Finland’s Maarti Ahtisaari has been rewarded for 30 years of international peace-making with the most prestigious award possible – the 2008 Nobel peace Prize.
The former Finnish president said he was thrilled, and he had something very worthwhile to spend the one million euro prize money on.
“We are in a process of starting a foundation which will be established very soon, with my name, and the idea is that when I finally retire, which is not yet on the cards, my colleagues will continue the work we started together. I became 70 years old last year and my friends have realised that I am quickly growing old, so they have begun hurrying.”
Ahtisaari revealed that he had been called 25 minutes before the televised announcement and told he had won it, but also told to keep the news a secret. He said it was a very difficult 25 minutes.
While he is remembered most recently for his efforts to reconcile Kosovo’s independence ambitions with Serbia’s insistence on maintaining territorial integrity, he says he is most proud of his role in Namibia’s road to independence, and the bringing of peace between the Free Aceh rebels and the Indonesian government.
He has offered himself as a consultant to the ongoing wrangling over Kosovo’s status, but he also affirmed, quite publically, that as far as he is concerned Kosovo is already independent.