November 13th, 2008
07:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Biden speaks with foreign leaders

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Biden spoke with eight foreign leaders this week."]

(CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden spoke with eight foreign leaders earlier this week, the transition office announced Thursday, to express “his thanks and appreciation for their congratulations on the election.”

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee talked to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, King Abdullah of Jordan and Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Monday and Tuesday.

In addition, the country that got the most calls was Israel, with Biden speaking to three of its most senior politicians: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister (and former prime minister) Ehud Barak and Likud Party leader (and former Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu.

The country’s Jerusalem Post reports that Livni told Biden to keep up the pressure on Iran’s nuclear program and to continue to fight against extremists in the region. Livni is running against both Netanyahu and Barak in Israel’s February elections to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Biden is expected to play an instrumental role in foreign policy in the Obama administration when they are sworn on January 20. When Republicans accused Obama during the campaign of not wholeheartedly supporting Israel, Biden beat back the accusations with his own friendship with the country during his 35-year tenure in the Senate.

“My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head,” Biden said to a Jewish group in late September. “I guarantee you, I would not have joined Barack Obama’s ticket as vice president, were [there] any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shares the same commitment to Israel that I share.”

The transition office has been regularly releasing the names of foreign leaders that President-elect Barack Obama has spoken with, evidence of Obama and Biden’s campaign pledge to “restore America’s standing in the world,” as Biden regularly put it on the stump.

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