Blair congratulates Sarkozy via YouTube

British Prime Minister Tony Blair took to the Internet in English and French Monday to congratulate Nicolas Sarkozy on winning France's presidential election, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Blair posted a message on video-sharing site YouTube, praising Sarkozy as 'a strong leader.'

Blair said he was confident Sarkozy 'will want to forge a good and close partnership between Britain and France for the good of our two countries, for Europe and the wider world.'

The report added that Sarkozy, a conservative who has cited Blair's transformation of the Labour Party as a political inspiration, beat socialist challenger Segolene Royale Sunday in France's presidential election.

Blair said he had spoken to Sarkozy after the result was announced to offer his congratulations, the report said.

The report said Blair had a testy relationship with Sarkozy's predecessor, Jaques Chirac, with whom he often sparred over the future of the European Union. Blair opposed Chirac's federalist ambitions for the 27-nation bloc and battled with the French leader over its vast budget.

Blair was quoted as saying that Sarkozy was one of 'a whole new generation of leaders in Europe.'

Blair's office claims the British premier, who is due to leave office soon, is the first world leader to have his own channel on YouTube, offering messages from Blair and behind-the-scenes video of his Downing Street office, the report further said.