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Congratulatory messages pour in for new British leader

United States said it was confident in Theresa May’s ability to steer Britain through the Brexit negotiations

Published: Updated:

World leaders began sending congratulatory messages to No. 10 Downing Street as Theresa May took over as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday.

The United States congratulated May and said it was confident in her ability to steer Britain through the Brexit negotiations. “Based on the public comments we’ve seen from the incoming prime minister, she intends to pursue a course that’s consistent with the prescription that President Obama has offered,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

From Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready for “constructive dialogue” with the new Prime Minister, “and to collaborate” about current issues concerning bilateral relations and the international agenda,” in the statement issued shortly after May took office.

Putin also thanked the departing Prime Minister David Cameron for cooperation and quoted him as saying “I hope that your rich political experience will be in demand in the future, both in the United Kingdom and in the international community.”

To May, Putin “stressed the conviction that the preservation and augmentation of the significant potential of Russian-British cooperation in various fields that has been accumulated for a long time is in the fundamental interests of the two countries.”

European Union officials congratulated new May and said that Britain and Brussels will have to move soon to address the consequences of the country’s vote to leave the bloc.

Donald Tusk president of the European Council, said that he looks forward to “a fruitful working relationship.”

May’s main task as prime minister will be to negotiate Britain’s exit from the 28-nation EU bloc after Britons voted to leave in a June 23 referendum.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU’s executive Commission, wished May “every success in the task ahead.”

He wrote to May: “The outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum has created a new situation which the United Kingdom and the European Union will have to address soon. I look forward to working closely with you on this and to learn about your intentions in this regard.”

Martin Schulz, the European Parliament’s president, wrote on Twitter: “Leadership issue settled, now I expect we work quickly to deliver certainty.”

Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said May was “the right woman for Britain” as she takes over as prime minister in the wake of the UK.’s vote to leave the European Union.

De Maiziere has been outgoing Home Secretary May’s German counterpart for several years as his country’s top security official. De Maiziere said in Berlin: “She is a smart woman - thoughtful, disciplined, competent, strong in negotiations ... and critical too, but reliable and credible.”

He added: “That’s why I think she is the right woman for Britain at this time.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the German leader hasn’t personally met May yet but “will certainly have contact with her soon.”

Israel’s prime minister says he has sent his congratulations to May.

A statement from Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he sent a letter to May with his well-wishes. The statement also said Netanyahu spoke to former Prime Minister David Cameron. He thanked him for “standing beside Israel, the good relations and the strengthening of ties” during his leadership.


(With Reuters, AFP and The Associated Press)