Trump, alongside Italian PM, says no USA role in Libya

Apr 22, 2017, 01:26

President Donald Trump listens as Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

President Donald Trump does not see a U.S. role in helping its European allies build a government in Libya.

Trump also said this week he would make "some very big changes" to the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico or "we are going to get rid of NAFTA for once and for all". "We have a role everywhere", Trump said. He offered three priorities: dealing better with mass migration by strengthening the European compact on the issue; stabilizing countries such as Libya where an increased effort is required; and fighting terrorism and Daesh, another name for Isis.

Trudeau and Gentiloni will be dealing with Trump in person because Italy is to host the G7 leaders' summit next month, which will be part of Trump's entry into the world of multilateral summitry.

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Gentiloni pointed out that Italy has been a staunch ally in fighting Islamic extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump has not expressed an opinion on the upcoming French election, although he was a supporter of the British decision to exit the European Union and has instead stated his preference to one-on-one trade and defense agreements with US allies.

"I have great respect for the president of China", Trump said. He says he's not anxious about emboldening terrorists by saying an attack can have an impact on a democratic election. "Italy is key partner in the fight against terrorism", Trump said, while answering to a poser, adding, he seeks a "reciprocal trade deal with Italy".

Gentiloni, premier since December, was also expected to stress to Trump the need for burden-sharing in Europe's refugee crisis, given Italy's proximity to Libya, where large numbers of migrants take the risky voyage across the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

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Gentiloni said that "now is the time for the United States of America and Italy to work together to stabilise the situation in Libya".

The White House said a day earlier that it would request an audience for Trump with Pope Francis, but details of a possible meeting have not been announced.

After a gunman killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees, an attack the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for, Trump tweeted: "Another terrorist attack in Paris".

"It is a frightful thing to say, but we have no choice.

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Now the commitment must be political", he said. Gentiloni insisted he wasn't singling out the USA president - even though he appeared to drop hints in that direction from the moment of his first public handshake with Trudeau. Instead, he told reporters, he wants to defeat Islamic State, after which the U.S. can focus on domestic issues.

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