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The Exit Option: Mediation and the Termination of Negotiations in the Northern Ireland Conflict
School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Conflict Management, ISSN 1044-4068, Vol. 24, no 1, 40-55 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the mediation exit option, which is one of the most important tactics available to any third party mediator.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper analyzes a crucial intermediary channel between the Irish Republican Army (hereafter IRA) and the British Government utilizing unique material from the private papers of the intermediary, Brendan Duddy, including diaries that cover periods of intensive communication, extensive interviews with the intermediary and with participants in this communication on both the British Government and Irish Republican sides as well as recently released official papers from the UK National Archives relating to this communication.

Findings – The study reveals how the intermediary channel was used in order to get information, how the third party and the primary parties traded in asymmetries of information, and how the intermediary utilized the information advantage to increase the credibility of his threats of termination.

Research limitations/implications – The study outlines an avenue for further research on the termination dynamics of mediation.

Practical implications – Understanding the conditions for successfully using the exit-option is vital for policy-makers, in particular for peace diplomacy efforts in other contexts than the Northern Ireland one.

Originality/value – The paper challenges previous explanations for why threats by mediators to call off further mediation attempts are successful and argues that a mediator can use the parties' informational dependency on him in order to increase his leverage and push the parties towards settlement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 24, no 1, 40-55 p.
Keyword [en]
Back-channel, Conflict, Mediation, Negotiating, Negotiation, Northern Ireland, Violent conflict
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-141486DOI: 10.1108/10444061311296125ISI: 000316237500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-141486DiVA: diva2:385663
Isak Svenssons RJ-projekt
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Available from: 2011-01-12 Created: 2011-01-12 Last updated: 2013-04-15Bibliographically approved

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