Ahtisaari Nobel prize 'richly deserved' - Martin


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, has today welcomed the award of the Nobel peace prize to former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari for his peace mediation work.

Mr Martin said: "I am delighted by the news that [former] President Ahtisaari has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It is the richly-deserved culmination of a career devoted to the prevention and resolution of conflict.

The Minister continued: “We in Ireland have particular reason to be grateful for his role, with Cyril Ramaphosa, in verifying the early stages of the IRA putting arms beyond use.

“As he [Mr Ahtisaari] reminded us when he most recently visited Dublin earlier this year, Ireland and Finland are united by a similar approach to questions of international peace and security, with a commitment to the United Nations at the core.”

“In recent times, his brokering of peace in Aceh and his recommendations for the creation of an independent and multi-ethnic Kosovo have been particularly significant and influential,” he added.

Fine Gael foreign affairs spokesman Billy Timmins TD also extended congratulations to Mr Ahtisaari. Mr Timmins said the Nobel prize recipient was a "true international statesman" and worthy winner.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams also added his congratulations. He said the diplomat had played a "positive and constructive role" in the Irish peace process along with Mr Ramaphosa.

In its citation, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Mr Ahtisaari was being recognised "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts".

"These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to ‘fraternity between nations’ in Alfred Nobel’s spirit,” the committee said in announcing the €1 million prize.

“For the past 20 years, he has figured prominently in endeavours to resolve several serious and long-lasting conflicts,” the citation said, mentioning his work in conflicts from Namibia and Aceh to Kosovo and Iraq.

“He has also made constructive contributions to the resolution of conflicts in Northern Ireland, in Central Asia, and on the Horn of Africa,” the citation added.

Mr Ahtisaari (71), who was selected out of a field of 197 candidates, said he “was very pleased and grateful”.

Additional reporting: Agencies