Wien, 10. October 2008 Press release

Plassnik: "Ahtisaari, a man of encouragement and peacework"

Foreign Minister on Nobel Peace Prize 2008

Vienna, 10 October 2008- "The award of the Nobel Peace Prize 2008 to Martti Ahtisaari is a good decision. I am very delighted and offer him my congratulations," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today. "Ahtisaari stands for professionalism, persistence and steadfastness. We Austrians value him as an open-minded yet strict partner. Our cooperation with Ahtisaari and his team was very close in 2000 when it was necessary to demonstrate the absurd nature of the sanctions against Austria by means of hard facts."

"The former Finnish President is one of the most experienced mediators of our time. The Nobel Peace Prize has also been awarded in recognition of his work on the resolution of the Kosovo conflict, in which he was supported by the Austrian Albert Rohan. Ahtisaari received the mandate from the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and we supported him and his team in Vienna by providing the respective infrastructure. Ahtisaari’s commitment to peace in the Balkans dates back to 1999 when he met with Slobodan Milosevic. As the EU representative in the negotiations he was instrumental in bringing about the end of the NATO intervention," continued Plassnik.

"The scope of Ahtisaari´s work spans continents and cultures, ranging from Namibia to Indonesia and the Balkans. In his efforts he took advantage of the strength and possibilities of multilateralism and further developed the nature of peace missions. As a representative of a medium-sized state Ahtisaari attaches particular value to the importance of the United Nations for the community of states. The Aceh monitoring mission not only increased the European Union’s geographical scope of action and enlisted the support of the ASEAN states as partners for cooperation; it also developed a new approach that integrates both civilian demilitarisation experts and human rights observers. This has led to new standards which are now being applied to the EU mission to Georgia," stated Plassnik, referring to the dispatch of Austrian human rights experts to these two missions.

Contact:
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at