As 2016 comes to a close, world leaders appear just as eager to start fresh in the new year.
President-elect Donald Trump, however, couldn’t let this year go without taking another dig at his critics.
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” he tweeted Saturday morning.
Trump’s 2016 was capped by his presidential win in November, but he has feuded repeatedly with Democrats, members of his own Republican Party, celebrities and the media.
Putin in his New Year’s address, which began airing in distant parts of Russia Saturday, wished happiness for his people — and recognized 2016 was a complicated year for the nation, including for its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
“It wasn’t easy, but the hardships that we have faced have brought us together, have motivated us to open huge reserves of our potential to move forward,” Putin said. “The main thing is that we believe in ourselves, in our strength, in our country.”
German leader Angela Merkel, who faces a tough re-election campaign in 2017, said this past year was one in which the world “turned upside down.”
In her New Year’s speech to Germans, she cited Islamist terrorism as the nation’s biggest challenge following a deadly truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.
Earlier this year, the decision by Britain to leave the European Union still weighs heavily on Merkel’s mind, she added.
“And, yes, Europe should focus on what can really be better than the national state,” she said. “But we Germans should never be led to believe that each could have a better future by going it alone.”
Elsewhere in the world, leaders tried to instill hope following social, political and economic upheaval.
Brash Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte brushed aside criticism of his handling of the local drug war and questions about human rights violations by telling his people to be more positive in 2017.
“I hope that we will all enjoy the time of the year by demonstrating love, solidarity, understanding, happiness and optimism towards our personal ambitions and national aspirations,” he said in a message.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was more political during her year-end news conference on Saturday, addressing the growing tensions with China that were strained further when Trump broke protocol and took her call after his election victory.
Tsai said she doesn’t want her small, self-ruled nation, which China considers its territory and fears could be seeking full independence, to be enmeshed in conflict.
“As long as we can be calm, rational and maintain a flexible attitude, I believe we should be able to find a solution that allows both sides to maintain peaceful and stable relations,” she said.
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn called for unity in his first New Year address since taking over from his late father, who was widely seen as a unifying force during decades of turbulence. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was the world’s longest-reigning monarch, died on Oct. 13.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, defended his recent decision to withdraw large denomination bills, a move that caused disruption and anger throughout India, which has the world’s sixth-largest economy. In his New Year’s address, Modi also announced incentives to help Indians suffering the most, including the poor, farmers, women and small businesses.