World congratulates Obama on victory


Chinese leader Hu Jintao has joined other world leaders in congratulating US President Barack Obama on his re-election, noting “positive progress” in Sino-US relations the past four years, China’s foreign ministry has said.
“President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent messages of congratulations to President Obama on his being re-elected president of the United States,” Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Indonesians celebrated in Obama’s childhood home of Jakarta where a statue of a young “Barry” Obama, as he was called as a child, stands outside the school he attended in Jakarta.
Students inside watched the election results on TV and cheered when they learned Obama would remain in the White House for another four years. He lived with his mother and stepfather in the Indonesian capital from age six to 10.
Other countries across Asia also closely watched the incoming results, some setting up polling booths and holding mock elections while throwing parties as returns came in. David Cameron, the British prime minister, posted his regards on Twitter: “Warm congratulations to my friend Barack Obama. Look forward to continuing to work together”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Obama, saying that the strategic alliance between their two countries was “stronger than ever”.
“I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the interests that are vital for the security of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu, who has had a testy relationship with the US leader, said in a short written statement. Netanyahu’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, who was a frequent visitor to Washington over the past four years, said in his own statement he had no doubt Obama will continue his policies, which “fundamentally support Israel’s security”.
“It is possible to overcome any differences in positions that may arise,” Barak said. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has been disappointed that Obama did not pressure Israel to make greater efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, including a freeze on all settlement construction.
In the absence of negotiations, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urged the US president to reverse course and support Palestinian efforts to seek UN General Assembly recognition of an independent state of Palestine. “We have decided to take our cause to the United Nations this month, and we hope that Obama will stand by us,” Erekat told Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.
Hamas, the political group that controls the Gaza Strip, issued their own statement. “There is a chance for Obama to change the Israeli-biased American policy and build a new moral one that ends the double standards in dealing with various Middle East issues, and help the Palestinians to regain their rights,” the statement said.
“We heard moderate speech from Obama when he won the first time, but his policies contradicted with his speech. Now there is a good opportunity to implement what he promised without the Zionist lobby pressurising him,” Hamas said.
A spokesman for the main Syrian opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, expressed hope that the election victory would free Obama to do more to support those trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. “We hope this victory for President Obama will make him free more to make the right decision to help freedom and dignity in Syria and all over the world,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said on the sidelines of an opposition conference on the Qatari capital of Doha.
Sabra renewed the opposition’s appeal to the international community to supply rebel fighters with weapons.
The Obama administration and its Western allies have ruled out military intervention in Syria. The US has also been cool to opposition rebels’ demands for weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles, out of concern that they could fall into the wrong hands. The US and other foreign backers of the Syrian uprising have urged the fractured, largely exile-based opposition to unite and include more representatives from inside Syria.