the same.

But on Thursday, the president said a strong Europe was in everyone's advantage. He did not specifically weigh in on the French election.

Trump spoke during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.


4:38 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he doesn't see a role for the U.S. to play in helping stabilize Libya.

He says the United States "has, right now, enough roles, with a role everywhere."

But Trump says he wants the U.S. to play a lead role in ridding nations of the Islamic State group.

Libya descended into chaos with a civil war in 2011 that ended with the killing of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi (MOO'-ah-mar gah-DAH'-fee). Since then, the North African country has been split into two competing parliaments and governments, each backed by a set of militias, tribes and political factions.

Trump spoke at a White House news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.


4:34 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he looks "very much forward to meeting the Pope" when he travels to Italy next month.

The president will be in Italy in late May for a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies. Trump was asked if he would meet Pope Francis during a press conference with Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni at the White House Thursday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that the White House would be reaching out to the Vatican to "see if a meeting, an audience with the Pope can be accommodated."


4:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump believes he will "soon" get new health care legislation passed by Congress.

Trump, speaking Thursday in a White House news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, says there "is no give up" even after the White House's first plan failed last month.

The president insists he had only been negotiating for a short time and says the new plan "gets better and better."

He is providing no details. The first plan faced opposition from both conservative and moderate Republicans and was never voted upon in Congress.

Trump also says he is optimistic that a funding deal will be reached to keep the federal government open ahead of next week's deadline.


4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Iran is not living up to the "spirit" of the nuclear agreement.

Trump says Iran is doing "a tremendous disservice" to the agreement brokered by the Obama administration.

The 2015 agreement by Iran and six other world powers ended some of the sanctions that had punished and isolated Iran for its nuclear program but maintained others dealing with ballistic missile research, terrorism, human rights violations and money laundering.

Trump spoke during a joint press conference Thursday with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni,

Trump says the agreement was "a terrible agreement. It shouldn't have been signed."

He says his administration will have "something to say about" the Iran nuclear deal "in the not too distant future." He didn't elaborate.


4:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Thursday's fatal shooting in Paris "looks like another terrorist attack."

Paris police say a gunman has killed a police officer and wounded another before being killed himself in an attack on the Champs-Elysees shopping district.

It was unclear how Trump concluded that terrorism may have been a factor. Paris police have yet to announce a motive,

Trump is also offering condolences from the U.S. to the people of France.

He calls the attack a "terrible thing" and says "it never ends." He says people must be strong and vigilant.

The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France's presidential election.

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