News / Africa

Experts Say Time and Truth Are Keys to Peace Talks

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, right, shake hands on the completion of a signing ceremony after the two countries reached a deal on economic and security agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 27, 2012. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, right, shake hands on the completion of a signing ceremony after the two countries reached a deal on economic and security agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 27, 2012.
x
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, right, shake hands on the completion of a signing ceremony after the two countries reached a deal on economic and security agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 27, 2012.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, right, shake hands on the completion of a signing ceremony after the two countries reached a deal on economic and security agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 27, 2012.
Kelly J. Kelly
Scholars David Smock and Daniel Serwer have been trying to talk people into peace as international mediators for much of their careers.

At a recent book launch in Washington, D.C for their new publication, called “Facilitating Dialogue: USIP's Work in Conflict Zones,” Smock and Serwer analyzed why peace talks in places such as Iraq, Kosovo, and Nepal were successful. One factor, they say, is simply time.

“It isn’t just a one-meeting effort. The most effective processes take a considerable amount of time, and in turn require the commitment of considerable resources,” said Smock, who is the Director of the Religion and Peacemaking Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

As far as South Sudan and Sudan go, Smock said that the countries stretched that time investment about as far as it could go. But, he observed that the United Nations, which threatened sanctions if the countries failed to reach an agreement by early August, did help move the process along. “There were timelines, there were deadlines. And while those deadlines weren’t met precisely, they were met in rough terms,” Smock said.

Daniel Serwer, who is Professor of Conflict Management at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, is more cautious about the role of the international community.

He said that any kind of international dialogue ultimately aims to express the genuine desires of the people. When outside groups put pressure on the talks, Serwer said negotiators sometimes promise more than they can deliver.

“Frankly, people will say things to please us or to please the international community or to please donors that they don’t really mean,” Serwer said.

Serwer and Smock’s book also finds that mediators such as Thabo Mbeki, who was the African Union’s chief negotiator in the Sudanese talks in Abbis Ababa, Ethiopia are critical. Smock said that when Mbeki weighed in with constructive ideas, the talks started to move forward.

Listen to report on U.S. Institute for Peace conversation on facilitated dialogue
Listen to report on U.S. Institute for Peace conversation on facilitated dialoguei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid