Last updated: 8 May, 2012

Israeli and Palestinian leaders greet Hollande victory

Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Monday congratulated Francois Hollande on winning the French presidential election.

“I would like to congratulate Francois Hollande on his election as president of France,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting.

“Relations between Israel and France were always friendly, and will remain such. I look forward to a meeting with him to continue this important relationship — important bilaterally and internationally.”

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas telephoned Hollande and invited him to visit Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

It quoted Abbas as wishing “luck and success in his high office to President Hollande…in strengthening France’s regional and international role in the cause of world justice and peace.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres, currently on a state visit to Canada, sent a congratulatory message, a statement from his office said.

“In the name of the people of Israel, it is a great pleasure for me to send my sincerest best wishes on your election to the presidency of France,” the 88-year-old Nobel peace laureate wrote.

“I am confident that under your leadership, the French people will look to the future with hope, confidence and a spirit of unity,” he added.

“I look forward to working with you to strengthen and expand the historical ties of friendship and cooperation between our two peoples and countries.”

Hollande was elected France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades on Sunday, dealing a humiliating defeat to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.