World welcomes President Obama

British PM Gordon Brown said Obama\’s coming to power marked a “new chapter in both American history and the world\’s history”.


“The whole world is watching the inauguration of President Obama, witnessing a new chapter in both American history and the world\’s history,” he said.

“He\’s not only the first black American president but he sets out with the determination to solve the world\’s problems,” he added.

New Zealand PM John Key has written to the new President to congratulate him on his new job.

In his letter, Key said Obama\’s leadership would be “crucial” in addressing the challenges the world faced.

Kenyan villagers celebrate

“Our common democratic values and traditions, and long history of co-operating closely to promote international security and prosperity, point to our shared interests across a wide range of issues,” Key said.

President Obama could count on New Zealand to be a good friend and partner, he wrote.

Meanwhile, in Obama\’s late father\’s Kenyan home, Kogelo, villagers were enraptured by television images of his swearing-in ceremony.

“Now we are sure that he really did win and is the President of the United States. Before this moment, it was hard to even imagine,” said Julius Omondi, 21.

Watching the inauguration on a giant screen surrounded by a message reading “Congratulations, our son, our hope,” Josephine Awuor, 30, said Obama\’s accession to the world\’s most powerful office had changed her life.

“I want to pray for a long and productive life for Obama as president. We the people of Kogelo, our minds and our eyes are now open because now we don\’t feel so small, we don\’t feel of so small value anymore,” she said.

Germans, Americans party in Berlin

In Berlin, thousands of Germans and Americans turned out for a party thrown by Democrats Abroad in the city where Obama held the biggest rally of his campaign – before a rapturous crowd of 200,000 – in July last year.

“America was always the example we looked up to and I believe it can become that again,” said Dorothea Kleffel, 46, an executive assistant.

“Under Bush all that faith we had in America was trampled on and betrayed but I feel hopeful again tonight. I have my fingers crossed for Obama!”

US troops in Iraq wept tears of joy as Obama was sworn in.

“I am very proud to see the change in America,” said Sergeant Carla Bruce who has been stationed in the country for the last 15 months.

“To see an African-American rise to such high level. I hope he will work on the economy and get our budget back in order. I also hope that he will get the troops out smartly.”

US troops weep with joy

Her husband, Sergeant Shawn Bruce, also wiped away tears of pride as he watched Obama\’s televised inaugural speech, in which he reiterated a promise to withdraw from Iraq.

“I dedicated all my life to this country which I adore, and now I am so happy to see an African American as the president of the United States,” he said.

“With his election, the ceiling for accomplishment has changed and I am very proud to see my children growing up in this great country.”

Meanwhile, in Basra, dozens of Iraqis from the Movement of Free Iraqis, the country\’s only association of black people, handed out cakes and sweets in celebration.

“The blacks in Iraq are so happy they are overflowing with joy and tears as they watch this great victory of President Obama for freedom and democracy,” said the movement\’s secretary general, Jalal Dhiab.

“The choice of the Americans of Obama is not only a victory for blacks, but whites and all other races,” he said.