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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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The Resolution of Armed Conflict: Internationalization and its Lessons, Particularly in Northern Ireland1

The Resolution of Armed Conflict: Internationalization and its Lessons, Particularly in Northern Ireland1

Chapter:
(p.25) The Resolution of Armed Conflict: Internationalization and its Lessons, Particularly in Northern Ireland1
Source:
The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland
Author(s):

Lord David Owen

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846314155.004

This chapter examines the idea of internationalizing conflict resolution. It identifies the UK's rejection of external diplomacy until 1994 as a major contributing factor to the excessively long–drawn–out nature of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. It examines a number of cases of external interventions in conflict zones, notably in the former Yugoslavia, and suggests some ground rules for such outside involvement. It is argued that any conflict involving ‘ethnic cleansing’ calls for early intervention, without waiting for a perfect solution. The author also recounts his own experience as Britain's navy minister (1968–70), and later as foreign secretary (1977–79), in the handling of the Rhodesian crisis, when he recognized that Britain's sanctions were failing because it was not involving other powers. The same mistake was being made with Northern Ireland, until Margaret Thatcher involved the Irish government with the Anglo–Irish Agreement of 1985, and John Major took the courageous step of involving the United States of America. This belated involvement of the United States was the crucial factor in the peace process.

Keywords:   conflict resolution, external diplomacy, Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, ethnic cleansing, United States, Rhodesian crisis

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