Iran and Russia Among Countries With Messages for Obama

Obama's ancestral village in Kenya parties all night.

ByKirit Radia
November 07, 2012, 11:04 AM

MOSCOW Nov. 7, 2012— -- Not long after President Obama stepped off the stage in Chicago where he celebrated his re-election early this morning, congratulatory messages began to roll in from world leaders.

The messages were often delivered in diplomatic language that hinted at tensions or the possibility of breakthroughs.

But there was nothing couched or cautious in the celebration that raged all night in Obama's ancestral village in Kenya.

The village of Kogelo danced the night away to celebrate what they call their "favorite son" while watching election results come in on a large screen television. Obama's father grew up there and his step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, and other relatives still live there.

Less joyous was the message delivered by one of Iran's leaders who held out the possibility of negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear program, a program that threatens the peace in the Middle East.

Javad Larijani, an influential member of the Iranian regime, told the Mehr news agency that talks with the U.S. are "not taboo." Such talks have been rumored for weeks, but officials from both sides have refused to deny a meeting has been scheduled.

Leaders from Iran's nemesis, Israel, also issued statements of congratulations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has barely disguised his distrust of Obama, issued a terse but cordial statement. "The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel."

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a formal note to Obama and Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev told reporters in Vietnam that he was glad that Republican candidate Mitt Romney lost.

"I am glad that the man who calls Russia it's number one foe will not be the president of this large and influential state. That is paranoid," he told Interfax, referencing comments that Romney made in an interview with CNN earlier this year.

Medvedev called Obama "an understanding and predictable partner."

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said a presidential visit to Russia next year is an administration priority.

Like Putin, many of the leaders who congratulated the president were among those who sparred often and publicly with the Obama administration during its first term. They set aside those differences for at least today.

China's outgoing President Hu Jintao issued a statement which, according to the Xinhua news agency, congratulated Obama and praised their past cooperation. On Thursday China will undergo its once in a decade change in leadership with current Vice President Xi Jinping expected to take over the top role.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has often clashed with the Obama administration over civilian casualties and U.S. allegations of Afghan corruption, took a break from his recent criticism of the United States to send his own congratulatory message.

"President Karzai also hopes that with the re-election of President Obama, the bilateral relations between Afghanistan and the United States could further expand on the basis of mutual interests of the two countries," a statement from his office said.

Across the border in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, another wary ally who has protested Obama's increased use of drone attacks in Pakistani territory, offered his best wishes.

"The president expressed the hope that the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. would continue to prosper during President Obama's new term in office. He stated that he was confident that the leadership of the two countries would be able to further deepen and broaden bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests," a statement from Zardari's office said.

World Leaders Congratulate Obama

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not immediately issue a statement reacting to the election outcome, but lead Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat focused his comments on the need to re-start the peace process.

"Obama must take action to dry out the swamp that is the Israeli occupation, because this is the key to democracy," he said.

The militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, said it hoped the re-election would mean a reevaluation by the administration of policy in the Arab world and its support of Israel.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who along with Obama is the custodian of what Winston Churchill first called the "special relationship," issued a more casual of statement.

"Congratulations to Barack. I've enjoyed working with him, I think he's a very successful U.S. president and I look forward to working with him in the future," he said.

ABC News' Karson Yiu, Aleem Agha, Habibullah Khan, Alexander Marquardt, Dimitrije Stejic, and Bazi Kanani contributed to this report.

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