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From Paper to Peace: The Role of Guarantees in Peace Agreements

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013

Conflict settlement is a process rather than a singular act. At its most basic, a peace process comprises three phases: the negotiation, implementation and operation of an agreement meant to enable the conflict parties to resolve their disputes by nonviolent, political means.

Yet the successful conclusion of a peace process is by no means a foregone conclusion—they can, and do, fail. Sometimes negotiations break down and no agreements are concluded, leading conflict parties back to violence. In other cases, disagreements about the meaning of particular provisions arise after an agreement has been reached. In the absence of effective dispute resolution mechanisms, one or more parties are then likely to defect from a negotiated deal, reopening armed conflict. In yet other cases, spoilers might torpedo the operation of an agreement, inciting another round of fighting, because they and their constituencies have been excluded from negotiations or have not seen the expected returns from an agreement they signed up to. Spoilers might also be external powers with their own stakes in a conflict and its settlement, at times using proxy forces to derail a deal. ...

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