Martti Ahtisaari’s Legacy Through Pictures

Kosovo has honored for the contribution to its independence, the negotiator and Nobel-prize-winner Martti Ahtisaari, who died at 86. Prishtina Insight brings his legacy through pictures, including with late president of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova and late president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic.

Kosovo has paid tribute to Martti Ahtisaari, the negotiator who played a pivotal role in its struggle for independence, as he passed away at the age of 86.

Martti Ahtisaari, the former chief mediator of the United Nations tasked with resolving Kosovo’s status and the former president of Finland, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86.

Ahtisaari was the architect of the plan for Kosovo’s declaration of independence, known as the “Ahtisaari Package.”

The news of his death was announced by the current President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, who shared, “Martti Ahtisaari believed in people, civilization, and goodness, leading an extraordinary life. He presided over a time of transformation, guiding Finland into the global era of the European Union.”

We look back in time and bring Ahrisaari’s legacy and memories through pictures, with the original descriptions of the time they were taken.

NOORDWIJK, NETHERLANDS – Finland’s President Martti Ahtisaari (C) shakes hands in Dutch Noordwijk with Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok (L) on Saturday, 15 May 1999 after discussing the Kosovo crisis. Ahtisaari, tipped as a special Kosovo mediator, said after meeting with Kok the first priority in the Kosovo peace efforts is to determine whether the international community is united. EPA PHOTO ANP/RAYMOND RUTTING

Agim Çeku, who assumed the role of Prime Minister of Kosovo on March 10, 2006, during Ahtisaari’s tenure as a special envoy of the United Nations, remembers Ahtisaari as a true friend of Kosovo.

Çeku recounted his first meeting with Ahtisaari shortly after his appointment as Prime Minister of Kosovo. “From the outset, he emphasized that the only viable solution was Kosovo’s independence. During our initial meeting in Brussels, he requested a stopover in Vienna, where we held a private discussion at the Finnish embassy. He made it clear that the status dilemma was not the focus; instead, we deliberated on the contents of the package to ensure that the constitutional provisions we proposed would be acceptable to the United Nations Security Council and, in turn, to Kosovo, preserving the functionality of the state.”

BELGRADE, SERBIA, YUGOSLAVIA : Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (R, center), Finnish President and EU envoy for the Balkans Martti Ahtisaari (L, center) together with Russian envoy Victor Chernomyrdin (L, behind) sit at the conference table during talks on a solution to the Kosovo crisis in Belgrade, Wednesday 02 June 1999. EPA PHOTO

Çeku added that “Ahtisaari undoubtedly holds a prominent place in our recent history. His extraordinary impact is indelibly linked to our history and independence.”

Ahtisaari’s invaluable contribution to the people of Kosovo was also acknowledged by the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani. She wrote on Facebook, “He laid the foundations of our state, ensuring his name will forever be etched in the annals of the Republic of Kosovo’s history. This peacemaker and visionary will forever remain in the hearts of the people of Kosovo!”

Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu (R) and United Nations special envoy to Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari shake hands prior to their meeting in Pristina, Kosovo, Wednesday 01 March 2006.
This same date Kosovo’s Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi announced his resignation in Pristina in the midst of crucial talks with Serbia on the future status of the province. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Even the former President of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu, highlighted Ahtisaari’s influential role in Kosovo’s history.

Fatmir Sejdiu stated, “Today, my opinion, as well as that of all Kosovo citizens, is dedicated to preserving the values of this giant of global politics and diplomacy. His engagement in meetings with the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was indeed special.”

United Nations envoy to Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari (R) talks to Serbian President Boris Tadic (2-L) during their meeting in Belgrade during Kosovo talks, 02 February 2007. Martti Ahtisaari. Photo: EPA/SASA STANKOVIC

Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell in The Hague in 2010 while facing charges of war crimes, including those committed in Kosovo in 1998-1999.

Sejdiu recalled that Ahtisaari, along with American diplomats Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, and NATO Commander Wesley K. Clark, delivered a clear and resolute message to Milosevic, urging him to renounce violence and terror in Kosovo, or face serious consequences.

United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari (R) shake hands with Kosovo’s President Ibrahim Rugova during their meeting in Pristina, Kosovo, Tuesday 22 November 2005. Photo: EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Martti Ahtisaari served as the President of Finland from March 1994 to February 2000, during which time Finland joined the European Union.

Following his presidency, Ahtisaari continued his career as an international peace mediator and conflict resolution expert.

(L-R) United Nations (UN) Special Envoy on the Kosovo Status, Martti Ahtisaari and European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana meet at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 17 July 2007. EPA/HERWIG VERGULT BELGIUM OUT

In November 2005, he assumed the role of Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the process of determining Kosovo’s future status.

That year, due to the unstable situation in Kosovo, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting on the Security Council’s conclusions, entrusted Martti Ahtisaari with leading the political process to determine Kosovo’s future status.

United Nations envoy for Kosovo status Martti Ahtisaari (R) and his aide Albert Rohan (2-R) speak to media during a news conference in Pristina, Kosovo, Wednesday 23 November 2005, following their three-day visit to Kosovo for preparatory talks on negotiations to settle the future political status of Kosovo. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

After 16 months of relentless effort to find a negotiated solution, Ahtisaari and his UNOSEK team presented a settlement proposal, famously known as the Ahtisaari Plan, to the UN Secretary-General in late March 2007.

Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari (C) poses with the diploma and medal after receiving the prize at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in the Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2008. Photo: EPA/LARSEN HAKON MOSVOLD

The 86-year-old Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long-standing contribution to peace mediation in 2008.

In 2021, Ahtisaari decided to retire from all public activities due to Alzheimer’s disease.

A Kosovo daily newspaper “Epoka e Re” featuring UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his proposal for the final status of Kosovo, in Podujevo, on Thursday 01 February 2007. Ahtisaari is due to present his proposal on the fate of Serbia’s breakaway province in Belgrade and Pristina 02 January 2007. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

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