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'A moment of hope': Leaders from Ireland and around the world congratulate Biden

Joe Biden was sworn in at the inauguration in Washington DC this afternoon.

US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

WORLD LEADERS HAVE congratulated Joe Biden after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

Biden was sworn in at the inauguration in Washington DC this afternoon.

Shortly before his inauguration, Kamala Harris made history as the first woman to become vice-president, as well as the first black person and the first person of South Asian descent to serve in the role.

Taoiseach Michéal Martin offered his congratulations shortly after Biden delivered his first speech as president. 

Martin said the inauguration of a new US president is “a moment of hope and renewal in US political life”.

“As he takes the oath-of-office, I know that President Biden will feel the weight of history – the presence of his Irish ancestors who left Mayo and Louth in famine times in search of life and hope,” Martin said.

He will remember their descendants’ hard struggle as they made their way in and their contribution to the United States. It is the story of Irish-America.
I hope he will also be conscious of the great pride we in Ireland take in his immense achievement. He is one of us, part of our global family.

“I look forward to welcoming President Biden back to this island and deepening cooperation on global peace, climate change, economic partnership and stability.”

It has been suggested that Biden may visit Ireland in the coming months, though nothing has been confirmed yet.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also offered his congratulations to Biden this afternoon, saying America’s leadership is “vital” to the rest of the world, from tackling the climate crisis to the coronavirus pandemic.

 “Congratulations to @JoeBiden on being sworn in as President of the United States and to @KamalaHarris on her historic inauguration.

“America’s leadership is vital on the issues that matter to us all, from climate change to COVID, and I look forward to working with President Biden.”

Sky News has reported that Pope Francis sent a message to President Biden to say he is praying that God will guide his efforts to bring reconciliation to America.

He said he hoped Biden would work towards a society marked by true justice, freedom and respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those with no voice.

Russian has this afternoon urged US President Joe Biden’s new administration to take a “more constructive” approach in talks over the extension of the New START treaty, Washington’s last arms reduction pact with Moscow.

“We expect that the new US administration will take a more constructive approach in its dialogue with us,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We are ready for such work on principles of equal rights and taking mutual interests into account.”

The agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads between the two powers, is set to expire on 5 February.

Moscow had accused the previous US administration of not planning to extend New START, referring to its “counterproductive and openly aggressive” approach in talks.

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani did not miss the opportunity to hail the departure of “tyrant” Trump, with Tehran repeatedly calling on Washington to lift sanctions imposed over its nuclear drive.

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

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said.

“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.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, urged Biden to “strengthen” a long-standing alliance between the two countries, partly to confront the “threat” posed by Iran.

“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.

Earlier today, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he shared Joe Biden’s policy priorities and wished him success ahead of his inauguration.

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“I agree with his three main approaches… (tackling the) pandemic, economic reactivation and migration. And of course, wishing that President Biden does very well in his administration,” he told reporters.

Europe

Back in Europe, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, earlier said he is “greatly relieved” that Biden was replacing Trump as US president.

America’s institutions had proven their strength in the face of “great tests” and “hostility” during Trump’s term, he added, 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”.

The spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said “Biden’s victory represents the victory of democracy over the extreme right”.

“Five years ago we believed without doubt that Trump was a bad joke. Five years later, we realise that he endangered the world’s most powerful democracy.”

With reporting by Press Association and © AFP 2021

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