Former Finnish prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner 2008 Martti Ahtisaari
“IT IS GOOD to be back to the National Press Club. I lived in New York for during 20 years, and I have learnt to appreciate the vigorous debate here,” said Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner, when he recently was the luncheon speaker at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ahtisaari is also the former Finnish Prime Minister and the former U.N. Special Envoy to Kosovo.
“ALL CONFLICTS can be resolved,” he said, “but constructive support from the U.S. is necessary for solving international problems.”
HE POINTED OUT that it is important to “promote global stability and peace” and emphasized the importance of the relationship between the United States and Russia. He stated that a prosperous Russia that is integrated with Western countries is a key ingredient in the effort to maintain global stability.
MR. AHTISAARI was particularly concerned about the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as the explosive high unemployment rate in the Arab countries. He noted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a central issue in the Middle East, and that there “needs to be talks to all parts that have people’s support.” He added that he agrees with President Obama about a two-state solution.
“IT IS CRITICAL to improve employment for young people in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.
“THERE ARE NO easy solutions for Afghanistan, and Russia and Iran need to help stabilize the country.”
MR. AHTISAARI Pointed out that “Europe and The United States have an enormous responsibility for the world. We can’t pick and choose our partners for peace. We have to talk to anyone. We also have to make sure that ordinary people don’t suffer when political leaders make a mistake.”
HE ALSO SAID he had no problems with a Turkish membership in the EU.
Martti Ahtisaari and columnist Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post