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As Biden offered congratulations, these leaders remain quiet


LONDON — As Joe Biden was declared President-elect Saturday, congratulatory messages poured in from from leaders across the world. But several have remained notably silent, including some of President Donald Trump’s long-term allies.

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has had a close relationship with Trump, has not commented publicly on Biden’s win — despite taking the time on Saturday to congratulate the president of Tanzania on his re-election, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Trump has offered a warm embrace to the Middle Eastern kingdom and its ambitious heir, with the close ties giving the crown prince an important buffer against accusations of human rights violations at home and the role Saudi Arabia has played in the Yemen war, which has claimed them lives of more than 100,000 people.

Biden has pledged to re-assess the U.S. relationship with the kingdom.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman speak at the G20 Osaka Summit in Japan last year. Ludovic Marin / AFP – Getty Images file

Despite being an ideological ally, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who is often referred to as “the Trump of the Tropics,” has also stayed mum on Biden’s victory.

Ahead of the election, Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, threw his support behind Trump, and called Biden’s comments that Brazil should suffer “significant economic consequences” if devastation of the Amazon rainforest continues “disastrous.”

Prior to the election, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will work with any U.S. leader, but there has been no official comment from the Kremlin on Biden’s win.

Throughout his term, Trump has been accused of being sympathetic to Putin, whom he has called “a strong leader,” despite intelligence reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Biden has been much tougher in his stance on Russia, calling it the biggest threat to U.S. national security last month — an assessment the Kremlin said encouraged hatred of Russia.

Opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, who was recently poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, was the first high-profile Russian political figure to publicly chime in on the U.S. election on Sunday, congratulating Biden on his win.

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the international affairs committee in the Russian parliament or Duma, told state media agency Tass Sunday that Biden was “unlikely to make positive adjustments to Washington’s policy towards Russia” since he personally participated in the launch of the anti-Russian sanctions while still a vice-president.

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Turkish strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an on-and-off ally of Trump, is also still to publicly comment.

Making no mention of the U.S. vote, Turkey’s foreign ministry did take the time to congratulate the winner of a presidential election in Guinea on Sunday.

Turkey stands to lose more than most other countries from Biden’s victory as he is expected to toughen the U.S. stance against Turkey’s foreign military interventions and closer cooperation with Russia.

Another major stumbling block is Washington’s refusal to extradite U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.

But Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay insisted Sunday that Biden’s win would not change relations between the old allies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Joe Biden in Beijing in 2013.Lintao Zhang / Pool via Reuters file

Even before the election, China had said that it doesn’t get involved in the affairs of other countries and President Xi Jinping, has not issued any public statements on the Democrat’s victory.

China’s relations with the U.S. deteriorated dramatically under Trump over trade, technology, the coronavirus pandemic, human rights and Beijing’s growing international assertiveness.

But while Trump’s rhetoric towards China has turned increasingly bellicose in his last year in office, Biden has at times gone even further than the outgoing president in attacking China, having previously referred to Xi as a “thug.”

However, some people in China’s capital, Beijing, told NBC News they were relieved by Biden’s victory.

“I was happy to learn that Biden won because during Trump, he made the ties between the U.S. and China very tense,” said Zhou Tianfu, 55, a carwash worker in Beijing. “We hope there will be peace under Biden.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Dawn Liu contributed.



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