DUBLIN — A U.S. presidential poll victory for Barack Obama would be "phenomenal," former United Nations chief Kofi Annan said Thursday, adding that whoever wins needs to learn the lessons of the last eight years.
Speaking at a conference on hunger in Ireland, he underlined the need for the United States to work in partnership with the rest of the world.
When asked whether the United States and the world are ready for a black U.S. president, he said: "I think it would be a phenomenal change for the U.S. and for the world.
"It would introduce a new dynamic and a new relationship between the U.S. and the world. Whoever wins this presidency will have to come out prepared to work in partnership with the rest of the world," he told reporters.
And he added: "I think we have learned some lessons in the past eight years and I hope whoever wins will bear that in mind."
Annan, who was succeeded by South Korea's Ban Ki-moon last year, had sometimes strained relations with the U.S. administration under President George W. Bush, notably over the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Democratic hopeful Obama is leading opinion polls against Republican John McCain in the race for the U.S. presidency, less than three weeks ahead of Nov. 4 polls.
"We live in an inter-related world, we live in the same boat and we are facing problems that are so enormous that no one country, however powerful, can tackle them alone," said Annan.
"The only way we can be secure, safe and prosper together is by working together," he said during a Dublin conference to mark World Food Day.
© 2008 Agence France Presse