Friday, 10 Oct, 2008 Current Events
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Who won Nobel Peace Prize 2008?

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Former Finnish president won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his attempts to maintain peace from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Middle East. Announcing the winner, the Nobel Committee pointed out Martti Ahtisaari's transcendent merits in resolving international conflicts as well as his important activity on several continents. His peacekeeping actions promoted friendship among different nations.

The Nobel Committee renewed its interest in traditional peace work after selecting Al Gore and Intergovernmental Panel on climate change last year. The committee consisting of five members said that Ahtisaari's efforts to keep peace all over the world proved to be quite effective and showed that mediation of various types played a prominent part in trouble-shooting. Ahtisaari contributed to the resolution of conflicts in Namibia, Aceh, Indonesia, Kosovo and Iraq.

The ex-president was on the panel of Nobel Peace Prize candidates since 2005 after his successful negotiations between the government of Indonesia and the leaders of the separatist guerrilla movement in Aceh. He also managed to defuse conflicts in Northern Ireland, Central Asia and on the Horn of Africa. Ahtisaari, being the first Finn to win the Nobel Peace Prize, considers his work in Namibia to be of major importance as the resolution of conflicts there lasted for a long time.

He became the U.N. diplomatic representative in Namibia in 1977 when guerrillas were struggling against South African apartheid rule. Later he became undersecretary-general and in 1988 was sent to Namibia together with 8,000 U.N. peacekeepers. Their successful operation brought independence to the country in 1990.

In 1994 Ahtisaari ran for the presidency leading Finland's Social Democratic Party and won the elections. Since 2000 he too part in different peace missions. In 2007 Ahtisaari's office organized secret meetings between Iraqi Sunni and Shiite groups to mediate peace. In 2005 Ahtisaari put an end to the conflict between Aceh rebels and Indonesian government in the course of peace negotiations in Finland which he mediated with Crisis Management Initiative.

After seven months of negotiations a peace agreement was signed in Helsinki. In his interview to NRK Norwegian TV, Ahtisaari said he "was very pleased and grateful" for the prize. Ahtisaari expressed his hope for attracting more financial support for his peace activity. As he said, financing would help his organizations to act properly.

Source: Yahoo news
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Posted by sharaeff

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