ISTANBUL - Incoming US President Barack Obama speaks by phone to top world leaders since his election victory, with the global financial crisis dominating conversations. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process, the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises are also among the topics Obama discusses with key US allies he'll deal with during his administration
President-elect Barack Obama accepted congratulations from nine presidents and prime ministers, returning calls from world leaders who reached out after his presidential victory.
The global financial crisis, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process, the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises were among the topics Obama discussed with key U.S. allies he'll deal with during his administration.
After making the first key appointment to his administration, Obama on Thursday spoke by telephone with the leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea, hastening the shift in political gravity away from President George W. Bush.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said, according to The Associated Press, they spoke for 30 minutes and characterized the discussion as "extremely warm" as the president congratulated Obama on a "brilliant" election victory. The statement said they discussed international issues, particularly the financial crisis, and agreed to meet in the "quite near future."
Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak agreed to work together to tackle North Korea's nuclear disarmament and the financial turmoil, said Lee's spokesman in Seoul, as reported by Agence France-Presse.
Reforming financial system
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he and Obama discussed "our resolve to act together on dealing on the global financial crisis and also working closely together on the great challenge of climate change."
Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to work "closely" on Iran's disputed nuclear program, Afghanistan, climate change and the financial crisis, her government said.
Reforming the financial system also featured strongly in Obama's talks with French leader Sarkozy, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and a 10-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, their spokesmen said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper office said in a statement that they spoke about an international financial summit in Washington on Nov. 15 and its importance for addressing the global financial crisis. Obama had no plans to attend the meeting.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon office said Obama pledged continued U.S. support for Mexico's fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, according to The Associated Press.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, meanwhile, said the two "discussed the need to continue and advance the peace process, while maintaining the security of the State of Israel." Israel and the Palestinians relaunched talks nearly a year ago at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference, and they set a year-end target for a final accord. But no breakthroughs have been reported, and in Israel on Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice all but conceded that goal was unachievable.
Even some of the U.S.'s traditional arch foes have welcomed Obama's election such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who issued a message of congratulation on Thursday.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, branded a dictator by Bush after staging a one-man election in June, also extended an olive branch to Obama Friday by saying he "cherish(ed) the hope of working with your administration," reported Agence France-Presse.
North Korea is ready for dialogue or confrontation with the United States following Obama's election to the presidency, a Pyongyang diplomat said on Thursday as talks over dismantling the nation's nuclear weapons program continued.
As Daily News went to press, Obama was to convene his economic advisers on Friday before his first press conference since his triumph in Tuesday's election against Republican John McCain.
Several names mentioned as potential Treasury overseers to command a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout were to attend the meeting, including former treasury secretary Larry Summers, ex-Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker and Laura Tyson, chairwoman of the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials on late Thursday said that Obama will make his first visit to the White House as president-elect on Monday for talks with President George W. Bush on crisis issues including Iraq and the economy.
"In the coming weeks, we will ask administration officials to brief the Obama team on ongoing policy issues ranging from the financial markets to the war in Iraq," Bush said at the White House.
Obama said in a statement that he looked forward to meeting Bush, whom he lambasted on an almost hourly basis on the campaign trail.
"I thank him for reaching out in the spirit of bipartisanship that will be required to meet the many challenges we face as a nation," Obama said.