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 6 Nov 2008

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Asean leaders voice hopes over Obama

Leaders of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) expressed hope for closer ties with the United States, some saying America will play a positive international role after Barack Obama's historic election triumph on Wednesday, reported agencies.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said he hoped US foreign policy would change tack under Obama.

"Malaysia... hopes Obama's government will be more sensitive to the sovereignty of smaller nations and will not use force in resolving global conflicts," Rais said in a statement. "Obama's victory is seen as a bringing change and hope to the world," he added.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he hoped the leadership change would boost the fight against the global economic crisis.

"This is a very historical election for the United States in many ways. It is also a great importance to the world. Indonesia hopes that President-elect Barack Obama will lead the US as a force of peace, for progress, for spreading good and for reforming the international system," he said.

Born in Hawaii, Obama spent four years in Indonesia after his mother, from Kansas, divorced from his Kenyan father and married an Indonesian.

Obama went to an Indonesian Catholic kindergarten in South Jakarta and a public school in the elite area of Menteng in Central Jakarta.

In the Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday congratulated Sen Barack Obama on his election to become the 44th president of the United States.

"With the next administration of the US," she said, "bilateral relations with the Philippines and the U.S. covering various aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life, will remain strong and stable as ever. We look forward to working closely with Obama in strengthening regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, as well as in the US," she said in a statement.































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