US, world leaders hail Obama victory (Lead)

November 5th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 5 (IANS) World leaders have been quick to congratulate Democrat Barack Obama on his victory in the US presidential elections. Soon after US media projected Obama winning the election and Republican John McCain conceded defeat, US President George W. Bush called him up late Tuesday to congratulate him on his victory.

“What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters,” he told the Illionis senator and wished him a better future.

“I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life,” the outgoing president said.

In a speech made in Phoenix, his home state of Arizona, and televised live worldwide, McCain congratulated Obama, saying that “the American people have spoken”.

McCain, 72, urged his supporters to rally behind the president-elect and vowed to help his ex-rival to deal with multiple challenges facing the country.

“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans and please believe me when I say no association has meant more to me than that,” the Arizona senator said.

“It is natural tonight (Tuesday night) to feel some disappointment but tomorrow we must move beyond it,” he added.

In Kenya, people took to the streets early Wednesday morning to celebrate Obama’s victory. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced Nov 6 a national holiday.

“This is a momentous day not only in the history of the United States of America, but also for us in Kenya,” Kibaki said in a statement.

“The victory of Senator Obama is our own victory because of his roots here in Kenya. As a country, we are full of pride for his success,” he said.

Obama’s late father was Kenyan, although he abandoned his son when he was only two years old.

Wishing a better future for the new president-elect, Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president said: “This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America. We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised the “energising politics and progressive values” of Obama and said he was looking forward to working with him.

In a statement issued by Downing Street Wednesday morning, Brown said: “I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Barack Obama on winning the presidency of the United States.”

Brown also paid tribute to Republican candidate John McCain, who he said had “fought a good campaign and has shown the characteristic dignity that has marked a lifetime of service to his country”.

Britain’s opposition Conservative leader David Cameron also hailed Obama on becoming the first black president of the US.

“In electing Barack Obama, America has made history and proved to the world that it is a nation eager for change,” Cameron said in a statement.

In a letter made public in Paris Wednesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated the Democrat, saying: “I give you my warmest congratulations and, through me, those of all French people.”

“Your brilliant victory rewards a tireless commitment to serve the American people,” he said in his letter.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso extended his “heartfelt congratulations” to Obama and hoped Japan-US relations would be taken to new heights under Obama’s leadership.

“As the world confronts a multitude of serious challenges, I believe the United States will continue to make significant advancements under the able leadership of President-elect Obama,” said the premier in a statement.

“Working together with president-elect Obama, I will strive to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance and to resole various challenges the international community faces when addressing issues such as the international economy, terrorism and the environment,” Aso added.

Iran said the victory of Obama as first black American dismantled the last racial barrier in the country’s politics. Obama’s victory signified the rejection by the American people of the era of incumbent Bush, Tehran said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said: “Senator Obama will be taking office at a critical juncture. There are many pressing challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis and global warming.”

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed called Obama’s victory a great moment for America and Africa.

“I am hopeful that he will help end major crises in the world, particularly the endless conflict in my country Somalia. This was a historic election in which a proper leader was elected,” he said in a statement.

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