Reconciliation, annihilation, terrorism: leaders' New Year messages

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The leader of North Korea held out a rare olive branch in his New Year message yesterday calling for a "lasting peace" on the Korean peninsula. However, Kim Jong-il tempered the goodwill by warning that his country's military would also continue to prepare itself for fighting through "prompt, merciless and annihilatory action".

There were calls, too, for reconciliation from the US President, Barack Obama, who urged his country's political parties to work together in the new congress. Mr Obama said economic recovery was not "a Republican problem or a Democrat problem but an American problem".

In Britain, David Cameron said the threat of terrorism remained "as serious" and he called on Britons to ask themselves "how we are allowing the radicalisation of some young British Muslims".

Meanwhile, Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, said 2011 promised to be a "horrible year" with unemployment set to soar and cuts hitting thousands of vulnerable people. But Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was more upbeat, highlighting the royal wedding and Olympic preparations as reasons for optimism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also saw grounds for hope in the quest for a "big society", which he said was a chance to "stop and think about the big picture".