Interesting responses from around the world on the Bush victory.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saw Bush’s victory as bolstering the U.S.-declared “war on terror.”
….Putin said victory for Bush meant the United States had not allowed itself to be cowed by terrorists. “I can only feel joy that the American people did not allow itself to be intimidated, and made the most sensible decision,” he told a Kremlin news conference.
Berlusconi, also in Moscow, said: “Bush will continue with the policy that assigns the United States the role of defender and promoter of freedom and democracy.”
In Poland, which like Italy has troops in Iraq backing U.S. forces, President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that on terrorism Bush “is a very decisive leader who is right, simply right” and that continued cooperation with him was “really good news.”
….Even in the Middle East, Farid Al-Khazin, political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said: “Continuity in policy at time of war is going to be crucial and I think re-election of Bush is far better.”
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra saw Bush’s Republicans as more “outward looking” than the Democrats and said a Bush victory would be better for free trade. [Reuters]
- Iyad Allawi, prime minister of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, told Italian daily La Repubblica both Bush and Kerry were regarded as friends. “The United States liberated us from a dictator, from a very long period of war and agony.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that between the two contenders “there is no significant difference when it comes to their deep and warm support for Israel.”
Other leaders also said either outcome would have been fine. “I think there will basically be no change in the recognition of friendship between Japan and the United States,” said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
- In France, which was a leading critic of the war, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier called the election the start of “a new stage” irrespective of who won.
“We are going to work with the new U.S. administration,” he said. “We have many things to do, both on the current crises — in Iraq, the Middle East, Iran, the fate of the African continent — and to renovate the transatlantic relationship.”
German Interior Minister Otto Schily said: “Despite the issue of our differing positions in the past, we all have to contribute to ensuring that the situation in Iraq stabilizes.”
But Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik spoke for several countries when he said: “I hope that (Bush) will try to build bridges … and do more to cooperate via international organizations.”
….Khaled Maeena, editor of Saudi newspaper Arab News, said: “Four more years means (Bush) will be relentless in fighting so-called terrorism. More innocent people will be victims … All the Saudis I’ve seen so far are disappointed.”
Sami Abu Zuhri, of the Palestinian group Hamas which is fighting Israel, said: “We urge the new American administration to reconsider its positions … Until they (do so) we will continue to regard the U.S. administration as hostile to our Arab and Muslim causes.”
More from the BBC:
- Romano Prodi, European Commission President
My warm congratulations to President Bush on his re-election after a difficult ballot, whose outcome was far from sure.
As the country’s leader in the most dramatic time of its history, he has had to deal with the horrifying onslaught of terrorism.
I hope his second term will see the United States and the whole world enjoy the political stabilisation and the guarantee of collective security we have all done our utmost to ensure.
….Alexander Downer, Australian Foreign Minister
From our point of view, the Bush administration is a known quantity.
Australians watched in Sydney as results came in
We’ve had a very good relationship with them the last four years. I’m sure we’ll be able to keep building on that over the next four.
But, look, frankly, if Senator Kerry somehow miraculously comes through here or if in any case he had been elected, we would have worked pretty well with them as well.
….Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister
I would like to express the desire of the Spanish government to contribute to a relationship based on efficient and constructive co-operation with the government of the United States, with President Bush.
….Moody Awori, Kenyan Vice-President
I am a little bit apprehensive because the first term of Bush, he had come in as a lame duck.
Now it appears as if he is winning very convincingly. To me, I think we are going to see more dictatorship on an international scale. We are going to see more extremism come out of there.
We are going to see even more isolationism where America will not bother about the United Nations. To me that is a very sad affair.
- Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen appealed for “a fresh start for the trans-Atlantic partnership” but held firm with Bush on Iraq. Denmark has 501 troops in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra.
“We will stay there as long as needed so the Iraqis can be helped to become masters in their own homes,” he said.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Goeran Persson said the close vote “was not unexpected…. But it was a divided nation that went to the polls.”
“It is an incumbent president in a situation where a great part of the nation experiences that it is in war with terrorism,” Persson said. “The economy is moving in the right direction. These two issues together should have given Bush a clear victory. Despite this, it was very narrow. This shows that the U.S. is divided.”
And this on Germany from CNN Berlin correspondent:
- No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, Germany will pursue close relations with the United States despite strains over Iraq; though don’t expect Berlin to send any troops to the conflict, German Interior Minister Otto Schily said Wednesday morning.
The presence of Schily and other German politicians in the audience at a panel discussion hosted by U.S. Ambassador Daniel Coats as election results rolled in was a strong indication the German political community sought to patch up ties with Washington, regardless of who takes the White House.
….Asked about Defense Minister Peter Struck’s recent comment that Germany could eventually become “involved” in Iraq, Schily noted that Struck also said it depended on “what we can afford.” Schily reiterated his government’s position that Germany is training Iraqi forces and could help relieve U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Balkans, where German troops are already stationed, to allow U.S. forces to better concentrate on stabilizing Iraq.