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Nobel Peace Prize to Former President Ahtisaari

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This year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. Ole Danbolt of the Norwegian Nobel Committee at noon Finnish time.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 to Martti Ahtisaari for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts. These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to fraternity between nations in Alfred Nobel's spirit," the committee said.

The most recent achievement of his peacekeeping efforts is the 2005 peace agreement between the Indonesian government and the rebels in the province of Aceh.

Although Ahtisaari has been a nominee for the prize several times, the choice as this year’s winner came as a considerable surprise.

Favourites this year included Chinese dissidents Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia, Vietnamese Buddhist leader Thich Quang Dota, and the US-based Human Rights Watch organisation.


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