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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 January, 2005, 12:27 GMT
In quotes: Leaders' New Year messages

Heads of state and leaders from across the world used their traditional New Year messages to reflect on the events of 2004 and to highlight some of the key issues facing their countries and people in the coming year.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian president

Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Let us make 2005 a year of solidarity and togetherness in rebuilding our nation following the catastrophic disaster and the various problems caused by past crises... We should not greet the new year with parties in the midst of such distress and sadness. Let us reflect, praise God and pray that this disaster soon passes and is replaced with a new life full of hope.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysian prime minister

I express my condolences and sadness to those who have lost members of their family in the [tsunami] disaster... We must be prepared to face any eventuality so that we will be able to handle our economy as best as we can, and reduce the impact of anything that can undermine our economy.

Iyad Allawi, Iraqi interim prime minister

Iraqi Interin Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi

The new year will be decisive in the history of our nation and its future... Economic and political progress require a democratic environment... It will be a strong Iraq in its political and social structure; a united Iraq that will contribute to peace and stability in the region... I want my sons and the next generations to grow up in a country that respects the rule of law and justice and freedom and human rights.

Mikhail Saakashvili, Georgian president

It has been a successful year for our motherland, Georgia. We have restored the control of the Georgian state over one of the most beautiful regions of ours, Ajaria... After the rose revolution, for the first time, Georgia began establishing itself on the world political map and the whole world started talking about our country with great sympathy. It is no accident that I am now in liberated Kiev. The Georgian revolution was a very important factor in Ukraine's revolution.

Leonid Kuchma, outgoing Ukrainian president

I would very much like us not to carry into the new year the many problems which we should have got rid of a long time ago... Ukraine, despite all the difficulties, has moved forward in a consistent and determined way. And I am proud of the fact that we all crossed this path together... I would also like to express my sincere thanks to all those who... defended the right of political choice during the recent presidential election, regardless of personal allegiance.

Jacques Chirac, French president

French President, Jacques Chirac

In 2005, you will hold the future of... Europe in your hands. I have in fact decided that the European Constitution will be put to you by referendum by the summer... By approving the European Constitution, you will permit Europe to be more democratic, more involved, more powerful. You will... enable France to have a greater influence within the Union. Between withdrawal and opening up, the choice we make will be decisive... It must not be distorted or thrown off course by any other consideration.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister

As a nation we have made great strides towards our goals of democracy, law, justice and development. Our greatest gains were made in seeing society walk in parallel with the state, in seeing the state draw closer to society, to see law and justice become more deeply rooted, and to see the fabric of society rest on more solid foundations. Whatever we did as the government, we did it for Turkey... We are closer than ever before to our goal of being a contemporary civilisation.

Hu Jintao, Chinese president

Chinese President, Hu Jintao

We will make every effort with utmost sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification of the country. We are willing to resume cross-strait dialogue at the earliest possible date on the basis of the 'One China' principle. However, we will never allow anybody to separate Taiwan from China. Here I would like once again to call on all Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, to unite in their opposition and to contain secessionist forces and "Taiwan independence" in order to realise national reunification as soon as possible.

Junichiro Koizumi, Japanese prime minister

I have made every effort to promote structural reforms... We are now entering a crucial time of whether we can nurture these buds of reform into a large tree. Together with the people of Japan I will advance reforms with firm resolve... I will continue to accelerate reforms in the area of finance, tax system, regulations and expenditure, work to normalise the issue of non-performing loans and make efforts to overcome deflation, thus realising a vigorous economy.

Vladimir Putin, Russian president

We have developed new projects and approaches to the solution of topical national tasks. We have taken serious steps to increase the efficiency of the authorities and make them more open and more responsible to the public. Economic and defence potential has been strengthened and the capacities of this country have increased... all our priorities are related to the intellectual and spiritual development of the people. The recognition of everyone's potential and better living standards are the main tasks, the main internal force of Russia's development.

Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast president

Ivory Coast President, Laurent Gbagbo

2004, a year that was full of hope, is ending in an unexpected context. Disarmament did not occur. The country is still divided... Our economy needs to grow again. Ivory Coast needs to play its full role as a driving force of the West African economy. Therefore, we need to disarm... Disarmament is the condition for everything else, notably the security of people and property.

Mwai Kibaki, Kenyan president

I'm happy to note that the [East African] customs union, which is the entry point of the integration process, comes into effect with the new year, that is today... As we enter into the new year therefore I urge Kenyans to think beyond our borders, and to expand the operation to the region in order to take advantage of the benefit accruing from the customs union.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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