World leaders react to Obama's victory

Friday, November 7, 2008

In the wake of Barack Obama being elected the next President of the United States, many world leaders have contacted the president-elect directly. Others have issued statements.

The President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, sent a message in a telegram which read: “I hope for a constructive dialogue with you, based on trust and consideration of each other's interests.”

Obama became a US senator in 2005

United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown reportedly phoned Obama. The two talked about “global and bilateral issues,” according to a Downing Street statement.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, spoke with Obama for 30 minutes. Sarkozy's office said the conversation was “extremely warm” and that the two agree to meet in the “quite near future.”

Canada's Stephen Harper also spoke with Obama, according to official reports. Harper's office said they spoke of the upcoming international financial summit on November 15, though Obama will not be attending. An email to the press from Harper's office said: “In a warm exchange, the two leaders emphasized that there could be no closer friends and allies and vowed to maintain and further build upon this strong relationship.”

Mexico's President Felipe Calderón spoke with Obama about the War on Drugs. According to a statement by Calderón's office, Obama said he was “conscious of the difficulty of the battle” and promised “decisive” support from the United States.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, also spoke with Obama via telephone. Speaking at Kirribilli House, Rudd said: “The president-elect and I spoke about the strength of the Australia-United States relationship, and our commitment to take that relationship to even greater strengths into the future.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement. “The great Iranian nation welcomes real, fundamental and fair changes in America's behaviour and policies, particularly in the Middle East region,” it read.

Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela, said in a statement: “The historical election of an Afro-American to lead the most powerful country in the world is a sign that the changing times which originated in South America could be knocking the doors of United States.”

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister, congratulated Obama, describing him as “young, handsome and tanned” (translated). The statement prompted reactions from the opposition and from the international press as it was perceived as a racist remark. Berlusconi replied to criticism restating that his words were meant as a “compliment.”