Veteran diplomat Martti Ahtisaari has received what many consider to be the world’s highest accolade. And, as he picked up his Nobel Peace Prize, the former Finnish president had a message for Barack Obama: once in the White House, waste no time in trying to achieve peace in the Middle East. “I do hope that the new President of the United States…. will give high priority to the Middle East conflict during his first year in office,” Ahtisaari told a ceremony in Oslo. “The European Union, Russian Federation and the UN must also be seriously committed so that a solution can be found to the crisis stretching from Israel and Palestine to Iraq and Iran. If we want to achieve lasting results, we must look at the whole region.”Ahtisaari has been honoured for more than three decades of peace mediating in hotspots from the Balkans to Indonesia. He picked up his award, and nearly a million euros, in the Norwegian capital while Stockholm has been hosting ceremonies today for other Nobel laureates.