World leaders are congratulating Barack Obama for his victory in the U.S. presidential election, while highlighting some of the global challenges he will face.
One of the harshest critics of the United States, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, today Wednesday, said he expects to develop a constructive dialogue with Mr. Obama.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Mr. Obama a "true friend of Britain" and said he looks forward to working with him during these difficult economic times. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he does not expect Mr. Obama's election to result in a quick troop withdrawal from Iraq or a sudden change in U.S. policy. The first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, also congratulated Obama, who is the first African-American president-elect of the United States. Mr. Mandela urged Mr. Obama to combat the "scourge of poverty and disease everywhere." United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is looking forward to forming a partnership with the new U.S. presidential administration.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged Mr. Obama to "join forces with Europe" to resolve the current global financial crisis. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he hoped the election of a black U.S. president will go a long way toward ushering in an era where ethnicity and race do not divide people politically. And Pakistan's embassy in Washington says President Asif Ali Zardari expressed hope that Pakistan-U.S. relations will be enhanced under the new leadership.Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said he will work with President-elect Obama to strengthen the alliance between their two countries. He said the Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
For many people outside the United States, Barack Obama represents an ideological shift from U.S. President Bush, who has brought outrage because of the Iraq war and human rights issues.