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Former Finnish Pres. Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Posted October. 11, 2008 00:41,   


Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari is the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said yesterday.

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Martti Ahtisaari for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts,” the committee said.

“These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to ‘fraternity between nations’ in Alfred Nobel’s spirit.”

Speaking to NRK Norwegian TV, Ahtisaari said, “I am very pleased and grateful at receiving the prize.”

Ahtisaari served as Finnish president from 1994 to 2000 as his country’s first head of state to be elected by popular vote. He was also a United Nations special envoy to Kosovo in 2005, seeking a peaceful solution to end the conflict. He also played a pivotal role in the resolution of the Aceh question in Indonesia and Namibia’s independence.

Beginning his political career as a diplomat, he was Finnish ambassador to Tanzania from 1973 through 1977 and later worked for the United Nations, where he played a significant role in providing support to developing nations and resolving international conflicts.

Known as an outstanding international mediator, Ahtisaari hosted the U.S.-Russian Summit in Helsinki, and made his country join the European Union.

Ahtisaari has contributed to the resolution of conflicts in Northern Ireland, Central Asia and the “Horn of Africa,” as well as finding a peaceful conclusion to problems in Iraq this year.