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Area Studies and International Relations

The Economist apps. More up icon. The Cyprus problem Intractable—or insoluble? Reuse this content About The Economist. Not everyone is convinced China alone should be able to play this role. There is nothing virtual about the standoff between Brussels and Moscow, culminating in the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit in November The economic and diplomatic dimensions of this encounter were crystal clear, though polemically presented in the press.

Less clear was the ideological encounter and the mutually constitutive nature of political discourse.

Daniel Bar-Tal. "Socio-psychological Barriers to Peacemaking in Intractable Conflicts”

Going beyond current affairs, the authors examine the significance of Georgia, primarily to Washington, in the context of greater developments in the diplomatic landscape. Because most of the states in the region are very dependent on these capital flows, this is likely to have tremendous socioeconomic effects. This paper proposes a response founded on the idea that less capital could be more productive if deployed in the right manner. Focusing on the Black Sea region, this paper takes note of the conflicting interests, relative strengths and weaknesses of policy actors competing for soft power leverage in the region: the European Union EU , Russia, Turkey, the United States US , and corporate actors.

It makes the case that such policy framing would, for those who would endorse it, provide a competitive edge. This article widens the scope of the investigation, addressing the question of how grand teleological narratives of socioeconomic transformation, including but not limited to the democratisation project, are domesticated in normative terms. Peace negotiations never take place in a vacuum. This is a global theme. During our interview with the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Talat, in June , he described the process of negotiations as multi-variable, where content and context agendas, at times, collide.

Elections take place; the EU economy is experiencing a severe crisis; oil is discovered; EU progress reports are issued; polling is regularly conducted. The same can be said of the negotiation process involving the two banks of the river Dniester, where another variable must be considered, namely the propensity of political discourse in the Wider Caucasus and the Black Sea region to be imbued with more explicitly geopolitical significance Kuchins et al.

In accordance with the recent developments, the financial and economic crisis proved to have profound and long-lasting implications for the Black Sea area. Under these circumstances the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation BSEC , a multilateral political and economic initiative which aims at the promotion of stability, prosperity and good-neighbourly relations in the region, had to acquire an attractive, feasible, prospect and renewed intellectual effort, in order to forward revised priorities for the countries of the Black Sea region in the difficult years to come.

The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats set the framework for the BSEC to enter a new phase with an overarching strategic approach under the concept of sustainable development.

Good Governance

The priority areas which were defined by the BSEC Economic Agenda for the Future of here are revised and enhanced with twenty years of experience. The quest for energy security will no doubt be a major arena for the consolidation of a new international status quo in the following years. In fact the case of China epitomizes the erosion of traditional North-South notions of economic regionalism we have held for decades in terms of economic development, military capability, trade patterns, etc.

This paper attempts to theorize the global context of these choices in view of presenting an informed discussion of threats and opportunities for Azerbaijan in the immediate future. The increasing importance of oil and gas in both domestic and international affairs presents Azerbaijan with enormous opportunities—and equally enormous challenges.

Putnam : argues in his seminal contribution on diplomacy and domestic politics that ratification processes may include voting in parliaments or in formal negotiations with bureaucratic agencies and interest groups. His work provides a set of important theoretical tools with which to dissect international agreements, but his insights have yet to be adapted to the study of referendums.

More importantly, Lijphart suggests that referendums might serve as instruments of oppression against minorities.


However, few studies have critically examined this claim. Nor have scholars or practitioners made a serious attempt to identify the linkages between alternative ratification processes and mediation outcomes in peace processes. In a bid to fill the gap in the literature, the article focuses on referendums and the role of institutions in peace mediations, emphasising two contrasting episodes of referendums in South Africa and Cyprus.

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For instance, in the study of referendums in peace processes, a crucial or deviant case study is one that seems unlikely to follow a peaceful transformation, yet an enabling referendum design has provided the catalyst to nudge it to the right direction. Deviant cases, according to Lijphart : 2 , have considerable theoretical significance because of the light they can throw on the social conditions of stable and effective democracy.

Negotiation and international conflict

Conversely, another set of crucial cases are those where domestic conditions and international engagement have been highly promising, yet the mismanagement of the referendum timing and design has led to a renewed stalemate. This article focuses on Cyprus as a paradigmatic case. Still, despite these promising circumstances, Cyprus remains divided following the failure of the Annan Plan referendum in Of course, there are crucial differences in the background conditions of Cyprus and South Africa.

Likewise, in South Africa, both De Klerk and his advisors in interviews with the author argued that the fear of sanctions had very little effect on their decisions. However, as the Cypriot experience suggests, it is questionable whether positive actions across the ethnic divide alone could be a sufficient condition for a positive referendum outcome. In the months preceding the referendum, the Turkish Cypriots community engaged in impressive peace rallies. To what extent does the timing and design of the referendums explain the differences in the South African and Cypriot peace processes?

To answer this question, the article turns to secondary and available primary sources, including legal documents, public opinion surveys, parliamentary debates and interviews with key advisors of leaders in the peace process, as well as individuals with privileged access to information. It also utilises comparative cases of referendums in other peace processes.

Ethnic War and Peace in Post-Soviet Eurasia

In a mandate referendum, a leader presents a general idea or a framework for a peace arrangement to the public in an attempt to secure early approval for the nascent agreement, thereby expediting a conditional or unconditional directive to finalise it. Such referendums can help initiate a peace settlement by offering advice, direction, and more importantly, a mandate to negotiating leaders.

Although the literature in conflict resolution has long emphasised timing Zartman , , there has been little application of this concept to the design of peace referendums. Through mandate referendums, leaders can better prepare the public for a peace settlement, incorporate early feedback into the negotiations, strengthen their credibility across ethnic antagonists and safeguard the peace process from subsequent and often unavoidable reversals in public opinion.

More importantly, such referendums could be more effective if the leadership proposing them maintains its overall popularity as in the case of De Klerk's government or if international conditions are favourable e. If leaders wait until the completion of the negotiations, it might be too late for their own popularity to be effective or for external incentives to work, as suggested by the failed Cypriot referendum.

Given its apartheid origins, it has received little attention from political scientists for exceptions, see Strauss ; Kersting ; Sussman while its transferability to other settings has not yet been widely debated, even though it legitimised and facilitated the end of one of the most repressive regimes in the twentieth century. Interestingly, South Africans reached a peace settlement in their first major attempt, unlike other deeply divided societies such as Cyprus where negotiations have failed for decades despite systematic UN mediation attempts. In response, Klerk considered general elections, but South Africa's electoral system would have privileged rural areas where the opposition had an advantage among white farmers.

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However, his opponents' rhetoric emphasising the need for the nation to be properly represented in the negotiations, along with a statement from the deputy leader of the opposition Conservative Party, Dr Ferdi Hartzenberg, that his party could win a referendum, allowed De Klerk some space for electoral manoeuvring. In the end, De Klerk responded by initiating a snap referendum, arguing that a mandate was necessary and that the use of a referendum process would cause the least disruption in the ongoing negotiations De Klerk De Klerk asked voters to reject or endorse his reform policies to negotiate an end to white minority rule through talks with the black majority.

What makes the South African case particularly interesting is the ambiguity in having a second referendum at the end of the negotiations. On this issue, De Klerk said in advance that it would be meaningless to ask white voters to reauthorise such agreements unless the final settlement was substantially different from that currently envisaged by his party Kersting De Klerk linked the referendum to peace in general and to his own personal fate and political future more specifically.

He promised to resign and hold elections if his proposed reforms failed to win a significant majority. The ANC issued a statement saying that the referendum benefited the negotiating process and emphasised that this should be the last occasion on which South Africa was subject to the indignity of a racial or ethnic referendum. As Mandela had no simultaneous referendum to run, he felt comfortable intervening in the process, correcting the opposition's misinformation campaign. Admittedly, in South Africa, the mandate referendum option was not unproblematic.

De Klerk later became more demanding in the negotiations while the ANC saw no reason to help him to pacify a weakened right wing opposition Waldmeir : — According to key advisors of De Klerk, the referendum boosted both the confidence and legitimacy of his policies and determined without any doubt the question of who represented the white community in South Africa.

Through his use of the referendum process, De Klerk delegitimised his opponents and expanded his own domestic and international credibility. Despite his weak negotiating position having to negotiate under the threat of international sanctions and domestic violence , De Klerk secured credible constitutional provisions for minority groups and respect for property rights — key issues for the white constituencies Waldmeir : ; Strauss : De Klerk managed to keep his party together from the day he removed the ban on the ANC until he agreed to hand over power, thus bringing his constituency from the backwater of ethnic politics into the modern world Waldmeir : See interview with De Jager The island of Cyprus has remained de facto divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot controlled sections since The Annan Plan required multiple concessions from both sides.

But at the same time, Greek Cypriot moderates emphasised the importance of major territorial concessions after the settlement; this included the cities of Famagusta Varosha and Morphou,plus a large number of villages across the buffer zone. Voting rights in the referendums were determined by the communities themselves: Greek Cypriots voted in the south while Turkish Cypriots voted simultaneously in the north. They warned that the continuation of the status quo would allow Turkey and the Turkish settlers to dominate the north while Turkish Cypriots would return to the South to reclaim their properties and constitutional rights Pericleous See also Republic of Cyprus parliamentary debates for 15 July