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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was in favour of a strong Europe, as France gears up for an election where European unity is a key issue and Britain negotiates its departure from the European Union.

"Yes, a strong Europe is very, very important to me as president of the United States and it's also ... important for the United States, we want to see it, we will help it be strong, and it's very much to everybody's advantage," Trump said at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Eric Beech)

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