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German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes European Council President Donald Tusk at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach


HAMBURG (Reuters) - European Council President Donald Tusk welcomed the support Donald Trump has offered to Transatlantic ties but voiced caution on Friday on whether they reflected a change in policy by the U.S. president.

In Poland on Thursday ahead of the G20 summit in Germany, Trump said he stood firmly behind the mutual defence commitments of the NATO alliance and criticised Russia.

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who has voiced concern at Trump's apparent willingness to favour better ties with Moscow at the expense of the European Union, told reporters at the summit in Hamburg:

"I've heard yesterday in Warsaw, surprising diplomatic words from the American president about Transatlantic community, about the cooperation between the United States, Europe, about our common political tradition and civilisation, and about the readiness to protect and to defend the whole Western community.

"We have been waiting for a long time to hear these words from President Trump but the real question is whether it was a one-time incident or a new policy. President Trump said yesterday in Warsaw, that words are easy but it is actions that matter, and the first test will be our meeting here in Hamburg."

(Reporting by Noah Barkin in Hamburg and Elizabeth Miles in Brussels; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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