President Martti Ahtisaari was warmly commemorated in Cyprus
The opportunity to express condolences on the passing of President Martti Ahtisaari, organized at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador to Cyprus Harri Mäki-Reinikka in Nicosia on 19-20 October 2023, attracted a significant number of distinguished Cypriot guests and diplomats. Mr Ahtisaari is remembered on the island in particular for his international career and work in peacebuilding but also for his childhood background as a Carelian refugee, which deeply touches many Cypriots due to the country's own history.
The UN Secretary-General's Representative in Cyprus, head of UNFICYP Colin Stewart, underlined Ahtisaari's role as a mediator and a great statesman. US Ambassador Julie D. Fisher remembered Ahtisaari as a champion of fundamental freedoms and a skilled diplomat in a variety of demanding roles. British Ambassador Irfan Siddiq expressed that Ahtisaari was remembered and respected by his country and the British people for his work for peace and statesmanship. German Ambassador Anke Schlimm expressed her hope that the memory of Mr Ahtisaari would inspire us all to work for peace and a more just world. Dutch Ambassador Elke Merks-Schaapveld quoted Ahtisaari's words that "peace is a matter of will".
Condolences were also expressed by the ambassadors of Spain, the Netherlands, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Greece, Cuba, Ukraine, Austria, Jordan, Switzerland, Oman, Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt, Romania and many other diplomatic colleagues from countries including France and India. The Swedish Ambassador, Martin Hagström, expressed his condolences and voiced that a great Nordic man has left us. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, also expressed her condolences. She presented her credentials to Ahtisaari in 1996 while serving as the accredited Ambassador to Finland.
Condolences were also received from Finnish UN police officers serving in Cyprus.
Honorary Consul General of Finland in Cyprus Demosthenis Z. Severis, who met Mr Ahtisaari several times in Cyprus and Finland, also expressed his condolences. Mr Severis has served as Honorary Consul of Finland in Cyprus for 50 years.