OSLO: Finland's former president Martti Ahtisaari won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for a long career of peace work from Namibia to Kosovo.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee chose Ahtisaari to receive the $1.4 million prize from a field of 197 candidates "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 award committee said in its citation.
Sweden's Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, created the prizes in his 1895 will.
Ahtisaari, who was Finland's president from 1994 to 2000, has had a long diplomatic career and has been a favorite to win what many consider the world's top accolade for years.
In 2005, he mediated a peace treaty between Indonesia and rebels in Aceh province to end 30 years of fighting. Until March last year he led Serb-Albanian talks on Kosovo as UN envoy.
"In 1989-90 he played a significant part in the establishment of Namibia's independence," the committee said.
"In 2005 he and his organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) were central to the solution of the complicated Aceh question in Indonesia."
"In 1999 and again in 2005-07, he sought under especially difficult circumstances to find a solution to the conflict in Kosovo," the committee said.
Ahtisaari, who oversaw Namibia's transition to independence as a UN official, said he considered the work for the southern African country as perhaps his most important contribution.
"Naturally I am very pleased by the decision," Ahtisaari told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
An Indonesian presidential spokesman said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was delighted to hear that Ahtisaari had been awarded the prize.
"We have known him to be a man of honor, a man of integrity and a man who not only has full devotion to the cost of peace but also has the rare talents to help make it to practical priority on the ground," the spokesman said.
The prize will be handed over in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896
6 months ago