Sun, January 02, 2011
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World leaders deliver New Year messages

2011-01-02 09:27:11 GMT2011-01-02 17:27:11 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- World leaders have delivered New Year messages, looking to 2011 with hope and calling for unity among their peoples in working together to tackle challenges lying ahead.

BRITAIN

In his New Year message, British Prime Minister David Cameron said jobs, education, public service and national security were his government's priorities for 2011.

Creating jobs "was uppermost in my mind as we enter the New Year," Cameron said. As the government had to cut spending to pull out of budget deficits, small businesses would be the country's most important job creators, he said.

On national security, Cameron noted that "for many years now we have been aware of the threat we face from international terrorism." The government could not just protect its people at home in the fight against terrorism, but need also to work with international partners abroad, he said.

For those serving in Afghanistan, "2011 is a crucial year in which we will start to transfer security responsibility for districts and provinces to Afghan control. As the Afghans become steadily more capable of looking after their own security, so we will be able to start to bring our own forces home," Cameron said.

FRANCE

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed on New Year's Eve to carry on reforms through 2011 till the end of his tenure.

In his New Year message, Sarkozy said France's suffering in recession last year "was less severe and shorter than that in many of our partners." To continue reforms is "the only way to preserve our model and our identity, it's the only way to protect France and the French," he said.

He also said it would be "madness" to give up the euro, because Europe was "essential to our future, to our identity and to our values."

GERMANY

German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the importance of the euro to Germany. "In recent months Europe is facing a big test. We must strengthen the euro. It is much more than our common currency. It is the foundation of our prosperity," Merkel said in a televised New Year address.

She also praised the German people's efforts in pulling the economy out of recession. "Germany survived from the crisis like almost no other country," Merkel said.

GREECE

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou hopes the New Year will be the last year of recession for Greece.

"If we work together, if we continue the effort which started in 2010, insisting on major changes, 2011 will be the last year of recession and in 2012 our country will return to growth, so that in 2013 we will have left behind the mistakes that led us to the current crisis," Papandreou said in a New Year's message published in Sunday's Ethnos newspaper.

RUSSIA

In his New Year's Eve address, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged fellow countrymen to work together to create a "modern, powerful, open and friendly Russia."

Medvedev expressed confidence in his country's efforts to build Russia into a country "which respects the elders, maintains the tradition of a multi-ethnic people and progresses with a strong determination."

SOUTH KOREA

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak cited the old adage "ilgi gaseong," or to complete something impeccably in a stroke, in his New Year message.

"In the new year of 2011, I am confident that we will be able to establish peace on the Korean peninsula and continue sustained economic growth," Lee said, "we should not let the chance to increase our national fortunes slip away; we must not hesitate to leap over the threshold to become an advanced country."

THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS

President of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias reiterated his determination to struggle for a solution to the Cyprus problem, in his message for the new year.

"Non solution and partition do not serve the true interests of our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," Christofias said.

In order to reach a solution, Cyprus "will continue participating in the negotiations with the same determination and the same constructive approach to overcome obstacles and difficulties," with active work both at the European and international levels, he said.

HUNGARY

Hungarian President Pal Schmitt reminded his countrymen of broader responsibilities, as the Central European nation took over the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) on Saturday.

In a televised address to the nation just after midnight Friday, Schmitt said that during the presidency, Hungary's task is to improve the lives of not just its own countrymen but those of hundreds of millions of Europeans.

"Hungary will earn respect if it can show that it is able to look after not just its own fate but if required the fate of others as well," Schmitt noted.

THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech President Vaclav Klaus in his New Year message called on his nation to concentrate on its own pressing issues.

"Let us do the best we can today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow," Klaus said.

"Let us think about the future rationally and let us reject artificially created hysterics of those who try to force us into believing that we have to stop the growth of the national economy and social development," he said.

Klaus reiterated that the Czech economy was now in its deepest crisis since the founding of the Czech Republic 17 years ago. But he forecast a "very mild" growth for 2010.

SOUTH AFRICA

South African President Jacob Zuma called for the government, business, labor and other sectors to spur economic growth and create more jobs, saying: "Working together we will make this happen."

"Most importantly, we know that the New Year wish of scores of South Africans is to find jobs," he said in his New Year message to the whole nation.

"It is also the dream of many citizens who lost their jobs during the hard-hitting global economic recession, which cost our country close to a million jobs," he said.

TUNISIA

In his New Year message, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali hoped the new year will bring "well-being, prosperity and success for all Tunisians, men and women, at home and abroad."

"During the past year, we made additional strides on the road to progress and invulnerability, despite a difficult international situation fraught with huge challenges," he said.

"During the coming year, a new round of social negotiations will be launched, based on reconciliation between improving the purchasing power of wage-earners and protecting the competitive capacity of enterprises, while pursuing the diversification and consolidation of sources of growth," he said.

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