Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari said Saturday it is a disgrace that the international community has not managed to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, blaming the failure on a lack of political will.
In an interview with Swedish Radio, Ahtisaari said he was ashamed that neither Europe nor the US have been capable of reaching a solution yet.
"How can we, year after year, seriously say that we are trying to reach a solution when we aren't?" he asked. "I'm ashamed, I have to admit that."
In the interview, Ahtisaari criticized the Western boycott of Hamas, and said it may soon be time to admit that "we have to speak with the Taliban" in Afghanistan instead of just sending troops to the country.
The broadcaster also quoted him as saying he hoped the next US president would use his first year in office to try find a permanent solution in the Middle East.
"If the political will is there, we can solve anything. It is clear a Palestinian state is needed," Ahtisaari said. The Israelis need to be guaranteed peace, he said.
"If people would sit down and negotiate we would quickly reach a plan," he said.
A former Finnish president and an international peacemaker, Ahtisaari won the 2008 peace prize for three decades of working to resolve international conflicts around the world.