Russians in celebratory mood as Trump takes power, caution elsewhere

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Russian officials tweeted some of the most celebratory messages on Donald Trump’s inauguration, as world leaders and people around the globe reacted to his taking over as the 45th US President.

There were celebrations at some places, while many others took over the streets and spoke of uncertainties, fears and their disgust for US’ new leader.

Russians by far were the most effusive in their welcome of the new US Commander in chief, with one senator calling January 20 “a defining moment in history”.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post: “In a world of many things can happen, except one: President Obama can’t say anything anymore about Russia.”

There were reports of Russians partying on Friday night to celebrate Trump – and what they see as the start of a new, friendlier era with the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman voiced hope for a constructive dialogue with President Donald Trump’s administration in comments broadcast on Saturday, but warned that differences will remain.

A Women’s March in Brussels, Belgium, triggered criticism of Trump’s offensive comments about women and alleged cases of sexual harassment.

Katrine Steinfeld, a Norwegian-Hungarian who works for gender equality, said she fears that Trump’s election as the President of the US will legitimise the ill treatment of women.

“His behaviour creates legitimacy for attitudes that is not appropriate and that is a threat for women,” she said.

Cuba’s state media paid little attention to the inauguration. Granma, the official communist party newspaper, on Friday ran articles on birth statistics, a new and experimental strain of cigar tobacco, but made no mention of Trump’s swearing-in.

During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to reverse Obama’s policies on Cuba if Havana did not make concessions on human rights and religious freedom.

China watched one of its toughest critics assume the presidency, marking the start of what could be a more contentious bilateral relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, before the inauguration, stressed on constructive relations between the two countries to “propel further development of China-US ties at a new staring point”.

“We would like to join hands with the new US administration to uphold the principles of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” CNN quoted Chunying as saying on Friday.

During his inauguration address, Trump took a populist tone, saying: “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.”

Though he did not mention China by name, the Republican President vowed to be tougher on the country by renegotiating trade agreements and has even proposed imposing tariffs on Chinese imports.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen congratulated Trump on Twitter, in a move likely to draw objections from Beijing, which is already angry with a protocol-breaking phone call a month ago between the two leaders.

“Congratulations Trump. Democracy is what ties Taiwan and the US together. Look forward to advancing our friendship and partnership,” Tsai tweeted.

The new President received a warm congratulations from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Looking forward to working with President Trump to further deepen India-US ties and realise the full potential of our cooperation,” Modi tweeted.

Mukherjee in a tweet said India looked forward to an early “opportunity of welcoming the President and First Lady Melania Trump”.

In the Iranian capital city of Tehran, there was little love for the 45th President at the Grand Mosalla, a complex of religious halls and other facilities, as people gathered for their usual Friday prayers, according to CNN.

Instead, people ripped the US for its policies towards Iran and its role in Syria.

The main topic on the minds of many of the people present was the future of the nuclear agreement between Iran, the US and other world powers in July 2015.

Trump has called the agreement a bad deal, and said he wanted to renegotiate it.

Even before Trump’s inauguration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent him a welcome tweet.

“Congrats to my friend Trump. Look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel and the US stronger than ever.”

Netanyahu had earlier made it clear that he was ready to work with Trump, especially as the relationship with former President Barack Obama deteriorated rapidly in its final weeks.

Israeli leaders are already expecting Trump to follow through on one of his biggest campaign promises — to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A woman in Japan’s Tokyo held a sign supporting Obama during a Friday

march organised by Democrats Abroad of Japan.

Hundreds of people — mostly American expatriates, but also a few Japanese citizens — marched in Tokyo to highlight the need to fight for women rights as well as immigration policies.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended his “heartfelt congratulations” to the new President.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto congratulated the new leader and expressed a desire to strengthen the relationship between the countries.

But Former President Vicente Fox, an outspoken critic of Trump’s pledge to have Mexico pay for a border wall, kept up his long-running taunting of Trump.

“Speaking of allegiance, Trump? Speaking of greatness? America was already great and succesful, then you happened,” Fox tweeted.

Carrying signs that said “Make America human again” and “Love trumps hate,” protesters in Mexico City chanted “Get out Trump”.

Palestinian leaders offered few statements after the inauguration, but their primary concern echoed the mood on the streets as thousands on Thursday demonstrated across the West Bank, protesting the potential move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Demonstrators held up pictures of Trump and waved Palestinian flags.

The new US President drew a message of congratulations from Britain’s Foreign Minister.

“Congratulations to Trump @POTUS on his presidential inauguration day. Look forward to continuing strong UK-US bond,” Boris Johnson tweeted.

Pope Francis in the Vatican City prayed for the new leader, the pontiff told Trump in a letter on Friday.

“…I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that almighty god will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office,” the Pope wrote.

In Germany, Trump’s criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as German trade and the European Union, has caused alarm among officials.

“This day really marks a celebration of American democracy and usually people here look at Washington with admiration, but I think this time it’s different,” said Niels Annen, foreign affairs spokesman for the center-left SPD party, a coalition partner in the government.

Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement congratulating Trump.

–IANS

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