Ahtisaari Stands By Kosovo Independence

04 November 2008 Pristina – Former UN envoy for Kosovo’s final status and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Martti Ahtisaari, stands by his decision in backing Kosovo’s independence, in his new autobiography.

His book, Suomalaisten kovat paikat or “Finnish in difficult circumstances” has just been published in his native Finland.

Ahtisaari writes that Kosovo is a European issue, and the European Union shall not permit a “frozen conflict” as has happened in other similar cases around the world.

He adds that countries which have not yet recognised Kosovo’s independence due to their own internal problems will very soon do so.

Ahtisaari adds that these countries will soon accept that Kosovo is a unique case and not a precedent for other separatist movements.

Ahtisaari, also a former Finnish President, was appointed in 2005 as the United Nations special envoy for talks on the final status of Kosovo, seven years after he played a key role in bringing an end to hostilities there.

After no results in the talks between Serbian and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian officials he recommended ‘supervised independence’ for Kosovo.

The Ahtisaari plan served as the basis for Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, and the reforms it prescribed were pursued in the following months by Kosovo’s government.

Last month he was the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“Ahtisaari is an outstanding international mediator,” a committee spokesman said in announcing his win.

The committee cited Ahtisaari’s “significant” role in establishing Namibia’s independence and his “central” part in mediating the conflict in the Indonesian province of Aceh in 2005.

That year the 71-year-old career diplomat oversaw the end of a three-decade conflict between the Indonesian government and Free Aceh Movement rebels that killed some 15,000 people.

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