WINDHOEK: President Hage Geingob on Monday extended a message of condolences to the people of Finland, following the passing of their former President Martti Ahtisaari.
He was aged 86.
Geingob, in his message, described Ahtisaari as a leading peacemaker who, through the United Nations, played a pivotal role in midwiving the birth of a new Namibia.
He said Ahtisaari was a friend of the Namibian liberation struggle, and his history is incomplete without Namibia, a country he was associated with in many roles that he occupied, first through his appointment as a senator to the Council of the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) in 1975, a position which later led to his appointment in 1978 by United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim as the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Namibia.
In 1989, he was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General to assume the difficult task as the leader of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, which was globally hailed as a model in dealing with complex transitions from conflict to peace, Geingob said.
“As a Fin, former President Ahtisaari understood fully our quest for freedom and justice. Therefore, in the roles of diplomat, negotiator, peacekeeper and blue helmet, former President Ahtisaari served the Namibian people who were seeking self-determination and justice with flying colours,” he said.
Geingob further said as an icon in the imagination of the Namibian people, Ahtisaari was inscribed as an honorary citizen of the Republic of Namibia, with streets and schools having been named after him in remembrance and in celebration of his exceptional deeds in the birth of a free Namibia.
“We are not only mourning the loss of former President Ahtisaari, a friend and one of us, but we are also reaffirming the rich legacy of peace and the outstanding international public service of a Nobel peace laureate with an indelible association with Namibia,” Geingob maintained.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency