The Impact of Relationship Dynamics on Third-Party Coordination: Perceptions of Third-Party Practitioners in Nepal and the Philippines

In: International Negotiation
Prakash Bhattarai National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago New Zealand G.P.O. Box 5714, Kathmandu Nepal

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A growing field within mediation research explores issues of third-party coordination. The existing literature highlights third-party coordination as a problematic but extremely important conflict intervention strategy, but lacks an in-depth explanation of fundamental aspects of third-party coordination. Considering this research gap, this study explores a fundamental theme related to third-party coordination: the influence of third-party relationship dynamics. This theme is elaborated by means of an analysis of two case studies: the Maoist armed conflict of Nepal and the Moro conflict of the Philippines. My research finds that power differences among third parties, their attitudes towards each other, differences in intervention strategies and priorities, the nature of conflicts, and the actions taken by the conflicting parties are key contextual factors that influence the dynamics of third-party relationships. Successful coordination is more likely when there is interdependence and a sense of respect between third parties.

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