Harri Holkeri, 74, a former Finnish prime minister who brokered peace talks in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s and headed the U.N. administration in Kosovo, died Aug. 7 at a hospital in Helsinki. No cause of death was reported, but he had had a long illness.
Mr. Holkeri, a lawmaker and chairman of the conservative National Coalition Party, was prime minister from 1987 to 1991. He was also on the board of the Bank of Finland, which sets monetary policy, from 1978 to 1997.
At the end of 1998, Mr. Holkeri was honored by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as a member of former U.S. senator George Mitchell’s team brokering peace talks in Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1998.
In 2000, Mr. Holkeri served as president of the U.N. General Assembly. Three years later, he was appointed the U.N. special representative to the Serbian province of Kosovo, which had been administered by the world body from the end of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo.
Mr. Holkeri resigned from the U.N. posting in Kosovo less than a year later because of ill health.
In 2008, he was badly injured when a thief knocked him over in the street while escaping from a store in Helsinki. Mr. Holkeri, a former cross-country skier, seemingly never recovered from the fall, appearing frail in public.
Harri Hermanni Holkeri was born Jan. 6, 1937, in Oripaa, Finland. He became interested in politics at a young age and was secretary of the Finnish Conservative Party Youth League at 22. He moved through the party ranks and became a member of Parliament in 1970. He received a master’s degree in political science from Helsinki University.
Survivors include his wife, Marja-Liisa Lepisto, whom he wed in 1960, and two children.