Political leaders around the globe are reacting to the news of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's resignation.

In his nearly four years as Secretary of State, Colin Powell has had the opportunity to build relationships with leaders throughout the world.

After Mr. Powell announced his resignation Monday, Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw praised Mr. Powell's devotion to strengthening alliances and working for peace. "I see a man who has been tireless in his work for the United States," he said, "tireless in his work for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the Transatlantic Alliance, tireless in his work for peace in the world. And if you look at, for example, the action that he sought to take before many others in respect of the Sudan, you know all the things he's done behind the scenes to assist people. You see a very, very fine man. Great soldier. Great statesman."

South African President Thabo Mbeki, whom Secretary Powell visited in Pretoria in 2001, responded to the news with disbelief. "Has he resigned? Is that what he said? Well, I'll call him tonight and ask him why," he said.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said he enjoyed a strong relationship with his American counterpart. "The cooperation with the secretary of state (Powell) was excellent," he said. "He knew Germany very well from his military career. He spent years in Germany and we had an excellent cooperation, a professional cooperation, but also a very friendly one. And I want to thank him and to wish him the best for the future."

After expressing his great admiration for Secretary Powell, incoming European Commission president and former Portuguese prime minister, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he is looking forward to a continued strong relationship with the United States. "I think it is in the interests of all the world," he said, "not only of European Union, not only of United States, but of Africa, of all the world, that the United States and Europe, European Union, have a good, constructive, very positive relationship. And I am sure that with President Bush and the new secretary of state, we are going to have the opportunity to find the best way to develop our relations."

Mr. Powell is one of six members of President Bush's cabinet to resign since the president was re-elected two weeks ago. The Secretary of State is expected to stay in office until his successor is in place.