WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W Bush led the international community on Sunday in hailing the election of Michel Sleiman as Lebanon's new President as a first step in reuniting the divided nation. "I am confident that Lebanon has chosen a leader committed to protecting its sovereignty, extending the government's authority over all of Lebanon, and upholding Lebanon's international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions," Bush said. He said he was "hopeful that the Doha agreement, which paved the way for this election, will usher in an era of political reconciliation to the benefit of all Lebanese." British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the election was "an important step forward for Lebanon" and pledged his government's support for the new president. "We will continue to support Lebanon's stability, integrity and independence, and we look forward to President Sleiman working with a unity government to bring Lebanon out of its current fragility," he said in a statement. German President Horst Koehler said he welcomed "this bold step" towards resolving Lebanon's political crisis and wished Sleiman luck in his new role. "I wish you lots of success, the necessary strength and good luck for the big challenges that lie ahead of you," he said in a statement. French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged full support for Sleiman and said he hoped the election would allow Lebanon to take a significant step forward and "confront the challenges that await." His Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner applauded Sleiman as "courageous" in calling for the UN tribunal being set up to try suspects the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri to continue its work. In Qatar, Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani hailed the accord signed in his country after six days of talks that brought an end to the Lebanese political crisis. "We know that there is a rule in Lebanese politics that considers that there is no victor and no vanquished in the political feuds," he said, but added in this case "the victor was Lebanon and the vanquished was schism." Jordan's King Abdullah II said the vote was a "positive step for the people of Lebanon and for national unity," according to a statement from the royal palace. "Jordan stands alongside the Lebanese in their desire and their efforts to preserve their independence and their stability," he said. Morocco's King Mohammed VI congratulated Sleiman and said he would strengthen national unity. "Thanks to your wisdom, your skills and human qualities, you are going to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly people of Lebanon in strengthening national unity," he said in a message. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr, whose country like Syria has been accused by the United States of stoking the crisis, welcomed the vote. "Attaining calm and security in this country is attaining calm and security on the level of the region as a whole," said Manouchehr, who watched the proceedings along with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Syria - also key players in Lebanon.