Ahtisaari and Kosovo
On the recent first anniversary of Kosova’s independence, I was reminded of an editorial I once read in the Boston Globe* titled "A real peacemaker" that made a lot of sense to me. It hailed fomer Finnish president Marti Ahtisaari for being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize as "a patient mediator who has had more success resolving intractible conflicts around the world."
After citing several of Mr. Ahtisaari's notable worldwide achievements such as ...helping to bring aboutthe birth of an independent Namibia in 1990, and ...persuading Serb leader Slobodam Milosevic to accept NATO's terms for ending the war in Kosovo in 1991, and ...freeing the people in 1993 of what had been South West Africa from apartheid-era South Africa, and ...negotiating a peace in 2005 in Indonesia that ended a war of succession that had lasted for over 30 years, the editorial concluded with the following statements:
"Ahtisaari's one notable failure came last March, when Serbia refused to accept his plan for a phased movement toward independence for Kosovo . With unnecessary impatience, the United States and the European Union nonetheless recognized an independent Kosovo..If anything, his Nobel prize ought to make the American and European leaders have second thoughts. They should have kept Serbs and Kosovars at the negotiating table with Ahtisaari. Eventually, his patience and persistence could have produced a mutually acceptable resolution of the Kosovo dispute - like others he wrought in Asia, Africa, and Europe."
*October 8, 2008