x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

World leaders' hopes raised with Obama win

The Democrat Barack Obama's historic win in the US presidential race has been closely watched by people around the globe from Kenya to the UAE.

President elect Barack Obama looks on after giving his victory speech during an election night gathering in Grant Park on Nov 4 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.
President elect Barack Obama looks on after giving his victory speech during an election night gathering in Grant Park on Nov 4 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.

The Democrat Barack Obama has won an extraordinary two-year struggle for the White House, beating the Republican John McCain to become the first black president in US history. The Illinois senator, the son of a white mother from Kansas and black father from Kenya, cobbled together a decisive victory with more than 300 electoral votes and a comfortable, but relatively close, win in the popular vote. Mr Obama gave a rousing victory speech in front of 65,000 supporters at Grant Park in his home city of Chicago, Illinois. However, his victory was closely watched by millions more people around the globe. Here are reactions and quotes to Mr Obama's historic win by world leaders:

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has sent a congratulatory cable to Barack Obama for his US presidential election win. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, have also sent similar congratulatory notes.

Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League "We should seize the opportunity to express congratulations and in stressing the importance of this day... I also stress the importance of the message that Mr Obama has never ceased to send, which is we all need change and that is what we do expect from the new leader of the United States."

Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister "The news we are receiving on the results of the American presidential election shows that everyone has the right to hope for a freshening of US approaches to all the most complex issues, including foreign policy and therefore relations with the Russian Federation as well."

Hoshiyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister "I think you will hear a lot of discussion and goals and slogans during the election campaigns. When there is a reality check I think any US president has to look very hard at the facts on the ground."

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister "Israel expects the close strategic cooperation with the new administration, president and Congress will continue along with the continued strengthening of the special and unshakeable special relationship between the two countries."

Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the leader of the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood "We congratulate him on the confidence of the American people in him and we hope that he will change the policy of the United States towards the Middle East and towards the crimes which are happening in Afghanistan and Somalia, in other words that he adopts a just policy that restores to America its natural position of respect for humankind and democracy."

Rev Federico Lombardi, Pope Benedict's spokesman "Believers are praying that God will enlighten him and help him in his great responsibility, which is enormous because of the global importance of the United States... We hope Obama can fulfill the expectations and hopes that many have in him."

George W Bush, the US president "Mr President-elect, congratulations to you," Mr Bush's spokeswoman, Dana Perino, quoted him as telling Mr Obama. "What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called to congratulate you and your good bride. I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life." Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state "President-elect Obama is going to be a president for all of America. He also happens to be black, which makes it a very, very historic occasion...The American people are responding with great emotion and with great pride in our system that we have seen this latest step in reconciliation with respect to our race relations. We have not completely reconciled within my society, with my country. But what Mr Obama represents is the best of America."

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister "Your election marks a new chapter in the remarkable history of the United States. For long, the ideas of democracy, liberty and freedom espoused by the United States has been a source of inspiration...I hope that under your dynamic leadership, the United States will continue to be a source of global peace and new ideas for humanity."

Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister "Your extraordinary journey to the White House will inspire people not only in your country but also around the world."

Ali al Sadig, the Sudanese foreign minister spokesman "We don't expect any change through our previous experience with the Democrats ... When it comes to foreign policy there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats."

Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister "The necessity for cooperation between Europe and the United States is bigger than ever. Only by close transatlantic cooperation can we face the world's challenges."

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president "With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America's identity, have expressed with force their faith in progress and the future. At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond."

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president "I applaud the American people for their great decision and I hope that this new administration in the United States of America, and the fact of the massive show of concern for human beings and lack of interest in race and colour while electing the president, will go a long way in bringing the same values to the rest of world sooner or later."

Gordon Brown, the British prime minister "Barack Obama ran an inspirational campaign, energising politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future. I know Barack Obama and we share many values. We both have determination to show that government can act to help people fairly through these difficult times facing the global economy."

Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president "We the Kenyan people are immensely proud of your Kenyan roots. Your victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, but it has special resonance with us here in Kenya."

Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president "We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world. I sincerely hope that with the leadership of President Obama, the United States of America will join forces with Europe to drive this new deal. For the benefit of our societies, for the benefit of the world."

Hu Jintao, the Chinese president "The Chinese Government and I myself have always attached great importance to China-US relations. In the new historic era, I look forward to working together with you to continuously strengthen dialogue and exchanges between our two countries."

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor "I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on your historic victory in the presidential election. "The world faces significant challenges at the start of your term. I am convinced that Europe and the United States will work closely and in a spirit of mutual trust together to confront new dangers and risks and will seize the opportunities presented by our global world."

Taro Aso, the Japanese prime minister "The Japan-US alliance is key to Japanese diplomacy and it is the foundation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. With President-elect Obama, I will strengthen the Japan-US alliance further and work towards resolving global issues such as the world economy, terror and the environment."

Kgalema Motlanthe, the South African president "Africa, which today stands proud of your achievements, can only but look forward to a fruitful working relationship with you both at a bilateral and multilateral levels in our endeavour to create a better world for all who live in it." Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place."

Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister "I look forward to meeting with the President-elect so that we can continue to strengthen the special bond that exists between Canada and the United States."

Kevin Rudd, the Australian prime minister "Senator Obama's message of hope is not just for America's future, it is also a message of hope for the world as well. A world which is now in many respects fearful for its future."

Helen Clark, the New Zealand Prime Minister "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. We look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama and his team to address these challenges."

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president "Indonesia especially hopes that the US, under new leadership, will stand in the front and take real action to overcome the global financial crisis, especially since the crisis was triggered by the financial conditions in the US."

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Philippine president "We welcome his triumph in the same vein that we place the integrity of the US electoral process and the choices made by the American people in high regard. We likewise note the making of history with the election of Senator Obama as the first African-American president of the United States."

Ali Aghamohammadi, close aide to Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "The president-elect has promised changes in policies. There is a capacity for the improvement of ties between America and Iran if Obama pursues his campaign promises, including not confronting other countries as Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also concentrating on America's state matters and removing the American people's concerns."

Saeb Erekat, the aide to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas "We hope the president-elect in the United States will stay the course and would continue the US engagement in the peace process without delay. We hope the two-state vision would be transferred from a vision to a realistic track immediately." *Agencies and WAM