Martti Ahtisaari Urges Obama to Act on Mideast While Accepting Nobel

From the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_05 Dec. 10 16.06 President-elect Barack Obama should move quickly to try to resolve conflicts in f the Middle East, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner said Wednesday after accepting a gold medal and $1.2 million in prize money.

“The credibility of the whole international community is at stake,” said Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland and a veteran United Nations mediator. “We cannot go on, year after year, simply pretending to do something to help the situation in the Middle East. We must also get results.”

He urged Mr. Obama to give the region high priority during his first year in office.

“The European Union, Russia and the U.N. must also be seriously committed so that a solution can be found to the crises stretching from Israel and Palestine to Iraq and Iran,” he said. “If we want to achieve lasting results, we must look at the whole region.”

The Middle East is one of few parts of the world where Mr. Ahtisaari has not been a major player in conflict resolution although earlier this year he brought dozens of Iraqi Sunni and Shiite leaders to Helsinki for dialogue with “facilitators” from Northern Ireland and South Africa, where reconciliation has been partly successful.

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