Press Release

Talking to Rebels: Panel on the Role of Mediators in Peace Processes

  • Robert Bosch Stiftung to host panel at Munich Security Conference
  • Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ghassan Salamé, UN Special Representative to Libya; and David Harland, Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, on the potential of private and governmental mediation
  • Lasting peace processes require involvement of all relevant actors

Stuttgart, February 14, 2019. Many crises and violent conflicts cannot be resolved without the support of private, non-governmental mediators. In situations with increasingly complex interests and a growing number of actors, various armed groups are often involved in a conflict.

To initiate a lasting peace process, these groups must also be included in negotiations. This is where governmental mediators may reach their limits. At the Munich Security Conference, Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH is presenting a panel on the potential of governmental and private mediators, particularly with a view to involving armed groups, providing insights into the conduct of negotiations during and after the end of violent conflicts.

“Partnerships between private and state actors can be particularly constructive in the field of peacemaking,” explains Sandra Breka, Member of the Board of Management at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “Instead of competing with one another, it is key that the mediators of NGOs, think tanks, multilateral and state representatives coordinate and cooperate in the interests of local needs.”

Since 2016, the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s program has included support for the work of mediators dealing with crises and violent conflicts. Mediation, i.e. serving as a go-between in peace processes, has been recognized for years as a means of sustainable conflict resolution, which contributes to the creation of long-term agreements accepted by all sides in many crises. The success of these agreements depends to a large extent on the success or failure of attempts to create synergies between official and unofficial mediators in the peace process who have access to the actors involved and political influence at various levels.

On the Munich Security Conference panel “Crossing Red Lines: Talking to Armed Groups” on February 16, Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will explain why her country actively supports mediation as a tool of conflict transformation. Ghassan Salamé, the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary General to Libya since 2017, and David Harland, Director of the non-governmental Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, will talk about successful negotiations in Libya and red lines of their work. “In Libya, the United Nations works tirelessly to mediate conflicts of all types and sizes. From reconciliation at a local level, to brokering a national settlement, we have to be constantly engaged,” Salamé says. "But we are also cognizant of our strengths, and where we can be more effective by working with, or through, partners – local and international, governmental and NGOs – to best support the Libyan people.”

The panelists will also discuss practical and ethical challenges of negotiating with non-legitimated armed groups. “The fragmentation of armed conflict makes classic mediation almost impossible,” emphasizes Mr. Harland. “Without a mechanism to engage constituencies beyond the smoky room, most mediations will fail.”

About the event:
Munich Security Conference
Panel: Crossing Red Lines: Talking to Armed Groups
Saturday, February 16, 2019, 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
With Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Ghassan Salamé, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General to Libya
David Harland, Director, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva
Welcome: Sandra Breka, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Venue: Dachgarten 1, Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich

A limited number of seats is available for accredited media representatives.

Your contact person

Press contact
Julia Rommel
Robert Bosch Stiftung
Heidehofstraße 31
70184 Stuttgart
Phone+49 711 46084-750
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