While scholars have spent a good deal of time examining mediation processes, we know very little about unassisted negotiations in the midst of civil disputes. One of the primary goals of this research is to examine the factors that can bring about negotiations aimed at addressing core, underlying issues that brought about armed struggle. In order to do so, a comparative case study of Southeast Asia is presented. We find that unassisted negotiation of core issues can occur in intrastate rivalry under certain conditions. Interestingly, such efforts are unlikely to be won on the battlefield, but rather emerge following regime change or once mediation has paved the way for key issues to be addressed. Negotiations following regime change, while they tend to occur and involve core issues, continue to be influenced and challenged by the legacy of previous resolution efforts and historical memory.