Choosing to engage: Armed groups and peace processes
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While negotiations can build a party’s commitment to political dialogue, it is also clear that the fallout of failed negotiations can prevent or delay a more serious peace process.

Nicholas (Fink) Haysom

Fink Haysom sets out a number of considerations for mediators before and during negotiations involving armed groups. The mediator needs to build credibility with the conflict parties and change their mindsets in favour of negotiation through confidence-building exercises, ensuring they understand their opponent’s need for tangible benefits. Negotiating the process that lies ahead is another important early task, and Haysom discusses pre-negotiations, logistical arrangements, pre-agreements and agreement on confidentiality, transparency and inclusivity. He discusses ways to generate momentum and introduce compromise, and how to tackle difficult issues like a cessation of hostilities, international law and implementation. In a final section, Haysom considers ways to build a party’s capacity to negotiate and reflects on the need to build the negotiating parties’ ownership of a peace process.