Zacheaus Somorin in Washington DC with agency report
World leaders have been reacting to the triumph of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election. As news of the result was confirmed, they began to send congratulations – some fulsome, some more tentative – to the business mogul.
Top officials at the European Union have invited Donald Trump to Europe for an urgent US-EU summit. In a joint letter, Donald Tusk, president of the European council and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, congratulated Trump and urged him to come to Europe for talks “at your earliest convenience”.
Tusk and Juncker are seeking reassurance on key issues on which Trump’s remarks on the campaign trial have rattled European leaders, including migration, climate change and Russia’s threat to Ukraine.
The letter said: “It is more important than ever to strengthen transatlantic relations. Only by cooperating closely can the EU and the US continue to make a difference when dealing with unprecedented challenges such as Da’esh [Isis], the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, climate change and migration.”
It added: “We would take this opportunity to invite you to visit Europe for an EU – US summit at your earliest convenience. This conversation would allow for us to chart the course of our relations for the next four years.” The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, gave a diplomatic reaction to Trump’s victory, tweeting: “EU-US ties are deeper than any change in politics.”
Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, said the vote was “a protest vote” similar to Brexit. “It began timidly, but this is like a wave, a wave of protest that will lead to Trump in the White House,” Schulz told Europe 1 radio.
The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was looking forward to working with Trump and that US leadership was vital to the world’s biggest military alliance. “It is important that the transatlantic bond remains strong”, he said, adding that “US leadership is as important as ever”. Stoltenberg said he was looking forward to welcoming Trump at next spring’s Nato summit, to be held in the alliance’s new premises in Brussels.
Theresa May congratulated Trump on his victory in a hard-fought campaign, saying Britain and the US have “an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise”. She added: “We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence. I look forward to working with president-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”
Number 10 policymakers are already viewing the result through the same prism as Brexit. The head of the No 10 policy board, George Freeman, tweeted: “at its heart this is about a broken contract through the failure of globalised market economics to serve the interests of domestic workers.”
He said the result was “a stunning demonstration of how disempowered low income Americans feel by Washington politics and globalisation”. “The insurgency is a big test for the constitutional protections for liberty and democracy in the UK and the US. It is clear we are living through a genuine crisis of legitimacy sweeping through western political economy”.
He asked whether the EU leaders will wake up to “the roar of anger at globalisation, machine politics, and out of touch elites”. Freeman, who was a fierce critic of the tone of Trump’s campaign and at one point described him as Trumpolini, added: “the key now is how he governs, and who he appoints to his administration”.
Nicola Sturgeon urged Trump to prove that he can act for all US citizens regardless of their heritage. The Scottish first minister said many US voters and others around the world would feel “a real sense of anxiety” at his victory, adding: “I hope the president-elect will take the opportunity to reach out to those who felt marginalised by his campaign and make clear – in deeds as well as words – that he will be a president for everyone in modern, multicultural America.”
“Today must also be a moment for those who share progressive values – all of us who believe in tolerance and diversity – to speak up loudly and clearly for the values we hold dear.”
French president François Hollande said Trump’s win “opens up a period of uncertainty” that “must be faced with lucidity and clarity”. Hollande congratulated Trump “as is natural between two heads of state”, but showed little enthusiasm. Hollande had openly endorsed Clinton. “Certain positions taken by Donald Trump during the American campaign must be confronted with the values and interests we share with the United States,” he said.
“What is at stake is peace, the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East. It is economic relations and the preservation of the planet.” Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said European politicians should heed the message from Trump votes. “There is a part of our electorate that feels …abandoned”, including people who feel “left behind by globalisation,” he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said:
There’s no country we Germans have as close a relationship with as the United States of America. Whoever rules this vast country, with its enormous economic strength, its military potential, its cultural influence, carries a responsibility which is felt all over the world.
Americans have decided that the person to carry this responsibility for the next four years is Donald Trump. Germany and America are connected by common values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for human dignity irrespective of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political conviction. On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of America, Donald Trump, a close working relationship. Partnership with the USA remains a basic pillar of German foreign policy in order for us to meet the great challenges of our time: striving for economic and social wellbeing and a forward-looking climate policy, the fight against terrorism, hunger and disease, engagement for peace and freedom, in Germany, Europe and all over the world.”
Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton even before she secured the Democratic nomination, offered his congratulations to Trump “in the name of Italy” and said he was convinced that the friendship between Italy and the US was strong and solid.
“It’s a new political fact that along with other things demonstrates that we are in a new stage,” Renzi said. “Who would say that Trump would win? It is that way and we respect it, we will cooperate with the new American president and have a relationship between the EU and Italy.”
Pope Francis did not mention the US elections during his Wednesday audience, but secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, offered Trump congratulations in a statement to Vatican Radio that “his government can be truly fruitful”.
He added the Vatican offered its prayers “that the Lord illuminates and sustains him in service of his country, naturally, but also in service of the well-being and peace of the world”. Parolin concluded by noting that “there is need for everyone to work to change the global situation, which is in a situation of severe lacerations and great conflict.”
Boris Pahor, the president of the Alpine nation that is the home country of Melania Trump, said: “We are allied as part of Nato and I will strive for the friendship and the alliance to deepen further.”
The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, congratulated the new president on his victory and vowed to work with him to strengthen Spain’s relationship with an “indispensable ally”.
Spain’s foreign ministry said it was confident that the new era of bilateral relations would serve to “reinforce and consolidate” Spain’s partnership with the US and “deepen the friendship between our countries and peoples”.
But Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity Podemos party was less welcoming. Above a picture of the famous black power salute at the 1968 Olympics and an emoji of a clenched fist, he tweeted: “The vaccine against Trump’s fascism is social justice and human rights, not more establishment. There are people in the US who will resist.”
Sweden’s former prime minister Carl Bildt said 2016 was the year of “double disaster” for the west. He tweeted: “At least Richard Nixon had a solid understanding of world affairs. Manoeuvred skilfully. But morally corrupt. And collapsed in disgrace.”
Vladimir Putin sent Trump a telegram to congratulate him. Speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin, the Russian president said:
We heard the campaign slogans when he was still a candidate which were aimed at restoring relations between Russia and the United States.We understand that it will not be an easy path given the current state of degradation in the relations. And as I have repeatedly said, it’s not our fault that Russian-American relations are in such a poor state. But Russia wants and is ready to restore full-fledged relations with the United States.
I repeat we understand that this will be difficult, but we are ready to play our part, and do everything to return Russian-American relations to stable and sustainable development track. This would serve the interests of both the Russian and American peoples, and would have a positive effect on the general climate of global affairs given the special responsibility of Russia and the US to sustain global security.”
Officials expressed fear prior to the vote that a Trump presidency could see Ukraine thrown under the bus in favour of improved ties with Russia.
In a statement, President Petro Poroshenko offered “sincere congratulations to Donald Trump on being elected president of the United States and to the friendly American nation on democratic expression of will”.
Poroshenko said he had met the US ambassador on Wednesday and been assured that “the new US administration would remain a reliable partner in the struggle for democracy”.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said Cairo wanted to see more “cooperation and coordination” between the two nations to bolster stability and peace in the Middle East. He telephoned Trump to offer his congratulations and invited him to visit Egypt.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump and called him a “true friend of the State of Israel”. Netanyahu said that he believes the two leaders “will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights”.
The news was met with jubilation by politicians on the Israeli right, including the country’s education minister Naftali Bennett, who declared that Trump’s victory meant “the era of a Palestinian state is over”.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause. This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple.”
Trump is popular among the Israeli rightwing not least for having said that one of his first acts would be to reverse years of American government policy and move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Commenting explicitly on that promise, Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat congratulated Trump as a “devoted supporter of Jerusalem”, adding that he expected the Trump to move the US embassy to the capital. “I am full of hope for your support for our activities for building in and developing Jerusalem for all her residents, and I invite you to visit the capital of Israel.”
The news of Trump’s election was greeted cautiously by Palestinian figures. A spokesman for the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbassaid: “We will deal with any president elected by the American people on the principle of achieving permanent peace in the Middle East based on the two state solution on June 4 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
King Salman expressed hope that Trump would bring stability to the Middle East. “We wish your excellency success in your mission to achieve security and stability in the Middle East and worldwide,” he said, praising US-Saudi relations, which are “historic and tight between the two friendly countries, that all parties aspire to develop and reinforce”.
In a statement, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said:
The election marks the beginning of a new era in the United States. I hope that the American people’s decision will facilitate audacious steps being taken regarding fundamental rights and liberties and democracy in the world and regional developments. Personally and on behalf of the nation, I wish to consider this decision by the American people a positive sign and wish them a successful future.”
President Hassan Rouhani reacted to Trump’s win by saying that it would not change the trajectory of his country’s foreign policy: The US election results will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic Republic. Because of wrong policies, the position of America in the international community and world’s public opinion has diminished and [the US’s] growing rift with Europe and the world will exacerbate that position.”
The foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the US had to continue respecting last year’s landmark nuclear agreement. “America has to implement the international obligation it accepted under the nuclear deal.”
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Trump and said he was looking forward to continued support in his country’s fight against Islamic State. In a statement on his website, Abadi said he hopes the “world and the United States will continue to support Iraq in fighting terrorism”.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said he was ready to work with Trump to help bilateral relations, and that the two countries would continue to tighten bonds of cooperation and mutual respect. Peña Nieto was heavily criticised for receiving Trump in Mexico during the campaign, after the Republican candidate called Mexican immigrants rapists and vowed to build a wall between the two countries.
“Mexico and the United States are friends, partners and allies and we should keep collaborating for the competitiveness and development of North America,” Peña Nieto said on his Twitter account. Mexico’s former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for calm. In a video on Facebook he said Mexico was “a free, independent, sovereign country”. “It is not a colony, it is not a protectorate, it does not depend on any foreign government.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Trump and stressed the close friendship and ties between the two nations. The US accounted for 60% of Canada’s global trade in 2014, a relationship underpinned by Nafta.
Trump, who has described the agreement as “the worst trade deal in history”, has vowed to renegotiate the terms and would move to withdraw the US from the deal if Canada and Mexico refuse. According to the Canadian government, nearly 400,000 people a day cross the shared border between Canada and the US.
Trudeau’s statement said:
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate Donald J Trump on his election as the next President of the United States.
Canada has no closer friend, partner, and ally than the United States. We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.
The relationship between our two countries serves as a model for the world. Our shared values, deep cultural ties, and strong integrated economies will continue to provide the basis for advancing our strong and prosperous partnership.”
The country’s long-serving, authoritarian prime minister Hun Sen congratulated Trump. On his official Facebook page, Hun Sen pointed out that he had announced his support for the Republican candidate several days earlier. “American voters have shown their choice to elect your excellency,” he wrote. “My support for your candidacy is not wrong either.”
Chinese state media said President Xi Jinping had called Trump to congratulate him on his victory. “I place great importance on the China-US relationship, and look forward to working with you to uphold the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Xi was reported to have told Trump. Xi also told Trump he hoped the two sides could avoid “conflict and confrontation [and] instead achieve cooperation and a win-win [relationship]”.
A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said Beijing was looking forward to working with the new administration. “We will work with the new US president to ensure the steady and sound development of bilateral relations so as to benefit the people in both countries as well as around the world,” Lu Kang told reporters at a regular press briefing in the Chinese capital.
Lu said any future disputes over trade could be settled “in a responsible manner” and hinted at Chinese concerns over the possibility that Trump might introduce protectionist measures. “I would like to say that China and US trade cooperation has benefited the US people rather than hurting their interests,” he said.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said the campaign highlighted that “the majority of Americans are rebelling against the US’s political class and financial elites”. The official Communist party newspaper People’s Daily said the presidential election reveals an “ill democracy”.
President Joko Widodo said the world’s most populous Muslim nation would work with the Trump administration. “We will keep good relations, especially in trade and investment as we know the US is one of Indonesia’s major investors,” he said. “I think there will be no change.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent his “heartfelt congratulations” to Trump. Abe said that “as a very successful businessman with extraordinary talents, not only you made a great contribution to the growth of the US economy, but now as a strong leader, you have demonstrated your determination to lead the United States.”
Japan, a key US ally, said it would work closely with Trump to ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific region. “There is no change to the fact that the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy, and Japan will cooperate closely with the US for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters shortly before Trump was confirmed as president-elect.
Katsuyuki Kawai, an aide to Abe, said he was planning to fly to Washington to meet Trump officials as early as next week. Officials in Tokyo denied that Abe had decided to send Kawai to the US because Japan had failed to prepare for a Trump victory. “We have been preparing to respond to any situation, because our stance is that our alliance with the US remains the cornerstone of our diplomacy, whoever becomes the next president,” Suga said.
Prime minister Najib Razak – embroiled in a corruption scandal at home that is being investigated in the United States – sent a congratulatory message to Trump:
“Mr Trump’s success shows that politicians should never take voters for granted. Opinion polls, and established political figures, all underestimated the strength of his support. His appeal to Americans who have been left behind – those who want to see their government more focused on their interests and welfare, and less embroiled in foreign interventions that proved to be against US interests – have won Mr Trump the White House. He added the US and Malaysia “are firm allies in the worldwide fight against terrorism and extremism.”
Pakistan’s former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf congratulated Trump on “his historic election”. Writing on Facebook, he said the president-elect “should not quit from Afghanistan”, the country where some US and international forces remain in place.
“I hope he will focus keenly to bring peace and stability around the world and demonstrate deliberate leadership in resolving the conflicts in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent,” he wrote. “We must trust and work together to crush terrorism and eliminate extremism from a position of strength.”
The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who branded Obama a “son of whore” earlier this year, offered “warm congratulations” to Trump. Duterte, who has expressed outrage almost daily with the Obama administration and threatened repeatedly to end one of Washington’s most important Asian alliances, hailed the success of US democratic system and the American way of life, according to his communications secretary Martin Andanar.
Duterte “looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law,” Andanar said.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
President Joseph Kabila, who suspects the Obama administration of trying to oust him from power and whose aides have made little secret of their preferred winner, issued a statement congratulating Trump.
Speaking both personally and “in the name of the people” of the troubled nation, Kabila offered his “most sincere congratulations” to Trump for his “brilliant electoral victory and, through him, to the American people who, sovereign, have decided to trust him with their destiny”. Kabila said he wanted to “solemnly express his desire” to work with Trump to strengthen ties between their countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Trump for his “victorious campaign” and Clinton for her “valiant effort”. Kenyatta reminded Trump that the “ties that bind Kenya and the United States of America are old, and based in the values that we hold dear: in democracy, in the rule of law, and in the equality of peoples.” “These values remain dear to the peoples of both nations, and so our friendship will endure,” a statement said.
A statement from Jacob Zuma’s office said:
President Zuma conveyed his best wishes to the President-elect and looked forward to working with President-elect Trump to build on the strong relations that exists between the two countries. He underlined that South Africa further looked forward to working closely with the new Administration in the United States in promoting peace, security and prosperity around the world, especially on the African continent.”
Minister of Information Michael Makuei welcomed Trump’s victory, saying: “I really doubt President Obama had any clear policy to South Sudan other than to destroy it. So we will definitely expect better relations with Trump … and the USA after the election.”
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said:
”I congratulate Mr. Trump on his election as the President of the United States of America. Elections in the US or any country are a matter for the people of that country. Our relationship with the United States will continue regardless of which leader or party is leading. I congratulate Mr Trump once again and look forward to working with him as we have been working with the other leaders before him.”