Thursday, November 06, 2008

Malaysia hails Obama win as a boon for peace

Source: AFP (Agence France-Presse - 11/5/2008 9:20 AM GMT)

Malaysia hails Obama win as a boon for peace

Malaysia said Wednesday that Barack Obama's victory could mean less use of American force in solving world conflicts, and more respect for smaller nations.

"Malaysia... hopes Obama's government will be more sensitive to the sovereignty of smaller nations and will not use force in resolving global conflicts," Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.

"Obama's victory is seen as bringing change and hope to the world," he added.

"Malaysia welcomes him as the new light in the struggle for democracy. As America's first black president his victory has shown that Americans can accept a leader regardless of colour, religion or beliefs."

Rais said that Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, hoped the new administration would also pay greater attention to developing countries as well as to humanitarian and developmental issues.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy premier who was strongly backed by the United States after being sacked and jailed in 1998, said Obama would boost prospects for engagement between the US and Muslim countries.

"Some of the most contentious issues of our time, including the ongoing conflicts and confrontations in the Middle East, require a commitment to diplomacy, a willingness to engage in a meaningful dialogue and a departure from the aggressive unilateralism witnessed in recent years," he said.

"In this we anticipate that president-elect Obama will show leadership where previous administrations have failed."

Malaysia has been a long-term critic of the US intervention in Iraq, with former premier Mahathir Mohamad branding incumbent US President George Bush a "war criminal".

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