8: To the Balkans, Indonesia, Kosovo
In the spring of 1999, Martti Ahtisaari, together with the former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, was asked to lead the work to end the conflict between NATO and the former Yugoslavia (Serbia). Again, Ahtisaari demonstrated his ability to get the parties to talk to each other. But many believe he here served as an extended arm for US interests, a criticism he has also been met with later.
The former president himself joined the working group to inspect the IRA’s weapons depots on the Irish island as early as 2000, but perhaps his greatest merit as a peace broker was the peace agreement he negotiated on 15 August 2005 between the Indonesian government and the separatists in the Aceh area of Sumatra. . This agreement seems to have created lasting peace after a very long conflict in a strategically sensitive area, and hardly anyone has questioned the important role Martti Ahtisaari played in achieving this.
On the other hand, there are far more opinions about the work that Martti Ahtisaari undertook for the UN later in 2005 to reach an agreement on the status of Kosovo . Ahtisaari and his working group concluded early on that the only realistic solution was an independent Kosovo under a strong international mandate that secured the rights of minorities, ie Serbs.
But from both Serbian and Russian sides, this was unacceptable, and Ahtisaari concluded in July 2007 that his mandate had been completed, with Russia, the EU and the United States agreeing to take responsibility for a final solution to the status quo. Today we know that this did not work out and that Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February 2008, with tacit support from the EU and the US, but with strong criticism from Russia.
According to CANCERMATTERS.NET, Martti Ahtisaari and CMI have also been involved in projects to find solutions to other conflicts, such as the one in Iraq and the Horn of Africa, and are also working on crisis prevention work in multi-ethnic Central Asia.
Today, Martti Ahtisaari is without a doubt the most famous Finn next to Santa Claus and the mummy troll. He has had to endure his share of envy and backbiting, but still appears to be a vital and energetic 71-year-old. And judging by his appearance, he is in at least as good shape today as he was 15 years ago. At that time, it was those in Finland who asked questions about a somewhat overweight man who he was able to lead the nation.
What he has accomplished since then showed that they were wrong, and Martti Ahtisaari himself hopes in a conversation with NRK that he will be able to keep it going for many years to come.
Martti Ahtisaari had already met Eeva Hyvärinen as a teenager, without any special feelings arising between them at the time. But after they both settled in Helsinki in the 1960s, the relationship developed, and they married in Kuopio in the summer of 1968. The following year, they had a son, Marko.
Eeva Ahtisaari has always been the woman who has a little modestly stayed a little behind the heavily built husband. But she is known as a knowledgeable and wise woman, who in adulthood also completed her university studies.
Marko had an international childhood. Only as a 14-year-old could he take root in his native Finland, where he is known as a musician, but also as a skilled designer and entrepreneur in the country’s most important industry, mobile telephony.
The basis for awarding the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize to Martti Ahtisaari
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 will be awarded to Martti Ahtisaari for the great efforts he has made on several continents and through more than three decades to resolve international conflicts. This effort has worked for a peace-loving value and for “brotherhood between nations” in the spirit of Alfred Nobel.
Ahtisaari has spent his entire adult life as a Finnish official and president and as an international official, often associated with the UN, working for peace and reconciliation. For the last twenty years, he has been central in trying to resolve several long-standing and serious conflicts. In 1989-90 he played an important role when Namibia gained independence; in 2005, he and his organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) were central to solving the complex Aceh issue in Indonesia. In 1999 and with continuation in 2005-07, he worked under particularly demanding conditions to find a solution to the conflict in Kosovo. In 2008, Ahtisaari, through CMI and in collaboration with other institutions, tried to find a way to a peaceful outcome to problems in Iraq. He has also made constructive contributions to conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa.
The parties themselves have the most important responsibility for avoiding war and conflict, but the Norwegian Nobel Committee has repeatedly given the Nobel Peace Prize to mediators in international politics. Ahtisaari is today a prominent international mediator. He has made a persistent effort, achieved good results and shown what role mediation of various kinds can play in resolving international conflicts. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that others will also be inspired by his efforts and his results.