International Mediation, by Paul F. Diehl and J. Michael Greig. Cambridge / Malden: Polity, 2012. 224 pp, £45 hardcover 978-0-7456-5330-3, £16.80 paperback 978-0-7456-5331-0, £11.99 e-book 978-0-7456-6144-5
The profile and use of international mediation as a tool to resolve conflicts has risen in last decades – particularly since the end of the Cold War. The range of actors involved includes states, multilateral organizations such as the UN and the African Union, non-governmental actors at diverse levels, and new bodies such as the Friends of Mediation in the UN General Assembly. As the practice evolves, a growing academic literature on international mediation addresses actors and their tools and strategies, trends, modalities of mediation, and contextual factors that influence the process.
J. Michael Greig and Paul F. Diehl are professors of Political Science with previous important contributions to research on international mediation as a conflict management tool. In this volume they draw upon an extensive review of the relevant contemporary literature, data analysis about mediation, and case studies of historical examples including Bosnia, Burundi, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. The result is a concise but systematic review of international mediation in interstate and civil conflicts. The definition used here is based in the distinguished feature of “the introduction of an outside party into the negotiation process between the disputing sides with, at least partially, the aim of producing a settlement” between them (p. 2). A critical element is its voluntary character, which makes mediation highly dependent on the nature and circumstances of the conflict and its actors.
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