By Arab News
World leaders have hailed US President Barack Obama’s sweeping re-election, with allies pledging to deepen cooperation with the US on fighting the world economic slump and maintaining security across the globe.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman congratulated Obama and wished greater progress and prosperity for American people under his leadership.
“Saudi Arabia is looking forward to stronger relations with the US,” the king said in a cable to Obama.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas urged the US leader to pursue peace efforts, while Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said he hoped Obama’s re-election would mean the creation of a Palestinian state in the next four years.
Middle East envoy Tony Blair said President Obama’s election victory opens the way for renewed efforts to revive moribund peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.
Speaking hours after Obama won a second term in office, the former British prime minister told Reuters he did not believe the US had lost interest in the decades-old conflict, adding that he hoped to see a fresh initiative soon.
Blair represents the so-called “quartet” of Middle East peacemakers — the US, European Union, United Nations and Russia — and has visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories some 90 times since taking the job in 2007.
Blair said he understood Palestinian frustration, but dismissed suggestions that, with more than 500,000 Israelis now living on land seized in the 1967 war, the two-state solution was dead.
Obama’s re-election as US president set the stage yesterday for a fresh political battle over the year-end “fiscal cliff” budget crunch which threatens to force the economy back to recession.
US markets plunged more than two percent at the prospect that the White House and Republicans, who retained control of the House of Representatives, would be unable to compromise to avert the harsh austerity plan programmer to take effect on January 1.