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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
In quotes: Global reaction to Blair's exit
Leaders from around the world reflect on the announcement by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he is stepping down.

US PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH

British Prime Minister Tony Blair

He is a political figure who is capable of thinking over the horizon. He is a long-term thinker.

I have found him to be a man who has kept his word, which sometimes is rare in the political circles I run in. When Tony Blair tells you something - as we say in Texas - you can take it to the bank.

We have got a relationship such that we can have really good discussions. And so we will miss him.

PRESIDENT OF SIERRA LEONE, AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH

I gained that distinct impression - that he was totally committed to Africa, for example, when he said that "Africa is the sore on the global scene" and that unless we deal with it, it will become an incurable sore.

I happen to believe that Mr Blair brought a moral voice to foreign policy issues by government and so on.

US SECRETARY OF STATE, CONDOLEEZZA RICE

The bonds with Prime Minister Blair have been forged through some of the most difficult times, through the time of 9/11, through the time of the attacks on London, through Afghanistan and Iraq and Northern Ireland.

President Bush did not just value Prime Minister Blair's advice, but sought it out. He often said: "I need to know what Tony thinks." On Northern Ireland, President Bush's view was that whatever Tony Blair needs, Tony Blair should have.

FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE, COLIN POWELL

Prime Minister Blair has had an enormous impact on world politics, and he certainly has had an enormous impact on the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain.

He has been a friend, he has been steadfast in the face of negative public opinion, and in the face of crises he's stood steady. And we could always count on him.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

Tony Blair has taken Britain from the fringes to the mainstream of the European Union. He has done this by engagement, not by vetoes.

He has brought to Europe energy, engagement and ideas and leaves an impressive legacy including his commitment to enlargement, energy policy, his promotion of action against climate change, and for fighting poverty in Africa.

Above all he has shared in our determination to create an open, reforming and strong Europe. I greatly value our friendship and I wish him success for the future.

ZIMBABWEAN DEPUTY INFORMATION MINISTER, BRIGHT MATONGA

He was the worst thing that ever happened to Africa.

We hope that the children of Iraq and Afghanistan he [Blair] is killing everyday will haunt him for the rest of his life.

We hope he has learnt from his mistakes if he is going to take any ambassadorial role in Africa.

We hope Gordon Brown will have a different approach [towards Zimbabwe], a more humane approach to things than Tony Blair.

ISRAELI VICE PREMIER, SHIMON PERES

Tony Blair was a very unique introduction in the history, or shall I say in the tradition, of British life.

Young, handsome, intelligent, devoted, religious, he came in at a very trying moment.

In Great Britain there is great respect for tradition and yet a new age was born.

On one hand, the Europeanisation of the political relations between Great Britain and Europe, on the other hand, the global economy and then again the special relations between Great Britain and US.

PALESTINIAN INFORMATION MINISTER, MOUSTAFA BARGHOUTI

We hope that the departure of Mr Blair and the coming of a new prime minister will lead to a serious change in British politics - that is less biased to Israel, that is more reasonable in co-operating with the Palestinian side, that would support lifting the embargo on the Palestinian people [...] we hope to see a more independent British policy from that of the US.

Especially on issues related to the Middle East, Mr Blair promised many initiatives, including a promise of an international peace conference, and he never conducted any of them.

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE

He has achieved great results for the past 10 years.

He won people's support by developing the economy and carrying out education reforms.

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER, AHMAD BADAWI

I hope [the next British PM] will listen more to some of the demands that are made by leaders of the developing countries, leaders of the Arab world and leaders of the Muslim world about the importance of solving the problems which are now in the Middle East.






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