Former mediator of Kosovo-Serbia talks and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari, dies


Prishtina/Helsinki, 16 October 2023, – The former UN appointee for talks between Kosovo and Serbia on the status of the first, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, died today at age 86, the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) Foundation, which he formed in 2000, announced.

“Martti Ahtisaari, President, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the CMI, has died on the 16th of October 2023. Martti Ahtisaari was 86 years old,” the CMI announced.

Ahtisaari was appointed Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 to conduct talks on the status of Kosovo, six years after the end the two-year (1998-1999) Kosovo war.

His negotiations between the two sides continued until 2007 without a compromise between Belgrade and Prishtina, after what he submitted his plan for Kosovo’s future to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and which then was followed with Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia in February 2008.

The Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement (CSP) of Ahtissari is considered by many as the basics of Kosovo’s Constitution, as many of its elements were incorporated in the text of the country which is still not being recognized by Serbia, including two permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China.

“Today, the people of Kosovo mourn the passing of former President Martti Ahtisaari. He stood shoulder to shoulder with us as we penned our story as a sovereign, democratic, and independent state. His visionary legacy will forever live in the memory of the people of Kosovo,” Kosovan President Vjosa Osmani wrote through X/Twitter.

“Saddened by the passing of Martti Ahtisaari, a distinguished diplomat and a champion of peace who has contributed greatly to security and peace in our region & whose work enshrined robust minority rights in our constitution. My condolences to his family & the people of Finland,” the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, wrote on his part.

Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his lifetime achievements.

In 1987, the UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuellar appointed him Under-Secretary-General in charge of administrative and economic affairs at the UN while continuing his work on Namibia. Thanks to his and the UN’s determined efforts, Namibia gained independence in 1990,” the CMI recalled in the release.

“Ahtisaari had extraordinary powers of personal resilience. He saw opportunities in situations that seemed to be completely unyielding. The Aceh and Kosovo negotiations are examples of this. In 2005, he led the peace talks between the separatists in Aceh province and the Indonesian government, brokered by CMI. After seven months of negotiations, a peace agreement ending a nearly 30-year conflict was signed in Helsinki in August 2005,” it added over his role as peace negotiator.

Ahtissari is survived by his wife, Eeva Hyvärinen, and son Marko.

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