PARIS  - World leaders on Wednesday hailed President Barack Obama’s sweeping re-election, with allies pledging to deepen cooperation with the United States on fighting the world economic slump and maintaining security across the globe.Congratulations poured in from across the world, including fellow UN Security Council members Britain, China, France and Russia as well as its staunch Middle East ally Israel and Obama’s ancestral home in Kenya.Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose relations with Washington have often been frosty, congratulated Obama on his victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. “We hope that the positive beginnings that have taken hold in Russian-US relations on the world arena will grow in the interests of international security and stability,” Russian news agencies quoted Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.Moscow was ready to “go as far as the US administration is willing to go,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.Chinese President Hu Jintao, who himself is handing over power at a Communist Party congress starting this week, noted “positive progress” in Sino-US relations over the past four years despite tensions over issues such as trade and territorial disputes involving US allies.China will “look to the future and make continuous efforts for fresh and greater progress in the building of the China-US cooperative partnership,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.Afghan President Hamid Karzai congratulated Obama and said he hoped his win would lead to “further-expanded” relations, though reaction on the streets of the war-torn nation was muted and Taliban insurgents told Obama he should withdraw forces immediately, ahead of schedule.Israel was quick to congratulate Obama, with Netanyahu insisting that “the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever.”Netanyahu, whose relationship with Obama has at times appeared tense, also joined the well wishers. “I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the vital security interests of Israel and the United States,” said Netanyahu, who had appeared to throw his support behind Romney during the election campaign.Other Israeli ministers also stressed that they expect strong US-Israeli ties.The comments underlined the tensions that surfaced during Obama’s first term, with the White House at times at odds with Israel over both the peace process and Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.On the Palestinian side, officials in the West Bank expressed hope that Obama would intervene more directly in support of the Palestinians and peace talks.Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas congratulated Obama, saying he hoped “Obama continues his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East,” official news agency WAFA said.And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said he hoped the result meant “that a Palestinian state will be implemented in Obama’s next term,” urging the US leader to back a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations. “We hope Obama will stop settlements immediately and not stop the Palestinians from going to the UN to get non-member status because non-member status will protect the peace process and the two-state solution,” Erakat said.Iran, facing Western pressure particularly from the US and arch foe Israel over its nuclear drive, said Obama’s win would not lead to a normalisation of ties, but said the possibility of negotiations was “not taboo”.“Four years ago, Obama was elected on a platform for change and said he was extending his hand for cooperation with Iran, but he acted otherwise and unprecedented sanctions were imposed,” Fars news agency quoted judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani as saying, in Tehran’s first official reaction.British PM David Cameron said he was looking forward to working again with his “friend” Obama on several fronts, including helping the world economy and finding a solution for the escalating Syria conflict.German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she looked forward to continuing cooperation “so both our countries can continue to stand side-by-side to contend with the important foreign policy and economic challenges that we face as friends and allies”.Merkel’s message was echoed by European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and French President Francois Hollande.Through a Washington envoy, Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped God would guide Obama to deal with “his very serious responsibilities to his country and to the international community”.South African President Jacob Zuma urged the US to continue playing a positive role in Africa, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation said the US was a vital partner in Africa’s efforts to overcome poverty and inequality.Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi also hailed the win, saying he hoped it would strengthen the “friendship between the two countries”.In Muslim majority Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Obama to continue to foster understanding and respect between the United States and Muslims worldwide. And Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the bonds between Turkey and the United States were strengthened during Obama’s first term. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff also congratulated her US counterpart on his re-election, while Sudan also welcomed the re-election of US President Barack Obama but called for serious talks about ending sanctions.