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The Long Road to Peace in Northern IrelandPeace Lectures from the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University$
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Marianne Elliott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310652

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314155

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date: 18 November 2018

The Secrets of the Oslo Channels: Lessons from Norwegian Peace Facilitation in the Middle East, Central America and the Balkans1

The Secrets of the Oslo Channels: Lessons from Norwegian Peace Facilitation in the Middle East, Central America and the Balkans1

Chapter:
(p.54) The Secrets of the Oslo Channels: Lessons from Norwegian Peace Facilitation in the Middle East, Central America and the Balkans1
Source:
The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland
Author(s):

Jan Egeland

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846314155.006

This chapter presents an insider's view of the effectiveness of ‘third–party’ intercession in conflict situations. The author was part of the Norwegian team that helped start the Middle East peace negotiations of 1992–95. Norway, with its long–standing reputation for neutrality and expertise in international human rights issues, was well placed to win the trust of the opposing parties. Even so, it took endless meetings at secret locations in Norway and desperate efforts to prevent media discovery, which would have forced the participants to ‘play to the gallery’ with damaging political rhetoric. As extreme difficulties have continued, the author reflects on the lessons to be learned. These include secrecy in the early stages and continuity of personnel; a willingness on the part of the leaders and their public to reach often painful compromises; the acceptance that the process will take time and will only endure when ordinary people experience its benefits; and the importance of adequate mediation machinery and international diplomacy to supply appropriate tools and support.

Keywords:   third–party intercession, external diplomacy, Norway, Middle East, peace process, peace negotiations, international diplomacy, mediation

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