Ahtisaari, Martti


Ahtisaari, Martti
▪ 2000

      On June 2, 1999, the president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, and Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin met with Pres. Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade and presented him with an offer he could not refuse: accept an agreement to end the conflict in Kosovo between Serbian troops and the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, or face continued NATO bombing. The next day Milosevic agreed to the conditions of the accord, which included a joint NATO-Russian peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

      The diplomatic skill of Ahtisaari, a veteran mediator who as senior UN envoy during the 1992–93 Bosnia and Herzegovina peace talks had become experienced in dealing with Milosevic, was crucial to the negotiation of a peace accord. During a 10-hour meeting in May at Finland's presidential palace, Chernomyrdin and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott had attempted to recruit Ahtisaari for the peace mission to Belgrade. Ahtisaari did not agree to participate until Russia and NATO decided on a definite plan to present to Milosevic. In Belgrade, Ahtisaari's calm insistence that the plan was a one-time-only, nonnegotiable offer forced Milosevic finally to capitulate.

      As a longtime UN negotiator and president of a small neutral European country, Ahtisaari had rare experience in reconciling differences. He was born on June 23, 1937, in Viipuri, Fin. (now Vyborg, Russia). He graduated from the University of Oulu, Fin., in 1959 and in the early 1960s worked in Pakistan on an educational project for the Swedish Agency for International Development. Returning to Finland, he joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1965 and was appointed ambassador to Tanzania in 1973, a post he held until 1976. He faced the first major test of his diplomatic skills in 1977–81 as UN commissioner for Namibia, where conflict between SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization), the Namibian independence movement, and South African colonial forces had erupted into a protracted war. Ahtisaari continued to represent the UN in Namibia during the 1980s while serving in Finnish Foreign Ministry posts, and he led the UN team that supervised Namibia's transition to independence in 1989–90.

      His vision of Finland as an important player in international affairs was a large selling point in his only campaign for elective office, his successful run for the presidency in 1994. He urged his nation's entry into the European Union (EU), and for the last half of 1999, Finland assumed the EU's rotating presidency. Although he also supported NATO and favoured further expansion of the EU, a majority in Finland's Parliament preferred a more cautious policy, and Ahtisaari's own party, the Social Democrats, abandoned him, nominating his foreign minister, Tarja Halonen, as its presidential candidate in the 2000 elections.

John Litweiler

* * *

▪ president of Finland
born June 23, 1937, Viipuri, Fin. [now Vyborg, Russia]
 
 Finnish politician and noted mediator who was president of Finland (1994–2000). In 2008 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to resolve international conflicts.

      Ahtisaari graduated from the University of Oulu in 1959 and in the early 1960s worked in Pakistan on an educational project for the Swedish Agency for International Development. He returned to Finland and joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1965; eight years later he was appointed ambassador to Tanzania, a post he held until 1976. Ahtisaari honed his diplomatic skills as the United Nations (UN) commissioner for Namibia (1977–81), a country torn by internal strife. He continued to represent Namibia during the 1980s while serving in several Finnish Foreign Ministry posts, and he led the UN team that supervised Namibia's transition to independence (1989–90). Ahtisaari was a key figure in the Bosnia and Herzegovina peace talks (1992–93).

      In 1994 Ahtisaari ran for the Finnish presidency, and his vision of Finland as an active participant in international affairs helped him win the election. He urged his nation's entry into the European Union (EU), and for the first half of 1999, Finland assumed the EU's rotating presidency. In June of that year, Ahtisaari used his diplomatic skills to help end the conflict in Kosovo as he and Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin persuaded President Slobodan Milosevic (Milošević, Slobodan) of Yugoslavia to accept a peace plan as a condition of stopping punitive bombings by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Often encountering resistance from Finland's Parliament, which preferred a more cautious foreign policy, as well as from his party, the Social Democrats, Ahtisaari did not run for reelection in 2000.

      After leaving office, Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative and was selected for a number of diplomatic roles, including acting as an arms inspector in Northern Ireland, heading a UN fact-finding mission into an Israeli army operation in Jenin in the West Bank, and mediating the conflict between the government of Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement. In 2005 he was named the UN special envoy for the future status of Kosovo; in 2007 Ahtisaari issued a proposal—accepted by Kosovo's majority Albanian population but rejected by Serbia—that called for UN-administered independence for Kosovo along with self-governance for the region's Serb-dominated municipalities.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Martti Ahtisaari — Ahtisaari in Helsinki. (4 July 2007) 10th President of Finland In office 1 March 1994 – 1 March 2000 Prime Minister Esko Aho …   Wikipedia

  • Martti Ahtisaari — à Helsinki le 4 juillet 2007 Mandats 10e président de la Finlande 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ahtisaari — Martti Ahtisaari Martti Ahtisaari 10e président de la Finlande …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martti Ahtisaari — Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ahtisaari — Martti Ahtisaari (2007) Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari [ˈmɑrtːi ˈɑhtisɑːri] ?/Info/IPA (* 23. Juni 1937 in Viipuri, Finnland, heute Wyborg, Russland) ist ein finnischer Diplomat und sozialdemokratischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Martti Ahtisaari — Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari  [ˈmɑrtːi ˈɑhtisɑːri] (* 23. Juni 1937 in Viipuri, Finnland, heute Wyborg, Russland) ist ein finnischer Diplomat und sozialdemokratischer Politiker, dem für langjährige Bemühungen zur Lösung internationaler… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Martti — ist ein männlicher Vorname. Er ist die finnische und estnische Variante des aus dem Lateinischen stammenden Vornamens Martin. Namensträger Martti Ahtisaari (* 1937), finnischer Diplomat und Politiker Martti Jarkko (* 1953), finnischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Martti Ahtisaari — Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (n. 1937), político finlandés, décimo presidente de la República de Finlandia (1994 2000) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ahtisaari — Ạhtisaari,   Martti Oiva, finnischer Politiker, * Viipuri (heute Wyborg) 23. 6. 1937; Lehrer, Mitglied der Sozialdemokratischen Partei; trat 1965 in den diplomatischen Dienst ein, wurde 1973 Botschafter in Tansania (zugleich auch für Sambia,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ahtisaari — /ah tee sahr ee/, n. Martti /mahr ti/, born 1938, president of Finland since 1994. * * * …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.