The criteria for Nobel peace prize outlined in Alfred Nobel’s will 1895 was “to contribute to fraternity in the world, to reduce armies and to establish peace congresses”. The choice of Martti Ahtisaari as this years winner undervalues – again – those original ideas. Ahtisaari got the prize probably about his actions as mediator in Namibia, Aceh and Kosovo. Namibia went according UN peace plan, Aceh was acceptable compromise and Kosovo everything else.
Norwegian founder of peace studies, Johan Galtung, has criticized heavily Ahtisaari’s way to handle peace processes. Galtung claims that “Ahtisaari does not solve conflicts but drives through a short-term solutions that please western countries”. He further says that Ahtisaari “let’s EU to abuse himself”. According to Galtung Ahtisaari does not hesitate to favour solutions that bypass United Nations and international law.
With Kosovo case I would see three serious – intentional or unintentional – mistakes of Ahtisaari with negotiation process lead by him namely implementation, attitude and outcome.
- The implementation of Kosovo negotiations already started wrong while Ahtisaari accepted limitations made by Contact Group, which created limitation of discussion option and image about solution tacitly predetermined from the start. This failure is clear when compared sc. Troika Talks, which were open-ended in principle and showed a lot of alternative solutions for Kosovo status.
- The attitude of Ahtisaari did not help neither success of his negotiation process. He drew precedented criticism from Serbian politicians for allegedly saying that “Serbs are guilty as people” and implying that they would have to pay for it, possibly by losing Kosovo which is seeking independence. Before Ahtisaari this kind of attitude in collective guild of the nations were made by Hitler. One can understand anger of Serbs who few years earlier had overthrow their undemocratic leader.
- The outcome of process was wretched. It was claimed solution was the only possible – it wasn’t, alternative solutions came during Troika talks. There was no need to continue negotiations – it was because there wasn’t an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Solution was described “unique case” and no precedent – false again at least if one asks from some thousand separatist movements on globe. Solution was intended to provide stability to whole region – it created only one frozen conflict and puppet state more.
One could say that Ahtisaari has more acted as spokesperson of US State Department and Nato than unbiased mediator. Besides Kosovo Ahtisaari also supported US propaganda about Iraq. Like in Kosovo one reason for attack was “humanitarian intervention” while in reality most of civil casualties were made when Saddam was an ally of USA. Like in Kosovo the attack to Iraq was made without UNSC approval against international law.
Meanwhile, the Swedish institute TFF (Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research) called the decision “scandalous”. Ahtisaari is a man who by his “mediations” fully endorses the “peace” brought about by militarist means and international law violations – rather than following the UN norm of “peace by peaceful means.”, TFF said.P.S: My headline is a little bit provocative – Mr Nobel was cremated.