President-elect Obama accepted congratulations from nine presidents and prime ministers Thursday, returning calls from world leaders who reached out after his presidential victory.
The global financial crisis was among the topics Obama discussed with key U.S. allies he’ll deal with during his administration.
Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the president-elect spoke to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Sarkozy’s office says they spoke for 30 minutes and characterized the discussion as “extremely warm” as the president congratulated Obama on a “brilliant” election victory. The statement said they discussed international issues, particularly the financial crisis, and agreed to meet in the “quite near future.”
U.S. President-elect Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks on the phone in a Chicago office November 6, 2008, in this handout image from the Obama campaign. According to the Obama campaign, the Presidenti-elect returned calls to nine world leaders on Thursday. REUTERS/Obama Campaign/Handout
Harper’s office said in a statement that they spoke about an international financial summit in Washington on Nov. 15 and its importance for addressing the global financial crisis. Obama had no plans to attend the meeting.
The prime minister’s office says the two leaders emphasized that there could be no closer friends and allies than the United States and Canada and vowed to maintain and further build upon the relationship. Harper’s office called it a warm exchange and said they agreed to talk again soon.
Calderon’s office said Obama pledged continued U.S. support for Mexico’s fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. A statement from the Mexican president’s office says Obama told Calderon he was “conscious of the difficulty of the battle” and offered “decisive” U.S. support.
Congress approved $400 million in anti-drug aid for Mexico last June, but has yet to release the money.
Olmert’s office said the two “agreed on the need to continue advancing peacemaking, while safeguarding Israel’s security.” Israel and the Palestinians relaunched talks nearly a year ago at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference, and they set a year-end target for a final accord. But no breakthroughs have been reported, and in Israel on Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice all but conceded that goal was unachievable.