Finnish ex-president wins Nobel Peace Prize
Martti Ahtisaari, Finnish ex-president and veteran peace broker, has been awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced in Oslo on Friday.
Ahtisaari, 71, was cited "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts," the committee said, reported dpa.
Minutes after the prize was announced, Ahtisaari said he regarded "Namibia as the most important achievement" in his long career, referring to his work as a United Nations envoy that helped the southern African nation win independence in 1990.
"It took such a long time," Ahtisaari told Norwegian broadcaster NRK minutes after the award announcement.
Ahtisaari worked on the Namibia issue 1977 until 1990, a "very long period," he said. The one-time German colony, previously known as South West Africa gained independence from South Africa in March 1990.
But he said his efforts to forge a peace deal in 2005 between the government of Indonesia and separatists in the province of Aceh, as well as recent attempts to solve the status of Kosovo were also "very important."
Ahtisaari said the 10 million kronor (1.5 million) cash prize will offer "many opportunities," and provide funding for his organization Crisis Management Institute that has been engaged in various mediation efforts.
Nobel Committee Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjos said Ahtisaari has been an "outstanding international mediator," noting he had shown "what role mediation of various kinds can play in the resolution of international conflicts."
In 2007, the peace prize was shared by the United Nations climate body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore of the United States for their work on climate change.
For this year's award, the five-member Nobel Committee had received 197 nominations for the coveted award including 33 organizations.