This article is written by Astitva Kumar, a research associate at ICMCR. The article is the result of extensive research and analysis of potential conflicts that were settled through mediation.
International disputes due to differentiation between jurisdiction and irregularity of laws and regulations between countries, lead to problematic dispute resolution plans. Thus, when procedural and judicial intervention fails, parties resort to ADR techniques. Court settlement is considered one of the most viable and effective ways of dispute resolution in the world. Mediation becomes the option that has helped to explore and effectively resolve the disputes of countries. It has not only led to the settlement of disputes but also led to the formation and dealing of multiple diplomatic treaties. Peacekeeping treaties have in turn been the results of mediation practices. The article analyses the multiple Mediation processes that have taken place in history. The article not only looks into the successful resolution through mediation but also envisages
International Mediation Cases
- African Civil Wars
There have been numerous intrastate disputes and wars that have taken place in Africa. The wars have either been a tussle between the authorities and the population in want of better living conditions or between various states of Africa. There have been multiple efforts to settle these disputes through mediation, but most of the same have been futile.
Early attempts in Mediation and negotiation between countries have failed due to the partiality of the mediators and the alignment of enmity or interest of the mediators with any of the parties. “In 1989 Liberia was plunged into civil war when rebels led by Charles Taylor sought to oust Samuel Doe who had seized power in a coup ten years earlier. Five members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) formed a Standing Mediation Committee to resolve the conflict. When its initial peacemaking bid failed, the Committee established the ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), a military force with a mandate for peacekeeping and peace enforcement. Over the next six years, ECOMOG became embroiled in the fighting, prolonging the war and contributing to wider regional instability. Dominated by Nigeria which had previously backed the despotic Doe, it destroyed its claim to neutrality by targeting Taylor and arming rival factions (see Howe 1996/7; and Nyakyi 1998). According to Anthony Nyakyi (1998), former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Liberia, the enmity between Taylor and Nigeria was the main impediment to securing a lasting peace agreement.”
The 1994 IGAD Declaration of Principles on the Sudanese conflict is a less severe example of mediators using an unduly prescriptive stance. The Declaration summarized the major demands of the Sudanese players to identify the essential ingredients for long-term peace. It dealt with the roots of the conflict in a way that appears fair and pragmatic. Two things, however, Khartoum’s mediators were condemned in anathema to Khartoum for abandoning their impartial stance (Deng 1997). “A Kenyan diplomat familiar with the process argued that IGAD’s mistake was to present the synthesis as a formal declaration instead of circulating a draft text and then mediating negotiations between the parties.”
“The African Union (AU) and many of the regional organizations on the continent have a formal mandate to engage in mediation and other forms of peacemaking. This is evident, for example, in the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (2002); the ECOWAS Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security (1999); and the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (2001).” The reason for the same can be attributed to insufficient funds and the lack of trust between parties. The countries in Africa do not trust the process of mediation and negotiation, since they believe that the Mediator is not neutral and has been conspiring with the opposing party. The enmity between states and the failure to recognize the common good has often led to the failure of Mediation between parties in the country.
- Camp David Accords
Cam David Mediation refers to the mediation and negotiation practice evolved and adopted by President Carter to settle the disputes between Egypt and Israel in 1977-78. “These negotiations had started almost immediately after Sadat’s visit to Israel in November 1977. For much of the time, at least until September 1978, they were characterized by a lack of clarity concerning the issues at stake and the procedures for conducting negotiations. A new approach was needed to take the negotiators out of the glare of publicity and ensure that some momentum towards a settlement would be maintained. Carter’s mediation, incorporating a whole cluster of notions about negotiation and conflict management, provided that approach.”
The purpose of the Accords was to ensure Middle East prosperity. The Arab Palestine conflict was reduced and calmed down to a huge extent due to the Accords. The Accords laid down the foundation of the peace treaty that was signed in the coming year. “The agreements became known as the Camp David Accords because the negotiations took place at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland. Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1978 for their contributions to the agreements.” The Accords became an important part of the development in the world since it laid down the aspect as to how Mediation can successfully resolve issues and even put an end to the wars that were in place. The Accords came after the proclamation of partition of Palestine and at the same time, Israel proposed its independence. The absolute state of chaos was looked into by the Accords, through an amicable solution and the adoption of a negotiating and mediating principle through the work. It was the procedure applied and the principles followed during the Camp David Accords that led to its success. Beginning from the freedom guaranteed through media, and extending to the private rooms and co-operative meetings guided throughout the process to its success. “As the days passed, prospects for a settlement at Camp David appeared so bleak that Sadat threatened to leave, and Carter began planning to return to the White House and suffer the likely political consequences of failure. An agreement was reached on the final day, however, when, at the last minute, Begin agreed to allow the Knesset to decide the fate of the settlements Israelis had established on the Sinai Peninsula (which Sadat had required to dismantle and Begin had sworn not to abandon).”
The last day’s resolution led to the successful resolution of disputes. This led to the foundation stone of successful Mediation plans.
- Sino-Tibetian Conflict Resolution
“The emergence of diplomatic contact between the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), visit of the fact-finding Tibetan delegations to Tibet; the revelation of shocking living conditions of the Tibetans in Tibet and nine rounds of official meetings & dialogues between the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the representatives of the Chinese government with the hope to find an amicable solution to the Sino-Tibetan political entanglement are some of the new developments. Informal contacts were there but both parties maintained strict confidentiality until 1979.”
The 17 point Agreement signed in 1951, became the starting point of both contention and resolution. While Tibet contented its complete independence China was worried about the relations with neighboring countries and its diplomatic stand. The process involved in the resolution of the contention was through negotiations and peaceful talks about the same. The process was not a short one and continued through many years. It was during the 8 long years that Sino-Tibet tried to mediate and settle their disputes through negotiation and mediation. The absence of arms and ammunition not only helped the parties to build consular relations but also helped in creating a prosperous idea of dispute resolution. But the loophole in this system was the time consumed for mediation. “From September 9th, 2002 to January 31st, 2010, nine rounds of meetings were held between the envoys of His Holiness and the representatives of the Chinese government but no substantial breakthrough to the Tibet-China disputes.” During the advancement, 5 points peaceful treaty along with diplomatic relations treaty all have been signed. But none has led to the peaceful and final settlement of the problem. Till today the problem persists. While the nations have gained independence and are in control of their affairs. There is a serious lag in the co-operation and upholding of interests of both parties. China and Tibet continue to be in contention with each other. Mediation, though, put an end to the wars and the regular outbreaks that happened around the world, it could not put an end to the disagreements between parties. “China should stop blowing hot air into its so-called liberation of Tibet but rather make fervent efforts to resume the stalled Sino-Tibetan dialogue with Tibetan representatives. The only way forward in the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict is through resumption of the stalled dialogue process.”
- Kuala Lumpur and Djakarta
The Mediation that happened between the two countries was a result of the Indonesian Wars that took place in 1963. “The first clear indications of Indonesian reservations concerning Malayan and British plans for the new nation emerged in December of 1962, and Indonesian opposition hardened somewhat erratically in ensuing months.” The process concluded in September 1963, when Malaysia declared independence and free from the control of any foreign power while Indonesia refused to recognize it as a public entity. The threat moved to an extent where Indonesia threatened to “crush” Malaysia. This began the turning point of struggle and configuration of power for the countries. “The next two years were characterized by Indonesian- supported guerrilla warfare in Sarawak and Sabah, a limited sea and airborne assault upon peninsular Malaya, mutual trade and travel boycotts, depredations upon Malaysian fishermen, diplomatic competition, and attempted subversion by propaganda. With the August 1965 separation of Singapore from Malaysia and the disintegration of President Sukarno’s authority in the wake of the events of September- October in Djakarta, the conflict began to moderate.’ Finally, in August 1966 an accord was signed formally ending hostilities.”
- India and Bangladesh
The issue between India and Bangladesh arose as a result of the border dispute. The issue was at the time of partition of the two countries. As the countries agreed to split into two and live as independent entities, the division of resources became an important point of contention. The main problem that was solved through mediation and negotiating principles was the division of the jute-rich areas. Since the region was extremely rich for economic benefits, both the countries wanted the same to be in their possession. While Bangladesh claimed that it should have possession of the same to sustain its newly formed state, India claimed the same in the area and since it had the resources and the jute processing mills. The arguments and the discussions continued over a long period and finally gave way to the area being divided among both the countries.
- India Pakistan (Runn of Kutch)
The issue of the border again arose as a border conflict. Soon after India and Pakistan had been partitioned in 1947, the issue regarding the border and the possession of Run of Kutch was brought into perspective both the countries wanted to have a share of the same and keep the ownership of the area with themselves. Thus, Mediation and an out-of-court settlement were sorted by both parties. As the countries put forth their contention of the large tract of land, countries made the facts in favor of themselves. Pakistan brought forth a large tract of land that if not included in its territory would lead to the dissemination of territories in its terrain. “The Tribunal is not aware of a large tract of land measuring nearly 9,000 square miles and forming a belt of boundary in this area. But even should the Tribunal find that this last assertion is correct, it would not have the power to draw the “width less line” because, except for terminology, it would be inventing a boundary alignment that did not exist on the critical date and partition a no man’s land not partitioned before that date.” In light of the past events and the historical rivalry between the parties, the issue was referred to a Tribunal. After several conferences and discussions, both the claims of Pakistan to have control of the entire Runn of Kutch were rejected. India in turn succeeded to certain demands of Pakistan and successfully established consular relations through mediation of the border dispute.
- Shell and Ogoni Company
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint-venture partners – particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – have earned billions of dollars from the oil extracted from the land of the Ogoni in the Niger Delta. The Ogoni however complain that they have not seen adequate benefits; rather the oil has cost them dearly in terms of a deteriorating environment and underdevelopment and mobilized a successful national and international campaign against the Nigerian government and Shell. Despite the avowed non-violent nature of the campaign, military repression resulted in thousands of Ogoni killed, raped, beaten, detained, and exiled and the main leaders executed. Under pressure from the Ogoni, Shell was forced to pull out from Ogoniland in 1993. Since then, Shell International has re-invented its corporate strategy in line with principles of sustainable development and it has committed itself to a level of stakeholder engagement on its environmental and social performance which would have been unthinkable in 1995. So for Shell, a return to Ogoni would be a powerful symbol that their corporate commitment to being a socially responsible company is being translated into action on the ground. However, there is still little trust between the company and the Ogoni people and their representative organization, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). Many of the issues raised by the Ogoni (such as the need for local sustainable development, distribution of oil wealth, community projects and environmental issues) have yet to be addressed.”
- Cyprus Dispute
Cyprus was an international case of failed mediation. The reason that has been provided to justify the case of failed Mediation, is the phrase “theory without practice”. The dispute is not a newly formed issue. The dispute arose in 1914 after the annexation of “of the island by the British Empire from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 and subsequent annexation in 1914, the “Cyprus dispute” was a conflict between the Turkish and Greek islanders”. To reduce and work upon the skirmish between Turkish and Greek domains, multiple methods were adopted. The most prominent and the most famous continue to be the adoption of Mediation by the parties to resolve the dispute. Cyprus declared its independence in the coming years and is internationally recognized for the same. Whereas Turks failed to give independence and recognition to Cyprus, it continued to place its army and working force stationed in parts of Cyprus. The dispute continued in the forms of wars, civil outbreaks, and the plight of the people throughout the 1900s. The United Nations tried to intervene and settle the disputes through a neutral diplomat appointed by it, but the efforts could not lead to a fruitful and long-term result. The communal terms provided by parties kept on being rejected by the other party. The mediators and diplomats appointed by the UN could not create a successful resolution of the dispute. The border dispute rose and continued to persist in the form of taxes imposed, international trade, and other forms as well. The independence of Cyprus and the accession of the European Union provided a new direction to the dispute. “A decision by the European Union to open up accession negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus created a new catalyst for a settlement. Among those who supported the move, the argument was made that Turkey could not have a veto on Cypriot accession and that the negotiations would encourage all sides to be more moderate.” Mediation proceedings through various sources and persistence led to the upbringing of the Anan plan and certain referendums in the late 1900s and early 2000s. The process adopted was neutral and had beneficiary clauses for both the parties, but did not lead to any fruitful results. “In February 2014, renewed negotiations to settle the Cyprus dispute began after several years of warm relations between the north and the south.” The United Nations and European Union have been acting as the neutral party to resolve the disputes between Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. The final talks regarding the modified referendum are still in progress and would be an interesting and revolutionary victory for the Mediation practice in the world.
The Cyprus Dispute is an important development in the history of Mediation since it involves and portrays all forms and levels of mediation. The process so far that began as an ideological war, moved forward to become a border dispute and further led to wars that ended up being resolved through third-party intervention. The process still lingers between resolution and failure but forms an informative learning experience in mediation.
A fruitful and successful attempt of mediation through shuttle diplomacy. The dispute that arose in 1974, was successfully settled through the efforts of Henry Kissinger. After a grueling three-week battle, Israeli soldiers found themselves embroiled in an Egyptian-Syrian-Egyptian conflict. This allowed Nixon and Kissinger to play a leading role in disengaging these forces from each other and perhaps setting the foundation for subsequent measures to peacefully settle the 25-year conflict. He helped negotiate the first Egyptian-Israeli disengagement deal in eight days in January 1974, and he organized the Syrian-Israeli withdrawal after a month of hard discussions in May. “Israel’s proposals demonstrated to Kissinger that the two sides were close enough for him to engage in intensive diplomacy between Jerusalem and Cairo to find a way to negotiate a solution. Nixon, who had become severely distracted by the growing Watergate crisis, encouraged Kissinger to make the trip, but Nixon’s involvement in this negotiation and the ones to follow before his resignation was minimal.” In September 1975, the signing of a second Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement was made possible thanks to Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy. The mediation that took place between countries for a peaceful settlement took place in two phases. First, Kissinger mediated the dispute between Egypt and Israel, by the withdrawal of Israeli forces and opening of the Suez canal for usage. Second, the mediating process moved onto Syria where Israeli forces had been stationed. “Through the end of March and most of April, Kissinger met separately in Washington with Israeli officials and a senior-level Syrian emissary to discuss the groundwork for negotiations.”
Because of this deal, Israeli troops were withdrawn farther east in the Sinai Peninsula, and a U.N. buffer zone was established in their stead. It also committed significant resources from the United States by establishing three human-staffed and three electronic sensor fields in the Sinai. The mediation through two phases of shuttle diplomacy led to the successful settlement of disputes, furthering the cooperation between parties and minimizing the damage caused to the same. Thus, the process adopted for Mediation in this respect becomes an example of successful Mediation processes for the world to adopt.
- Rohingya Muslim Dispute
The dispute is neither a force-based conflict nor a border-based conflict. The conflict arose as a part of the refugee crisis between Myanmar and Bangladesh. “Chinese Communist Party (CPC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ruling Bangladesh Awami League last week. It is noteworthy that after meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the visiting CPC Central Committee international development minister Song Tao confirmed that the discussions included Chinese mediation in ensuring repatriation of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. He said China was in discussion with the Myanmar government in this regard.”
In 2017 there was an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Both signed an agreement, to ensure the well-being of the Rohingyas in the world and to maintain a balance in their resources. While Bangladesh agreed to allow Rohingyas to reside in the country, Myanmar in turn accepted certain demands of Bangladesh to foster trust. However, the agreement could not take off and Bangladesh has been insisting upon “voluntary return of Rohingyas” to Myanmar. On the other hand, Myanmar refuses to do the same as it is contrary to the clauses of the agreement. “The Myanmar military, however, is convinced that the Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. While Rohingya Muslims had representation in the Myanmar government for a few years after the country’s independence, the situation steadily worsened after the military coup of 1962.” To settle the dispute once and for all and to ensure no further damage is caused to life and property, China volunteered to become the mediator in the scenario. It proposed a three-step plan to foster peaceful settlement. First, to prevent loss of life, an immediate ceasefire from both sides is expected. Second, the bilateral diplomatic resolution process, to foster communication between parties and to ensure they are well being. Last, to manage the affairs of the newly added economic burden of the Rohingya Muslims on the country, a poverty alleviation program should be adopted at the earliest.
The proposal still exists with no proper step to ensure its implementation. <ediation to ensure long-term peaceful resolution is the only way to resolve the conflict, however, the current communal and communist differences are preventing the implementation of the same.
- Tashkent Declaration
The Kashmir Issue between India and Pakistan soon after the Independence led to a lot of skirmish and unmanageable situations between the countries. It not only spoiled their international relations but also disturned the economic affairs of both the countries along with the well being of the people. Looking at the escalating border tension between parties, USSR (present-day Russia) agreed to act as a mediator to the problem. The discussions for a peace agreement began in 1965 to ensure the parties are on the same lines and to foster well being of the same. Both the parties put forth their demands of the conquering on the part of Kashmir thus, the management of the same. Since both, countries were not letting their guard down and not succumbing to the demands of the other USSR intervened through the want and the insistence upon a peace agreement between the same. “The Tashkent Declaration was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan signed on 10 January 1966 that resolved the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.”
The agreement was mediated by the premier of the Soviet Union, Alekesy Kosygin. Though the agreement helped put an end to the Indo-Pakistan war that was going on, it did not fully address the issue of no-war policy and future cooperation between parties as well. It led to the development of Mediation but failed in recognizing the long-term implications of the same.
- Algiers Accords
The mediation process adopted in the current situation was to resolve a unique dispute of hostage situation between the United States and Iran. The Accords came to be known as the Algiers Accords since they were facilitated by Algeria. In 1979 the American Embassy was taken hostage by Iran terrorists. The well-being of the people was at stake. Unless their demands were met, the terrorists failed to let go of hostages.
Algeria established third-party mediation. “The US government took a series of actions to exert both economic and political pressure on Iran to release the hostages. The most effective of these was the freezing of Iranian assets. The freeze had the following implications. To begin with, it deprived Iran of access to over $14 billion of assets and properties. Secondly, it restricted Iranian international transactions by closing down the US financial markets to Iran, and by making it impossible for Iran to deal in US dollars in the first few months of the freeze. Thirdly, it created a situation whereby Iran was required by many of her trading counterparts to pay in cash for her international transactions despite her high credit rating. Fourthly, it started a flood of litigation in the United States and Europe engaging Iran in an unprecedented legal battle. ”
Mediation has been an ongoing process and has helped to solve several disputes both nationally and internationally. Most International disputes get solved through mediation, end up being codified or presented and preserved by way of treaties and accords. This ensures that the process is conducted transparently and even after the resolution takes place, countries have the treaty to abide by. The number of failed mediations at an international level portrays the fallacies of Mediation and areas that need to be worked upon at an earnest. Parties not complying with their words after the process ends is the biggest problem that persists in International Mediation. An analysis of the various patterns of international disputes helps to rectify the mistakes and make the process of Mediation more approachable and efficient for the countries.
 African Union, Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, 2002.
 Laurie Nathan, Mediation in African Conflicts: The Gap Between Mandate and Capacity, Africa Mediators Retreat, p. 26 (2004).
 Zion and W. Dan, ‘The Untold Story of the Middle East Talks’, New York Times Magazine, 21 January 1979.
 Jimmy Carter, Camp David Accords, Brittanica, (10th Sept, 2021), available at https://www.britannica.com/event/Camp-David-Accords
 Jampal Chosang, Sino-Tibetan Conflict Resolution: a Prescriptive Proposal, The Tibet Journal , Vol. 42, No. 1, p. 89. (2012).
Resumption of Sino-Tibetian Dialogue is the Only Way Forward, Central Tibetian Administration, (15th Sept, 2021). https://tibet.net/resumption-of-sino-tibetan-dialogue-is-the-only-way-forward/
Marvin C. Ott, Mediation as a Method of Conflict Resolution: Two Cases , International Organization , Autumn, 1972, Vol. 26, No. 4, p. 612. (1972).
 Avishikta Chattopadhyay, Indternational Mediation: Cases of Successful Mediation, Legal Bites, (18th Aug, 2019). https://www.legalbites.in/international-cases-of-successful-mediation/
 Shuttle Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Dispute, Office of the Historian, (5th July, 2009). https://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/shuttle-diplomacy
Abijit Chakravertty, Chinese Govt to Play Mediator in Sending Back Rohingya Refugees from Bangladesh To Myanmar, Economic Times, (9th April, 2019). https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/chinese-govt-to-play-mediator-in-sending-back-rohingyas-refugees-from-bangladesh-to-myanmar/articleshow/68788655.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
 Tashkent Agreement, Brittanica, Last Updated on 15th Sept, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/event/Tashkent-Agreement
 Robert Carswell and Richard J. Davis, ‘Economic and Financial Pressures’, in Warren Christopher, American Hostages in Iran: The Conduct of a Crisis, a Council on Foreign Relations Book, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, p. 192, (1985).