Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari arrived in Beijing on Easter Sunday with an international team of negotiators seeking to reduce tensions between North and South Korea.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008, President Ahtisaari is a member of a group of veteran statesmen known as The Elders. The team also includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Irish President Mary Robinson and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The leaders will be discussing North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and relations between the two Koreas. The veteran statesmen also intend to discuss North Korea’s food shortages. The group will travel from China to North Korea on Tuesday, and South Korea on Thursday.
In The Elders’ statement, President Ahtisaari notes that continuation of talks between the two Koreas demands political will. Ahtisaari also underlines the importance of bringing about meaningful dialogue between the parties, as the stakes are too high to allow the stand-off between the two Koreas to continue.
The Elders is an independent group of eminent global leaders working for peace and human rights, brought together by Nelson Mandela.