Dutch queen and PM congratulate President Obama

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Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Balkenende have congratulated the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, on his inauguration.

AMSTERDAM -- The queen sent a telegraph wishing him every success and, in a letter, Mr Balkenende talked of the long-standing friendship between the Netherlands and the US. He described President Obama's inaugural address as inspiring, and said he was looking forward to working with the new leader, who he was pleased could now get to work.

He went on to say that he hoped the US, under its new administration, would recognise the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The US has, up to now, refused to be bound by the court. Mr Balkenende held talks with Mr Obama on the issue shortly after his presidential win. The prime minister also voiced the hope that the US would sign the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

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