July 17, 2015
Our world, at different times and places has exhibited despicable wars and conflicts where they ended up with huge loss of human lives, property damages and environmental destruction. Very often, peace and stability is constituted after firsthand experience of war. If we look at the two major world wars, WW1 and WW2, they came to halt after mass murder, genocide and holocaust.
The underlining fact is that after every war and conflict there is always peace. It is a rare occasion to see peace preceding war. But why is it peaceful resolution of dispute cannot be the alpha and omega of any dispute, between or among rivalry parties. Is it because peace is more expensive than war? Is it because peace is more humiliating than war? Is it because peace is beyond human faculty and war an expression of human naivety? Or is it peace is a rare commodity? To answer the last question, it is found in abundance, there is peace inside every human being. To the rest of the questions, the answer is glaringly “no.”
Peace is an indispensable commodity to world safety and human dignity. Peace is an absolute necessity in our volatile world. In a world with highly proliferated nuclear arsenals, the only way to deter such dangers is to come into terms with foes and allies alike. Coming into terms is a win- win solution. Resorting to a nuclear war is a zero sum game to the warring parties and to the world as a whole. There will not second chance for peace unlike the two world wars the planet has exhibited.
Peace can only prevail through the power of negotiation. Negotiation resolves disputes from family feuds to business rivalry to ideological and political differences. The power of negotiation, power in this context is not dominating nor overpowering the other, is an intention to produce agreement repairing relationships through discussion. Scholars, who made intensive study on principled negotiation approach, have identified the following key points as basis for negotiation: identifying or separate people from problems, focus on interests not positions, initiate options for mutual gain and craft objective criteria. During negotiation, focusing on national and security interest is the underlining factor while a position is just one particular way to satisfy interest.
One of the most sophisticated and a landmark negotiation ever held in the 21st century is the historic frame work agreement concluded between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany. What makes it unique from other negotiations is that it took 12 years of talks and 27 months of breath taking negotiations.
The aim of the unrelenting negotiations between the negotiating parties was to bring mutually acceptable agreements that accommodate their interests. The P5 interest was security of the region and the world at large, curbing Tehran’s illicit nuclear weapons program. Tehran’s interest was to lift up sanctions and sustain its nuclear energy rights. The negotiation was concluded with a win - win solution which open the way to a new chapter of International relations and offered a sign of hope to the entire world.
What can we learn from the outcome of the negotiation? Mutually exclusive positions were narrowed to mutually acceptable interests. We can apply this scenario into the Ethio – Eritrean no war no peace syndrome, that is, can’t it be resolved this outstanding dispute through negotiation? Positively, it can. If the Eritrean govt. intransigent behavior and brinkmanship attitude is changed and open its door for negotiation, there is no reason why their differences cannot be resolved through negotiation. The Ethiopian govt. has long since shown its readiness by adopting a 5 point proposal for negotiation. Both have to give up positions that are completely incompatible and work on shared interests for they are destined by GOD to be neighbors.