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Martti Ahtisaari: “Independence is the only option for enabling economic and political stability”

As a result of his work as a negotiator in armed conflicts Ahtisaari is a renowned veteran peacemaker.  His many achievements include resolving the conflict in Namibia, a 13 year-long process, Kosovo independence and important work in the disarmament of the IRA terrorist group.

Martti Ahtisaari

Edith Tacusi-Oblitas Hermoza

Born in a country with no military power and no socio-economic conflicts, Martti Ahtisaari is a renowned successful negotiator for peace processes.  He was born 56 years ago in Vyborg, which today forms part of Russia. In Finland, his native country, he qualified as a Primary school teacher and then later moved to Pakistan to continue working in education.

He left his career as a teacher and in 1965 began work for the Department for International Co-operation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.  In the 80’s the UN Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, named him as an inspector for Namibia, an African country working towards independence.

His diplomatic work in this African country lead to him also being called upon to assist in the Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict.

Thanks to his diplomatic skills, working as an ambassador in African countries, as the president of Finland (1994-2000) and as a negotiator in Namibia, Indonesia and Kosovo, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

During an event organised by the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) the creator of the peace plan for Kosovo spoke of how seeing Kosovo as an independent country makes him feel particularly proud “Independence is the only option for enabling economic and political stability,” states Ahtisaari.

This statement is well-founded as, together with South African Cyril Ramaphosa, he also participated in the fight for peace in Ireland and carried out a report on the arms and explosives of the Irish Republican army (IRA).  This inspection aided in the disarmament of the Irish terrorists.

However, the author of the phrase “All conflicts can be solved,” is accused by some of being responsible for the conflicts in Georgia.

Pragmatic like all mediators but also charismatic, Martti Ahtisaari is clear in his choice of words.  “As mediators we do not make peace, we only provide the steps towards peace.”

The Nobel Peace prize winner is currently chairman of the non-governmental organisation Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and is also co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey and works with other non-profit organisations.

(Translated by Rebecca Hayhurst – Email:

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