18 October 2023
President Ramaphosa mourns passing of former Finnish President Ahtisaari
President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his deep and profound sadness at the passing of Former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, who died at the age of 86 on 16 October 2023.
President Ahtisaari was well respected for the many leadership roles he occupied and accolades that he received during a lifetime of service to humanity.
The former President of Finland and Nobel Laureate was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for his role as an independent mediator and contribution to ending conflicts in Namibia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Indonesia.
He was also the founder of the conflict resolution foundation, Crisis Management Institute–Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation and was a member of the Elders, a group of former senior world leaders founded by the late former President Nelson Mandela.
“I remember Martti Ahtisaari as my partner in Northern Ireland where we both served as inspectors in the decommissioning of weapons process during the years 2000 and 2001. Martti had a wonderful sense of humour, which helped tremendously as we travelled the Irish countryside counting weapons and placing plastic seal strappings through and around them.
We were always aligned in our thinking and as Martti noted in his biography we were able to finish each other’s sentences. We completed this task when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning announced that the IRA had rendered the quantity of arms completely beyond utilisation. It was a great privilege for both of us to have played a small part in the Northern Ireland Peace Process,” recalls President Ramaphosa.
The world will remember Ahtisaari as a man of peace, a tough negotiator who displayed great compassion and deep respect for people.
President Ramaphosa joins the many voices around the world in extending his condolences to President Ahtisaari’s wife, Eeva, their son Marko and the people of Finland.
Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President – firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued by: The Presidency