World leaders including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday saluted Barack Obama on his "historic and extraordinary" US Presidential victory saying it is a boon for peace and voiced hope America will play a positive international role.
As Kings, Presidents and Prime Ministers congratulated Obama for the dawn of a "new era", Obama's win was also utilised by leaders of strife-torn countries--Iraq and Afghanistan-- which was high on his campaign agenda to express the hope for an end to hostilities in the region. Obama has opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and vowed to go after al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Leaders in the Mideast, another flashpoint, hoped the president-elect will stay the course and would continue the US engagement in the peace process without delay.
Observing that Obama's "extraordinary journey" to the White House will inspire people not only in your country but also around the world, Manmohan Singh in a congratulatory message said he looked forward to working with him to realise the "enormous" potential for bilateral cooperation.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Obama's election as first black president heralded a "new era" for the US and the rest of the world. At the same time, Karzai made his first demand for the president-elect saying the killings of Afghana civilians at the hands of US and other foreign troops in the country must stop.
Acknowledging that Obama's perspective on the war in Iraq differed greatly from the current US President George W Bush, Iraq said "Obama will not have the same enthusiasm and momentum for this situation" in Iraq as Bush.
Pakistan's premier Yousuf Raza Gilani hoped the US' first Afro-American president would promote "peace and stability" in the troubled region around Afghanistan.
Several Asian leaders also spoke of their desire for closer ties with the US.
China's President Hu Jintao said he hoped bilateral ties could reach new highs while Japanese premier Taro Aso pledged to work with Obama to strengthen relations.
In Iran, where the US is demonised as the "Great Satan", prominent MP Hamid Reza Haji Babai said Obama's victory was an "opportunity and test" and that the Islamic country has been waiting for a change. The election of Obama is positive, he said.
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said he hoped US foreign policy would change tack under Obama. Yatim said Obama"s victory could mean less use of American force in solving world conflicts and more respect for smaller nations.
US' all-weather ally Israel said bilateral ties would strengthen under Obama's presidency. "Israel-US relations are a special relationship based on values and common interest, we have no doubt that the special ties between the two states will continue and strengthen under Obama's presidency," outgoing Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said in a statement.
Mynamar's pro-democracy party headed by Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed Obama's triumph but said time would tell if he could help open up the military-run country.
Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki in his congratulatory message to Obama said "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."
Pakistan president Asif Ali) Zardari expressed the hope that Pakistan-US relations will be enhanced under the new American leadership that received a "popular mandate" in the poll.
Gordon Brown, prime minister of US' close ally Britain, lauded Obama for his "inspirational campaign" that has energised politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future.
Observing that the world was in turmoil and doubt, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Obama's election has raised "enormous hope" in France, in Europe and beyond at a time when the world must face huge challenges together.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said "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."
In Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd praised the president-elect for turning Martin Luther King"s dreams into a reality, and said the world looked to America for leadership.
A Vatican spokesman expressed the hope that Obama would be able to meet the huge "expectations" put in him after winning the presidential elections.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Obama that the world faced significant challenges at the start of his term.
"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," she said.
Canadian premier Stephen Harper spoke of the "special bond" that exists between Canada and the United States and that he was looking forward to strengthen it.