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Obama's inauguration a great moment, says Australian PM

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 10:45 IST

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday described Barack Obama's inauguration as a great moment for the world, saying a new age and a new optimism is about to dawn across the Pacific.

"This is a great moment, not just for the people of the America, but for all people around the world that believe in democracy, who believe in freedom and who believe in progress," Rudd said.

Congratulating Obama on taking over as US president, he said that Obama's election during a turbulent economic spell shows Americans rise to their best during tough times.

"They have set Barack Obama the mighty task of rebuilding the American economy and leading the recovery of the international economy: a great task for a man I believe to be a great man," Rudd was quoted by media reports as saying.

"I believe from everything I have seen, read and heard and from the conversations that I have had with him that the American people have chosen well," he said.

Rudd said Australia will work side-by-side with Obama to overcome the global financial crisis.

"These are dark times but a new age and a new optimism - tempered by the magnitude of the challenges ahead - is about to dawn across the Pacific," he said.

"Barack Obama truly is the hope of our time and I say this to the new President of the United States and through him to the new people, that Australia as always stands ready to work with America in the great challenges that lie ahead," an ABC report quoted him as saying.

Rudd has also written a letter of congratulations to Obama stating that the two sides shared great challenges.