Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday joined other Arab countries in congratulating U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on winning the presidential election.
"King Salman praised the distinguished, historic and close relations between the two friendly countries and their people which everyone looks to strengthen and develop at all levels," state news agency SPA said.
While Crown Prince Mohammed enjoyed close ties with the Trump administration, Biden pledged to reassess the U.S. relationship with the kingdom after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Biden and Harris, saying via Twitter, “Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel.”
Netanyahu was particularly close with President Donald Trump after having a more acrimonious relationship with President Barack Obama, Trump’s immediate predecessor who Biden served as vice president.
On Saturday, after days of shying away from comment on America’s presidential election, world leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered congratulations to Biden once Pennsylvania’s vote results made him the projected winner.
“The U.S. is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities from climate change to trade and security,” Johnson said in a statement issued by Downing Street.
The British leader also praised Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, for what he described as her “historic achievement.” Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, is the first woman of color on a U.S. national political ticket.
Midweek, Johnson avoided making any remarks on the election, sidestepping calls from Britain’s opposition parties to comment on President Trump’s demand for vote counting to stop in several states.
“We don’t comment as the UK government on the democratic processes of our friends and allies,” he said.
Some Trump supporters expressed frustration with foreign leaders.
“These early calls by foreign leaders congratulating Biden are deliberate election interference,” tweeted Kyle Shideler, an analyst at the Center for Security Policy, a pro-Trump policy organization based in Washington. “It is beyond inappropriate for these leaders to weigh in at this time.”
Among the first world leaders to react to Biden’s projected win was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said, “Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship — one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies.”
He added, “I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world's greatest challenges together.”
Germany's Merkel said she was looking forward to “future cooperation” between the two countries, adding, “Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we are to master the great challenges of our time.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and French President Emmanuel Macron also offered congratulations.
Macron said, “We have a lot to do to overcome today's challenges. Let's work together."
Sanchez added, "We are looking forward to cooperating with you to tackle the challenges ahead of us.”
In Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani offered his congratulations and tweeted that “Afghanistan looks forward to continuing/deepening our multilayered strategic partnership w/ the United States – our foundational partner – including in counterterrorism & bringing peace to Afghanistan.”
In a message to Biden the Dalai Lama congratulated him, saying “Humanity places great hope in the democratic vision and leadership of the U.S. as leader of the free world. Particularly in these challenging times, I hope you will be able to contribute to
shaping a more peaceful world in which people suffering poverty and injustice find relief. The need to address these issues, as well as climate change, is indeed pressing.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader also commended the president-elect “for your choice of a woman, Kamala Harris, to be your Vice President.”
Some foreign leaders have so far withheld their congratulations.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Saturday he wanted to wait until all legal challenges are decided. “With regard to the U.S. election, we are going to wait until all the legal matters have been resolved,” he said at a news conference.
Governments across the world have been anxiously waiting to see whether Trump would secure a second term or if they would be dealing for the next four years with his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Biden.
Most foreign leaders were careful not to express a preference, fearful of alienating the eventual winner. Even national leaders most closely associated with Trump, such as Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, were restrained in comments.
On Saturday night, Modi congratulated Biden and Harris and addressed Harris’ Indian heritage. “Heartiest congratulations Kamala Harris,” he said. “Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis [aunts], but also for all Indian-Americans.”
Hungary's firebrand populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban was one of the few leaders to back Trump publicly, as he did in 2016, announcing in an article in a Hungarian newspaper in September that he was “rooting for another victory for Donald Trump because we are very familiar with the foreign policy of U.S. Democratic administrations, built as it is on moral imperialism. We have tasted it – albeit under duress. We didn't like it and we don't want a second helping.”
Other conservative nationalist leaders in central Europe were quieter, including Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.
Anxiety mounted since Election Day with international allies fearful that America was heading for a contested election that could last for weeks or months.
The congratulatory messages to Biden by several leaders suggested America’s allies have decided the result is a foregone conclusion – despite Trump’s decision not to concede and his determination to mount legal challenges.
That includes Poland, one of the U.S.'s closest allies under the Trump administration. President Andrzej Duda said Saturday his country is determined to maintain a “high-level, high-quality ... partnership” during a Biden administration.
Messages of congratulation also came Saturday from the leaders in the Netherlands, Qatar, Egypt, Ukraine, Lebanon, Norway and Greece.
Ireland’s prime minister, Micheal Martin, said “Ireland takes pride in Joe Biden's election, just as we are proud of all the generations of Irish women and Irish men and their ancestors whose toil and genius have enriched the diversity that powers America.”
Biden traces his ancestry to Ireland and England.