The release of confidential classified State Department documents by the group WikiLeaks has aroused sharp reaction around the globe. Here is a sampling of what some world leaders were saying.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi insists he only throws elegant, dignified soirees at his villas and not wild parties described by a Rome-based U.S. diplomat in a cable contained in the WikiLeaks trove.
Mr. Berlusconi said he didn’t care to read what the diplomat had to report, saying “I don’t look at what third-rate or fourth-rate officials say.”
According to the cable, the diplomat said of Berlusconi that “frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest.”
Mr. Berlusconi said on Monday he didn’t attend “wild parties.”
He added that “once a month, I throw dinner parties at my houses, where everything takes place in a proper, dignified and elegant way.”
Berlusconi has been accused of entertaining escorts and underage girls at his villas.
The New York Times said another batch of documents raised questions about Berlusconi and his relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. One cable said Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe, the Times reported.
Iran’s president says leaked American diplomatic cables recounting Arab calls for the U.S. to launch a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities were intended to stir “mischief.”
According to the cables released Sunday by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“We don’t give any value to these documents,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told a news conference Monday. “It’s without legal value. Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad alleged the leaks were an “organized” effort by the U.S. to stir trouble between Iran and Arab neighbours.
The WikiLeaks documents also described Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as erratic and in the near constant company of a Ukrainian nurse who was described in one cable as “a voluptuous blonde,” according to a report on the documents in The New York Times.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says newly leaked U.S. diplomatic memos about the Saudi king offer clear proof that the Arab world agrees with his country’s assessment that Iran is the chief danger to the Middle East.
According to the documents released Sunday by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The king is just one of many Arab voices in the documents calling for tough action against Iran -- proof that Israel is not alone in its belief that Tehran is a growing menace to the region, Netanyahu said.
“The greatest threat to world peace stems from the arming of the regime in Iran. More and more states, governments and leaders in the Middle East and in far reaches of the world understand this is a fundamental threat,” Mr. Netanyahu told a news conference Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic documents is an attack not only against the United States but the international community as well and erodes trust among nations.
In her first public comments since the weekend release of the classified State Department cables, Ms. Clinton said Monday that online whistle-blower WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the material. She said the Obama administration was “aggressively pursuing” those responsible for the leak.
Despite the damage, Ms. Clinton said she was “confident” that U.S. partnerships would withstand the challenges posed by revelations.
Pakistan is defending its decision to deny a U.S. request to remove fuel from one of its nuclear reactors, despite reported concerns that it could be diverted to make an illicit weapon.
The disagreement between the two allies first surfaced Sunday when several news organizations reported details from nearly a quarter million classified U.S. diplomatic cables released by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks.
U.S. officials have long expressed concern that Islamic extremists in Pakistan could target the country’s nuclear program in an attempt to steal a weapon or, more likely, the materials needed to build one.
Pakistan has always said it is confident its nuclear security is good enough to prevent this from happening -- a stance supported publicly by the U.S. But the leaked cables reportedly reveal the U.S. has doubts and has clashed with Pakistan over the issue.
“No one can touch Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and assets,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said in a press release.
Police were investigating whether any Australian law was broken by the latest leaking of confidential documents by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks, the attorney-general said Monday.
Robert McClelland said he was not aware of a request from the United States to cancel WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Australian passport. A range of options were under consideration by Australian government agencies in response to the latest disclosure of classified U.S. material, he said.
Mr. McClelland told reporters there are “potentially a number of criminal laws” that could have been breached.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith said later that a cross-government committee was studying the documents to ascertain what damage could be done by their release.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week condemned the planned leaks as reckless and potentially harmful to national security interests.
If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs a home, Ecuador’s deputy foreign minister says this Andean nation is happy to provide one.
In contrast to the potential hostility from U.S. allies, leftist-run Ecuador provided Assange with an invitation Monday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas said in audio posted online by the EcuadorInmediato news site that “we are open to giving him residence in Ecuador, without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions.”
Lucas praised people like Assange “who are constantly investigating and trying to get light out of the dark corners of (state) information”
Lucas said Ecuador’s government was “very concerned” by revelations that U.S. diplomats have been involved in spying in the first of the more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables and directives that WikiLeaks has begun to release.
WikLeaks says it has 1,621 cables that originated in the U.S. Embassy in Quito. Their contents have not yet been disclosed.
Ecuador expelled two U.S. diplomats in early 2009, accusing one of directing CIA operations in Ecuador and another of interfering in police affairs.