Martti Ahtisaari wins Nobel Peace Prize
Lengthy struggle for peace struggle lands the prize.
Oslo -- Former Finnish President and veteran peace broker Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday in Oslo.
Ahtisaari, 71, was cited "for his important efforts on several continents and for more than three decades to resolve international conflicts," the committee said.
Minutes after the prize was announced, Ahtisaari said he regarded Namibia as the most important achievement in his long career, referring to his work as a United Nations envoy that helped the southern African nation win independence in 1990.
"It took such a long time," Ahtisaari told Norwegian broadcaster NRK just after the announcement.
Ahtisaari worked on the Namibia issue from 1977 until 1990, a "very long period," he said. The former German colony, previously known as South West Africa, gained independence from South Africa in March 1990.
Ahtisaari also said he regarded his efforts to forge a peace deal between the government of Indonesia and separatists in the province of Aceh in 2005, as well as recent attempts to resolve the status of Kosovo as "very important."
Ahtisaari said the 10 million kronor (1.5 million euros) cash prize will offer many opportunities, and provide funding for his organization, The Crisis Management Institute, that has been engaged in various mediation efforts.
Nobel Committee Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjos called Ahtisaari an "outstanding international mediator," noting he had shown "what role mediation of various kinds can play in the resolution of international conflicts."
In 2007, the peace prize was shared by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and environmental activist and former US Vice President Al Gore for their work on halting climate change.
The five-member Nobel Committee had received 197 nominations for this year’s coveted award among them 33 organizations.