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World welcomes US President Biden, with some leaders openly expressing relief

In statements from overseas, officials signal desire to work with new administration on bolstering ties after tumultuous Trump years

US President Joe Biden speaks during his on the West Front of the US.Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Pool/Getty Images/AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks during his on the West Front of the US.Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

World leaders said they were looking forward to working with Joe Biden, as the Democrat was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday after four turbulent years under Donald Trump.

In statements and tweets from across the world, presidents and prime ministers congratulated Biden on entering office, signaling a willingness to work with the new administration on strengthening ties between the US and their respective countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Canada’s cooperation with its southern neighbor in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and working for a sustainable economic recovery.

“Our two countries are more than neighbors — we are close friends, partners and allies,” Trudeau said in a tweet, moments after Biden was sworn in outside the Capitol building in Washington.

From left to right: Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk, US President Donald Trump, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend a working session at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, southwest France, on August 25, 2019. (Philippe Wojazer/Pool/AFP)

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, tweeted congratulations to both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, adding: “It’s time to bring back conviction & common sense and rejuvenate our EU-US relationship.”

After a tense relationship with now-former president Donald Trump, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Europe is ready for a fresh start.”

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, said he was “greatly relieved” Biden was replacing Trump as US president, calling it a “good day for democracy.”

Germany looked forward “to knowing we again have the US at our side as an indispensable partner” in addressing “the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, security issues, arms control and disarmament, and many urgent conflicts around the world,” Steinmeier said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron specifically lauded Biden’s commitment to return to the Paris climate accord, telling him “welcome back” in a congratulatory message after his inauguration.

“Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people!” Macron tweeted in English. “We are together. We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!”

US President Donald Trump (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron talk before a family picture with G7 leaders and guests at the G7 summit in Biarritz, southwest France, on August 25, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)

Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2016 agreement in which almost every country on the planet agreed to cut carbon emissions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has faced criticism at home over his close relationship with Trump, said he was looking forward to “working closely” with Biden.

“In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defense, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them,” Johnson tweeted.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin wrote on Twitter that, “Today a true friend of Ireland Joe Biden became the 46th President of the USA.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile said Russia would seek “good relations with the United States” under Biden, while a Russian foreign ministry statement said they expected a “more constructive” approach to upcoming arms control talks.

The US and Russia are to discuss extending the landmark 2010 New START nuclear weapons accord shortly after Biden’s swearing in. The last remaining nuclear pact between the countries, it limits each side to 1,500 nuclear warheads and is set to expire on February 5.

In this March 10, 2011, file photo, then-US Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the departure of “tyrant” Trump, Tehran having repeatedly called on Washington to lift sanctions imposed over its nuclear drive.

“We expect [the Biden administration] to return to law and to commitments, and try in the next four years, if they can, to remove the stains of the past four years,” said Rouhani.

Biden’s administration wants the United States back in the landmark Iran nuclear accord, from which Trump withdrew, provided Tehran returns to strict compliance.

A key opponent to the nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Biden to “strengthen” a long-standing alliance between Israel and the US.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the US-Israel alliance, to continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran,” Netanyahu said in a video.

Additionally, Pope Francis urged the United States’ new president to promote “reconciliation and peace” around the world following his inauguration.

File: Pope Francis shakes hands with then-US vice president Joe Biden at the Vatican, April 29, 2016 (L’Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

He offered Biden, the second Roman Catholic to become US president after John F. Kennedy, his “cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers” in the task ahead.

“Under your leadership, may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding,” he said.

“At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for far-sighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom,” the pope said in a statement.

And NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said that “the bond between North America and Europe is the bedrock of our security, and a strong NATO is good for both.”

He said that NATO allies “need to stand together to address the security consequences of the rise of China, the threat of terrorism, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a more assertive Russia.”

In Latin America, Biden faces immediate challenges on immigration and the leaders of the two most populous countries — Brazil and Mexico — were chummy with Trump. The Trump administration also took a hard line against governments in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, expanding painful sanctions.

In Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro urged a renewed dialogue with the Biden administration, while hoping the incoming president abandons the avalanche of damaging sanctions Trump imposed to attempt a regime change.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City, Mexico, May 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme)

Various Cuban officials said they were willing to reopen a dialogue with Washington if there was respect for Cuba’s sovereignty.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who cultivated an unexpectedly friendly relationship with Trump and was one of the last world leaders to recognize Biden’s victory, read from a letter he sent to Biden in 2012, calling for a reorienting of the bilateral relationship away from security and military aid and toward development.

He urged Biden to implement immigration reform, and added: “We need to maintain a very good relationship with the United States government and I don’t have any doubt that it’s going to be that way.”

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