President Barack Obama made time on Tuesday to reach out to a number of world leaders who had hailed his re-election last week, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The president made personal phone calls in some cases in thanking each of them for sending congratulations on his victory, the White House said.
“In each call, he thanked his counterparts for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.
Obama, who won a second, four-year term with a decisive Nov. 6 win over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, also spoke with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain.
King Abdullah II of Jordan and Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, also congratulated the Democrat on his win, the White House said.
Putin wished Obama success in “forming a new team” and the two leaders “confirmed their interest in the consistent development of bilateral relations in all areas including economic aspects,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin repeated an invitation to visit Russia and Obama expressed readiness to do so, the statement said.
Putin had sent Obama a telegram on November 7, the day after the election, congratulating him on winning “by a big margin” after a tough campaign and saying he hoped Obama would visit Russia next year.
Relations between Moscow and Washington were badly damaged by Russia’s 2008 war with pro-Western Georgia, but improved after Obama moved to “reset” ties early in his first term and signed a nuclear arms treaty with then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.
Ties between the nuclear-armed former Cold War foes have been strained recently by disputes over uprisings in Libya and Syria, Putin’s accusations of U.S. support for opposition protests, U.S. missile defense plans and U.S. criticism of the jailing of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
Obama’s relationship with Medvedev is seen as warmer than with Putin, but the Russian leader made clear he preferred Obama to Romney, saying in September that the former Massachusetts governor’s criticism of Russia was “mistaken” and calling Obama “an honest person who really wants to change much for the better.”