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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 13:10 GMT
World leaders mark New Year
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian takes a New Year salute in Taipei
Taiwan's leader urges better ties with Beijing
World leaders have marked the New Year by addressing their peoples on a variety of topics, ranging from appeals for peace and reconciliation to warnings of dangers ahead, including economic difficulties, terrorism, environmental degradation and the threat of war.

The following is a selection of quotes picked up by BBC Monitoring over the past 24 hours.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder speaking on ARD TV

We have good reason to be confident. We have managed to turn old enmity into new partnership in Europe. Now we must create new solidarity and new prosperity in our society.

Nobody knows today how the international economy will develop next year. However, we Germans know how to solve problems and cope with difficulties. In the future, too, we can rely on our strength and our skills.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on RTR Russia TV

On this New Year night I am thanking you for everything, everything we have achieved in the outgoing year. The fact is that what the future has in store for us depends on what has been done in the past.

Even though we are not forgetting the past, we are certainly thinking about the future... We are about to enter the third year of the third millennium. Russia, a country with a thousand-year history, is meeting its future as it should.

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo speaking on Television Ivoirienne

I am asking them [the rebels] to lay down their arms. Lay down your arms and we will be able to talk...Today more than ever, we must be united in the face of adversity.

May the year 2003 be the year of resistance and rallying of all the sons and all the daughters of this country. May it bring us peace.

Turkmen President Saparmyrat Atayevich Niyazov, having recently survived an assassination and coup attempt, speaking on Turkmen TV

When the majority of our nation works honestly and is loyal to the homeland, thus producing a positive impact on the fate of the nation and people, such a state is considered promising, with a great future.

There are more and more forces and citizens in society with a healthy spirit, and the growth in their ranks stimulates the rise of our nation's spirit.

French President Jacques Chirac on France 2 TV

We live in an uncertain and dangerous world in which the threats of war add to the risk of terrorism, a world in which the perverted use of scientific progress can offend against the very dignity of the human being. And France must be at the forefront of those defending peace, justice and ethics.

French President Jacques Chirac addressing the nation
French President giving his best wishes
On our soil, the temptations of inter-ethnic strife and an inward-looking attitude are real enough. Violence, now abating thanks to the government's action, is far from having disappeared.

Our ecological balance is increasingly threatened. Our national cohesiveness, often mistreated, needs strengthening. The employment situation, the material difficulties of some, social exclusion, all remain major concerns among us.

We all know that reforms are indispensable, reforms which our European partners have carried out and which we have delayed for much too long... The more dynamic France becomes, the better will it be heard. In a united Europe, soon to be reformed and enlarged, its voice will be all the stronger.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Kazakh TV

Dear people of Kazakhstan, the most important thing is that we have strengthened the unity of our state, ensured the development of the state in an atmosphere of political stability, public peace and accord...

The history of new Kazakhstan is speeding up before our eyes. I am convinced that the year 2003, and the following years alike will be a period of quiet and creative work which will enhance the welfare of the state and the wellbeing of each family in Kazakhstan. It is this task which I regard as the most important. Kazakhstan's multiethnic people are capable of this.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in government daily Al-Ahram

Immediate negotiations are the only way to reach a peace agreement which will satisfy the Israelis and Palestinians, but negotiations need calm. If the violence continues there will be no solution, and even the United States will be unable to help in reaching a settlement... If Iraq cooperates fully with the United Nations inspectors and proves that it possesses no weapons of mass destruction, war can still be avoided.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Chinese radio and TV

In China today, the government functions well, and the people enjoy peace. Our country is prosperous and flourishing... We absolutely believe that with their efforts over the next 20 years, the heroic and hard-working Chinese people will work a new human miracle with their hands on the magical land of China. By that time, China will become even more prosperous and stronger, and China will make an even greater contribution to mankind.

I would like to especially wish the 23 million Taiwan compatriots happiness and the best of health in the new year. I firmly believe that with the concerted efforts of all the Chinese people, including the broad masses of Taiwan compatriots, the motherland's complete reunification will certainly be realized early.

We should also be aware that the development of the world is quite uneven, the unfair and unreasonable old international political and economic order has not changed fundamentally, the gap between the North and the South has further widened, conflicts and disputes in some regions have risen one after another, international terrorism is endangering people's peaceful life, and problems of poverty, environmental deterioration, drugs, and other non-traditional security problems have become more conspicuous. The people of all countries should jointly deal with these problems hand in hand.

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian quoted by CNA news agency

The past year has been full of trials and tribulation. Beyond our borders, we have seen change and uncertainty in the international political landscape and the global economy. Here in Taiwan, faced with adversity and a multitude of challenges, our survival and our success depend on our perseverance... We must all work together to ensure that Taiwan's tomorrow is better than its yesterday

Last November in China, the Chinese Communist Party [carried out] a smooth transition of power. This reinforces our belief that steady progress must be maintained on both sides of the Strait in order to ensure the welfare of both our peoples...we would be willing to share Taiwan's unique experience in democratization with the political leaders as well as members of society in China...Today, I wish to make an earnest call for both sides to strive toward building a framework of interaction for peace and stability and to make this a primary goal at this stage of cross-strait development.

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.

See also:

31 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
01 Jan 03 | Europe
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