Cairo, Feb 12 (PTI) Hailing the toppling of EgyptianPresident Hosni Mubarak as a "victory of peoples'' power",leaders across the world today said the mass movement shouldpave the way for democracy in a country which had suffereddecades of despotic rule.
"There are very few moments in our lives where we havethe privilege of witnessing history taking place. This is oneof those moments," US President Barack Obama said in hisremarks.
Obama led the world leaders in welcoming theviolence-free revolution and said the Egyptian events were"irreversible" and asked the military to ensure transition totrue democracy at the earliest.
"The people of Egypt have spoken," US President said,adding they would settle for nothing less than "genuinedemocracy".
UN Chief Ban Ki-moon praised Mubarak for bowing to thewill of the people and taking a decision in the interest ofEgyptian people.
Egypt''s neighbour Israel had no official response tothe momentous development but unnamed officials were quoted bylocal press as expressing cautious optimism saying, "We hopethat the peace accord will remain."
Israel''s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahulast week warned of an Iranian-style Islamist revolution inEgypt should Mubarak''s rivals, the Muslim Brotherhood,eventually succeed in taking over the reigns.
France, President Nicolas Sarkozy said, salutedMubarak''s "courageous and necessary decision" to step down andhoped Egyptian people will continue their March to liberty.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Mubarak''sdeparture as historic change and said she hoped the nextEgyptian government would continue to keep peace in the MiddleEast and respect agreement with Israel.
Welcoming the change, British Prime Minister saidthose who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes ofthe people.
Russian Foreign Minister Minister Sergei Lavrov saidthe shift of power should restore stability in the nation.
Spain also joined in calls for speedy electoral reforms.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called forholding early free and fair elections and respecting humanrights of all including minorities.
South African President Jacob Zuma lauded Mubarak forputting interest of Egyptians above his own.
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister JuliaGillard said, "Australia calls for constitutional reform and aclear timetable towards free and fair elections and arepresentative civilian government that ordinary Egyptianshave been calling for." PTI ZH AKD