World leaders are
welcoming Barack Obama as the new president of the United States, while
reminding him of the many international challenges he must face.
In a congratulatory message, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak
urged Mr. Obama to make the crisis in the Middle East an "urgent priority." Mr.
Mubarak has been involved in efforts to negotiate a truce between Israel and
Hamas militants in Gaza.
And Iran's Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki said Mr. Obama should change U.S. policy in the Middle East
to improve America's image in the region.
Minister Taro Aso said he is ready to work closely with Mr. Obama, particularly
on efforts to confront the global economic crisis.
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed
Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed confidence that Mr. Obama will help the United
States lead the way in overcoming the challenges that confront
Lawmakers in Britain erupted
in cheers Wednesday when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown congratulated Mr.
Obama during his weekly parliamentary address. Mr. Brown added that his nation,
already a staunch ally, will strengthen its relationship with the United States.
African leader Nelson Mandela wrote a letter to the new president, saying his
inauguration inspired the same sense of hope the world felt when South Africa
A Constitutional Court
Justice in South Africa, Albie Sachs, told the national broadcaster that Mr.
Obama's inauguration reminded him of Mr. Mandela's inauguration.
In Kenya, people danced and sang in the village of Kogelo,
where Mr. Obama's father was born. Many also watched the new U.S. president's
swearing-in on a giant television screen in the country's capital,
Mr. Obama also received
congratulations from European and Latin American leaders, as well as from the
pope and the Dalai Lama.
At the Vatican, Pope Benedict
XVI said in a message that he is praying for God to grant Mr. Obama "unfailing
wisdom and strength."
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama also
offered prayers and deep congratulations for Mr. Obama's success.
China's Ministry of Defense called on Mr. Obama to improve
military relations and halt weapons sales to Taiwan.
A BBC poll of more than 17,000 people in 17 countries indicates
that people throughout the world are optimistic about Mr. Obama's presidency.
Two out of three people surveyed 67 percent said they believe Mr. Obama will
strengthen U.S. relations abroad.