Reaction to U.S. State Department documents released via the website WikiLeaks began seeping out Monday, including a claim of vindication from Israel and a shrug-off from Italy.
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz:
“I don’t see any damage. Quite the opposite,” said Steinitz in an interview with Israel Radio. “Maybe there’s an indirect benefit that the truth is coming out, that the entire Middle East, including Arab states, are very fearful from the Iranian nuclear threat, and are calling on the West to be much more aggressive toward Iran.”
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi:
“I unfortunately have never in my life been to a wild party,” said Berlusconi in response to comments from a Rome-based U.S. diplomat about his penchant for partying. “Maybe they’re interesting. I’ve never been.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:
“It’s certainly amusing reading, but in actual policy we prefer to be guided by the concrete actions of our partners,” Lavrov told reporters in India, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. He was speaking in response to a U.S. Embassy cable that said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “plays Robin to [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin’s Batman.”
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert:
After documents showed U.S. diplomats calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel a “teflon” politician and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle as inexperienced, Seibert responded Monday: “We regret this publication. These are secret cables and foreign policy requires a certain level of confidentiality.”
Waheed Omer, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai:
“We don’t see anything substantive in the document that will strain the relationship,” Omer told reporters. “We’ll wait and see what else comes out before making further comment”. On leaked criticism of Karzai as an “extremely weak” leader, Omer said: “Such comments are not new. But the president … will carry on with what he thinks is good for Afghanistan.”
The BBC compiled a photo essay of the assessments of some foreign leaders from the leaked communications.
The Guardian mapped the countries of origin of the leaked documents.
The Globe and Mail highlighted some of the key players named in the documents.