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Home>>World >> Europe
10:14, October 11, 2008

Former Finnish president wins Nobel Peace Prize

Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee Ole Danbolt Mjoes announces the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martti Ahtisaari at a news conference in Oslo October 10, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari won the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Friday amid controversy.

Ahtisaari has been awarded the prize "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts," said the Norwegian Nobel Committee in its citation.

Ahtisaari used to be the U.N. Special Envoy for the Kosovo status process. He suggested Kosovo should be "independent under international supervision".

Kosovo unilaterally announced its independence from Serbia in February despite firm opposition from Serbia and Russia.

Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari (R) listens as Finland's current President Tarja Halonen speaks during a news conferenct at the presidential palace in Helsinki October 10, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Former Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said the rewarding of the peace prize to Ahtisaari was a "political" decision, and a step inflicting more pressure on Serbia.

Leonid Slutsky, deputy head of Russia's parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, has described Ahtisaari's peace plan for Kosovoas the opening of the "Pandora's box," which has broken "the peaceful order."

Meanwhile, Russian state television said the choice of Ahtisaari for the prize was "political."

Ahtisaari, born in 1937, served as Finland's president from 1994 to 2000.

Ahtisaari used to serve as the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative for the former Yugoslavia as well as U.N. Undersecretary-General for administration and management.

He was also named the U.N. special envoy for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa after stepping down as the Finnish president.

In 2005, he mediated peace between the government of Indonesia and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels, bringing an end to a three-decade conflict. He was officially appointed as the special U.N. envoy to Kosovo in the same year.

Source: Xinhua

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