Kosovo Mediator Wins Nobel

Former Finnish president has supervised peace talks for decades
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2008 4:44 AM CDT
Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland and a longtime mediator in international conflicts, has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.   (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu, FILE)
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(Newser) – This year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland who mediated peace talks in Indonesia and Kosovo. Ahtisaari has also mediated conflicts in Namibia, Northern Ireland, and Iraq, often working on behalf of the United Nations. In its citation the Norwegian committee praised his "important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts."

In 2005 Ahtisaari was appointed UN special envoy to Kosovo, where he recommended independence for the breakaway Serbian province. That year he also supervised the talks between the Indonesian government and rebels in tsunami-battered Aceh, which ended with a peace agreement. Ahtisaari, who has figured among likely Nobel laureates for years, told a Norwegian radio station he was "very pleased and grateful" to receive the $1.4 million prize.