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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid