*Nettavisen* Nyheter.

Petersen congratulates Bush

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Petersen said President George W. Bush with the night’s election result has gotten the go-ahead from Americans to continue his politics.

Petersen, who is on an official trip with the Norwegian Royal Couple in Vietnam, takes into account that all the votes have been counted yet, but claim, based on the current count in the state of Ohio, the battle is basically won by President Bush.

«It’s rather obvious that Bush wins in Ohio, so we congratulate him with the victory,» Petersen said to TV 2 Nettavisen. «The fact that he won so clearly in Florida, must be a sweet victory.»

Gained strength
Petersen said that according to the current standing, President Bush has gotten the Americans support to continue his politics.

«He has a stronger mandate behind him now than earlier,» Petersen stated. «He has not only a majority of the mandates, but also a majority of the votes, and the Republicans have gained strength in the Congress.»

When asked if he as surprised that Kerry did as well as he did, Petersen said that he was not.

«I had to admit that in the days before the election I did not dare to guess who would win,» Petersen admitted.

New course
Petersen said the Norwegian government would continue its close collaboration with the new Bush administration, but he hopes the President wants to adjust the course somewhat, even if he as gotten support for his politics.

«I hope he will focus more on international collaboration,» Petersen said. «Now when he has been elected to his second period as president, he will have more freedom. I hope he will use it to put greater pressure behind the Middle East negotiations.»

Minister of Foreign Affairs claims the Middle East has to be a top priority for Bush during the new period.

Defeat for Norwegians
Petersen is vice president in the International Democrat Union (IDU), who in August decided to support the Republican election campaign in order to get President Bush re-elected, but Petersen would not comment if he was happy that President Bush, who he has been working with for several years, continues in the White House.

«It’s worthless to speculate if it would have been different with Kerry,» Petersen said.«There are probably many in Norway who are disappointed by the result. Norway often losses in elections in other countries, but we will collaborate with the administration that is elected.»

Jagland waits
Labor politician Torbjørn Jagland, head of Stortinget’s foreign affairs committee, said it is too early to appoint the winner and said he will not comment the election until the final result is in.

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