Vol. 25 No. 1 (2005)

Internal War, International Mediation, and Non-Official Diplomacy: Lessons from Mozambique

Richard Jackson
University of Manchester, UK

How to Cite

Jackson, R. (2005). Internal War, International Mediation, and Non-Official Diplomacy: Lessons from Mozambique. Journal of Conflict Studies, 25(1). Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/JCS/article/view/194


The "new wars" of the post-Cold War period pose unique challenges for conflict resolution. Frequently, the international community has tried to manage these conflicts using fairly ad hoc and uncoordinated approaches that, while suited to traditional interstate disputes, are largely ineffective in the deconstructed settings of contemporary internal wars. In this article I attempt to construct an alternative framework for international mediation that could act as a general guide for policy makers. An examination of the Mozambique peace process reveals an important set of lessons. First, non-official mediators – NGOs, churches, prominent individuals – need to be mainstreamed into diplomatic initiatives, particularly in partnership with insider-mediators. Second, there are key roles for mediators in the pre-negotiation phase, such as negotiator training of the rebel representatives who may be inexperienced in diplomatic bargaining. Third, mediation initiatives should be coordinated and sequenced to avoid the frequent problem of mediator "crowdedness." Fourth, high-ranking and powerful third parties like heads of state should be used as impasse-breakers. Fifth, a wide range of technical experts – in the military, constitutional, electoral, economic development fields – need to be included in the agreement design phase of the mediation. Lastly, there needs to be long-term engagement into the implementation and post-conflict reconstruction phases. It is at this point that mediators are most needed, and yet frequently – as in the Middle East – it is at this stage that they are most often absent.