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Methods of Conflict Resolution: Negotiation

  • Paul MeertsEmail author
Chapter
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 17)

Abstract

International negotiations as an instrument in conflict resolution are difficult to to grasp, both in theory and practice. Yet it is important to get to grips with this process, as negotiations between states and in international organizations are the lifeblood of the international body politic. The Charter of the United Nations, for obvious reasons, ranks negotiation as the foremost instrument in the peaceful settlement of inter-state conflicts. Scholars of international relations are still searching for methodologies and theories to explain outcomes of negotiations by the processes that produce them.

This chapter approaches the process of international negotiations from different angles, while applying a multi-faceted qualitiative analysis of case studies from the past and the present. It is hoped that a better understanding of negotiation as one of the main tools of conflict resolution will help to enhance the effectiveness of this process as an alternative to warfare. Words, after all, are cheaper than weapons. Still, negotiation is basically a struggle in the promotion and defence of state interests. It is war by peaceful means.

The central proposition of this chapter is that negotiations between states can only be a viable replacement of the use of violence if they are conducted within the framework of international regimes that set the rules and procedures for negotiation behaviour and mitigate lack of trust. International regimes may take the shape of international organizations, which can force countries to live up to their agreements. International negotiation processes may be taken as a ceaseless series of attempts to bring more order to the international system. If this system is eroded, negotiation will be a less effective alternative to the use of force in international relations.

Keywords

International negotiation processes Practioners-researchers-trainers Parties-people-preferences Procedure-process-power Competing-conceding-coordinating Context-changes-challenges 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’The HagueThe Netherlands

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