Looks like Kerry might not be needed to unite everyone after all...
World leaders hail Bush's re-election, call for healing of global divisions over Iraq
World leaders rushed to congratulate US President George W. Bush on his re-election to a second four-year term and pledged cooperation with Washington to heal deep divisions over a host of international issues, notably Iraq and the Middle East.
In Brussels, the European Union's executive arm extended "warm congratulations" to Bush on his re-election and pledged Europe's renewed commitment to the transatlantic link.
EU nations were deeply split over Washington's unilateralist policies, notably on Iraq, in Bush's first term in office, but are now coming together to work for the shattered country's reconstruction.
"The United States and the European Union are linked by strong cultural, economic and political ties, and by our shared values. This makes us each other's natural and indispensable partners," said Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who holds the EU's rotating presidency.
"Together, Europe and the United States face many critical challenges in the years ahead. As in the past, our best hope for success lies in common action," EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana said in a statement.
Congratulatory messages also poured in from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and leaders from Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland and South Africa among others.
Annan said through his spokesman that he was "committed to continuing to work with President Bush and his administration on the whole range of issues facing the United Nations and the world."
Relations between Annan and Bush have been less than easy at times, particularly since the Iraq war, which Annan described as illegal, as it was waged without a UN green light.
French President Jacques Chirac, a strong opponent of the US-led war in Iraq, expressed hope that Bush's second term "will provide an opportunity to reinforce France-American friendship" and the transatlantic partnership.
"On behalf of France, and on my personal behalf, I would like to express to you my most sincere congratulations for your re-election to the presidency of the United States of America," Chirac wrote in a letter to Bush. "I hope that your second term will provide an opportunity to reinforce the Franco-American friendship."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who also clashed with Bush over Iraq, voiced hope that his country would continue its "good cooperation" with the United States.
Many countries remain worried about Bush's foreign policy and its implications for the Middle East, if he is re-elected, especially given fears of international terrorism.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said from Bonn that he hoped the new US government "would help to bring peace to the Middle East".
Speaking before Bush's re-election was confirmed, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said he hoped nothing would change in the role the US-led coalition plays in Iraq whoever won the election.
"Whoever is the winner will be our friend. The United States has liberated us from a dictator and a very long period of war and agony," Allawi told the Italian daily La Repubblica ahead of a visit to Italy Thursday.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is a wary neighbor of Iraq, expressed hope that the Bush re-election would contribute to world peace.
In Madrid, Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said his government "wishes to contribute to effective and constructive cooperation with the Bush government."
Zapatero, who took office last April, reversed his conservative predecessor Jose Maria Aznar's policy of strong support for the US intervention in Iraq and withdrew the troops Aznar had sent to Iraq in August last year.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco, a strong US ally, hailed Bush's victory, pledging to work with him to enhance the "remarkable quality of the strategic partnership that unites our two countries" while also expressing hope for "a new international order that is safer, more balanced, more fair and more human", the Map news agency reported.
In Israel, a top foreign policy adviser said: "Israel and the free world has every reason to rejoice over this result."
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in hospital outside Paris, said he hoped Bush's re-election would help jumpstart the Middle East peace process, one of his aides told AFP.
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who hosted an EU-US summit during Ireland's presidency of the EU earlier this year, said it was important to maintain a strong transatlantic relationship and to "work together across the range of issues that face the international community at this time".
"The Americans have made a clear choice," Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio Monteiro told national news agency Lusa. "For Portugal there is no change. We would work with any US administration although with this one we have come to establish a very close working relationship."
In Italy, President Carlo Ciampi reaffirmed the need for renewing "the spirit of transatlantic solidarity " because "terrorism is far from weakened."
"Italy is at the side of the United States in ...the struggle against the common enemy, in the determination to work together for the security of our nations and the stability of world ordert," he said in his message to Bush.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described a Bush win as a victory over terror.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said Wednesday he would be telephoning Bush to congratulate him but would also raise some bilateral problems.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with his Liberal Party members of parliament, Martin said he would specifically be raising US restrictions on the imports of Canadian softwood lumber and beef.
He added that he would also bring up multilateral issues, especially "the need for a new multilateralism" -- an apparent reference to Bush's tendency in his first term to act alone, without securing United Nations support.
South African President Thabo Mbeki said through a spokesman that he was "looking forward to continuing to work with President Bush to deal with the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment and to continue to co-operate on other bilateral issues."