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Biden and Merkel in 2013. Photo: Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The leaders of America's closest allies aren't waiting for President Trump to concede. They're already offering their congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Why it matters: The world is now preparing for a very different American administration.

  • Even leaders who built strong relationships with Trump, like U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quickly congratulated Biden.
  • More than 12 hours after Biden was projected to win the election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Saudi Arabia's ruling family offered congratulations to the president-elect.
  • However, we haven't heard from the leaders of several countries — including Russia, China and Brazil — quite yet.

What they're saying:

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States and Kamala Harris on her historic achievement. The U.S. is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security."
  • French President Emmanuel Macron: "The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let's work together!"
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel: "I look forward to future cooperation with President Biden," she said in a statement posted on Twitter. "Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we are to master the great challenges of our time."
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Biden's contributions to the relationship between the U.S. and India were "critical and invaluable." He also congratulated Harris — who will be the first Indian American to serve as vice president — on what he called a "pathbreaking" victory.

  • "Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskythe recipient of the phone call that led to Trump's impeachment — tweeted his congratulations, adding: "#Ukraine is optimistic about the future of the strategic partnership with the #UnitedStates. ... Our friendship becomes only stronger!"

Other reactions:

  • The Dalai Lama said in his congratulatory message to Biden: "Humanity places great hope in the democratic vision of the U.S. as leader of the free world."
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he looked forward to working with Biden "to end illegal tax havens & stealth of nation's wealth by corrupt ldrs. We will also continue to work with US for peace in Afghanistan & in the region."
  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa: "We look forward to working with you and deepening our bonds of friendship and cooperation."
  • Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin: "Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: "We are ready to work with the President-elect @JoeBiden to make the transatlantic relationship stronger. The US can count on Italy as a solid Ally and a strategic partner."
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in: "Our alliance is strong and the bond between our two countries is rock-solid. I very much look forward to working with you for our shared values."
  • Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga: "I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Not all of the responses were positive.

  • Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "The situation in the US & what they themselves say about their elections is a spectacle! This is an example of the ugly face of liberal democracy in the US. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is absolutely clear, the definite political, civil, & moral decline of the US regime."
  • Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who previously congratulated Trump for winning the election, has now suggested that the election should not be called until the courts have their say.
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda, a Trump ally, congratulated Biden for a "successful presidential campaign" but seemed to hedge by saying he would "await the nomination by the Electoral College."
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters Saturday he wants to "wait until all the legal matters have been resolved" before offering his congratulations to the election winner, in reference to lawsuits filed by Trump.

Worth noting: There was no immediate public response from key Trump ally President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, nor from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodağan.

  • One foreign politician who actually campaigned for Trump — Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage — tweeted: "Four years ago when Trump won, broadcasters showed scenes of people in shock and crying. Today, a Biden declaration shows coverage that would make you think Jesus had returned."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more reactions from world leaders.

Go deeper

19 hours ago - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

21 mins ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

4 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”