Clarissa Tan

Happy New Year from world leaders

Happy New Year from world leaders
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It’s the New Year — a time when politicians all over the globe get on their soapboxes and preach to their people. From Merkel’s pledge to do everything for the euro, to North Korea’s vow to defend their new leader unto death, to Putin’s speech laden with sexual innuendo, here’s a selection of this year's messages from world leaders:

Barack Obama: ‘I promise to do everything I can to make America a place where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, one where everyone has a fair shot and everyone does their fair share. That's the America I believe in.’

Angela Merkel: ‘Today, you can trust that I will do everything to strengthen the euro. This will only succeed if Europe learns from the mistakes of the past. One of these is that a common currency can only be successful if we cooperate more than in the past in Europe.’

Nicolas Sarkozy: ‘I know that the lives of many of you, already tested by two difficult years, have been put to the test once more. You are ending the year more worried about yourselves and your children.

The only way to preserve our sovereignty, to control our destiny, is to choose ... the route of structural reforms rather than that of impulsive actions which only add to confusion and chaos without restoring confidence.’

Vladimir Putin: ‘To all our citizens regardless of their political persuasion, including those who sympathize with leftist forces and those situated on the right, below, above, however you like.’

Alex Salmond: ‘I am confident that Scotland will decide to take full control of our own destiny and join the international community in our own right.’

Hu Jintao: ‘In the new year, we will unswervingly adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidelines of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, and further carry out the Scientific Outlook on Development.’

Official North Korean message, delivered by Korean Central News Agency: ‘Glorify this year 2012 as a year of proud victory, a year when an era of prosperity is unfolding. The whole Party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong Un unto death.’

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on its Arabic Facebook page): ‘SCAF chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi orders the armed forces to collaborate with the Interior Ministry, the youth of the revolution and the political powers in securing Egypt’s churches… [in order to] prove to the whole world the civilization and peacefulness of this great country.’

Jacob Zuma: ‘Let me urge each South African to make 2012 the year of unity and the celebration of the country's rich political heritage.

We have an opportunity to showcase our country's remarkable successes, given the historic celebration of the centenary of the ruling party, the African National Congress, on the 8th of January 2012.’

Manmohan Singh: ‘Often democracy can be frustrating – both to those who are in government and to those who expect it to be more efficient, effective and humane. But our democracy is our strength. It is the basis of our unity. It is also the most important guarantor of internal security.’