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Martti Ahtisaari former president of Finland buried with love

Martti Ahtisaari, a former president of Finland and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, had a state funeral.

As the funeral cortege moved from the city’s Lutheran Cathedral to the cemetery, where President Ahtisaari was buried with other former Nordic presidents, large crowds surrounded the path.

Across Finland and in Brussels, flags have been lowered to half-staff in observance of the official burial of former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.

October saw the 86-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate Ahtisaari pass away from a protracted illness.

Crowds of well-wishers lined the funeral cortege’s path in the rain on a gloomy Friday in Helsinki to offer their final condolences to the former president.

The somber procession, led by police officers astride horses, left the city’s Lutheran cathedral, stopped momentarily outside the Presidential Palace, where Ahtisaari held office from 1994 to 2000, and proceeded a few kilometers to the Hietaniemi cemetery, where Ahtisaari was buried next to other Finnish presidents.

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As the rain softly poured, his son Marko and widow Eeva each tossed a red rose into the grave.

More than 800 people were present at the cathedral

At the cathedral service, more than eight hundred people attended, including the leaders of the nations Ahtisaari assisted in achieving peace agreements.

Attendees included former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, President Vjosa Osmani of Kosovo, President Hage Geingob of Namibia, and previous leaders of Indonesia and its Free Aceh rebel organization.

“Martti Ahtisaari was a great Finn, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He put his own stamp on both Finnish history and international history,” said the current Finnish President Sauli Niinistö during his eulogy.

“The work President Ahtisaari did in Indonesia, Kosovo, Namibia and many other places has left its mark on the lives of numerous people,” he said at the end of the church ceremony, which included wreath laying and music by Finland’s most famous classical composer, Jean Sibelius.

On Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in Helsinki, Finland, during the state burial of former President of the Republic Martti Ahtisaari, the funeral cortege arrives at the Helsinki Cathedral.

Martti Ahtisaari’s enduring efforts to promote peace
Martti Ahtisaari has dedicated his life to promoting peace. He was instrumental in achieving agreements pertaining to Namibia’s 1980s independence movement, Serbia’s departure from Kosovo in the late 1990s, and Aceh province’s autonomy in Indonesia in 2005.

Monitoring the IRA’s disarmament effort was one of his responsibilities during the late 1990s peace process in Northern Ireland.

Martti Ahtisaari resignation as chairman in May 2017

Later, he established the Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinki, which uses informal discourse and mediation to avoid and resolve violent disputes.

Martti Ahtisaari announced his resignation as chairman in May 2017 but stated he will remain an adviser to the group. Ahtisaari’s advanced Alzheimer’s condition was revealed in 2021.

Following the ceremony, the military band performed a funeral march outside the neoclassical cathedral, which is recognizable for its large green dome and four lesser domes, while soldiers carried the coffin to a hearse.

Finland’s flag, which consists of a blue cross on a white backdrop, was flown at half-staff throughout the capital on Friday. The EU Commission building in Brussels has its flags lowered.

“Ahtisaari was a tireless defender of peace and his words ‘All conflicts can be resolved’ should be engraved in our collective memory as Europeans,” the Commission posted on its social media platforms.


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