Agreements and Cease-Fires
is an inexhaustive list of recent peace accords and cease-fires
arising from protracted ethnic conflicts around the world.
They reveal that despite the headlines of "intractable" ethnic conflicts,
many efforts are being made to manage ethnic conflicts more
effectively. Original texts of a wide range of agreements are also
available in our Peace
Peace Agreements and Cease-Fires in Asia
Peace Agreements and Cease-Fires in Former Soviet Sphere
Peace Agreements and Cease-Fires in Africa
Peace Agreements and Cease-Fires in South and Central America
Peace Agreements and Cease-fires in Asia
In the North
East of India, it has a population of 1.5 million and is India's only
majority Christian state (95%). When the British left India, Nagaland
declared itself independent, a move which Delhi never recognised.
There has been separatist violence ever since with state repression
in return (In total, over 1,000 deaths since 1947). Things are complicated
by significant in-fighting among the separatists along ethnic lines
and the fact that Nagaland is a major route-way for the Burmese drugs
trade. Three underground organisations, including the largest National
Socialist Council of Nagaland Isa-Muivah, agreed to enter into a three
month ceasefire with the Indian Government from 1 August 1997 to facilitate
talks with the Government. The talks, sponsored by an American Baptist
group, are being held in Atlanta (USA). The ceasefire has been subsequently
extended and the government seem open to developing some form of federal
Both India and
Pakistan acquired new Prime Ministers during 1997. Both men have given
signals that they are open to imaginative approaches in their foreign
policies. While foreign minister in a previous government, Indian
Prime Minister Inder Gujral implemented a policy of unilateral concessions
to neighbours in the hope that cordial relations would bring mutual
economic benefits. There has been press speculation that he would
like to extend the 'Gujral Doctrine' to Pakistan. Prime Ministers
Sharif and Gurjal have met three times this year, the first meetings
between Prime Ministers for four years. They agreed to establish a
'hotline', arrange for civilian prisoner exchanges and relax visa
restrictions. Subsequent meetings between their foreign ministers
have led to the formation of working groups to discuss the Kashmir
issue. Speculation on an elite level rapprochement subsided, however,
after Robin Cook's faux pas during a recent visit to the region.
The UN's largest
ever peacekeeping operation facilitated elections in Cambodia in 1993.
They led to a permanent coalition arrangement with two prime ministers.
In July 1997, Cambodia's second Prime Minister, Hun Sen of the Cambodian
People's Party, launched a coup against his coalition partners in
FUNCINPEC. A number of leading FUNCINPEC members were killed and others,
including its leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, have been forced into
exile. Elections are due to be held in 1998. The international community,
having already invested $2bn into securing Cambodian democracy, is
faced with a dilemma: does it refuse to recognise the legitimacy of
elections which Hun Sen will probably rig, or does it offer to help
the electoral process in the hope of rescuing democracy?
A peace treaty
was signed on 18 February 1997 between indigenous Dayaks and Madurese
migrants in the province of west Kalimantan on the Indonesian part
of Borneo. This followed two months of clashes in which at least 20
people died and about 7000 people were forced to flee their homes.
junta, State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and the Karen
National Union (KNU) held four rounds of peace talks between December
1995 and November 1996. These talks collapsed on 31 January 1997 when
SLORC began a major offensive against KNU strongholds, forcing 20,000
people to flee into neighbouring Thailand.
On 7 January
1997, the Government held preliminary talks with the Muslim secessionist
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). MILF had not endorsed the Mindanao
peace agreement signed by the Government and the Moro National Liberation
Front(MNLF) in September 1996. The Government said that it was amenable
to the MILF demand for self-government, but ruled out independence.
A ceasefire was implemented on 23 January to facilitate further negotations.
Peace negotiations were suspended in June following clashes between
the Government and MILF in which at least 50 people died.
Peace Agreements and Cease-fires in the Former Soviet Sphere
collapse conflict between the Tajikistan Government and Islamic rebels
has displaced 900,000 out of population of 6 million. The United Nations
has been sponsoring peace talks between the two sides since 1994.
In December 1996 a peace agreement was signed between the Tajik President
Imamali Rakhmonov and the Islamic leader Siad Abdullo Nuri in Moscow.
This helped reduce tensions but did not lead to a complete end to
violence. In March 1997 the two sides agreed on a four stage plan
leading to a final peace accord in June 1997. The plan involved the
merging of the various armed factions and the armed forces, a power-sharing
arrangement in the Commission for National Reconciliation, prisoner
exchanges and the introduction of amnesty laws. Matters are complicated
by the fact that neither side is in complete charge of its own armed
forces (warlordism is rife) and the danger of an overspill of Taliban
fundamentalism from neighbouring Afghanistan.
After a separatist
war, the Russian and Chechen Presidents have signed a series of peace
agreements. President Yeltsin was anxious to ensure the withdrawal
of Russian troops before the Russian Presidential election. Final
agreement on Cechenya's constitutional status, however, has been postponed
until 2001. Both sides have agreed not to use force and to abide by
the norms of international law, but apart from this matters seem unclear.
Occasional border skirmishes have flared up, leading to the establishment
of a joint commission of investigation. Just to make things clearer,
the Chechen capital, Grozny, was renamed Dzhokhar Ghala, after a dead
been stale-mated since the Armenians successfully grabbed most of
Nagorno-Karabakh in 1992-4. In June 1997, the Minsk Group of the Organisation
for Security Co-operation in Europe(OSCE) submitted a draft peace
plan for Nagorno-Karabakh to the leaders of Armenia, Azerbijan and
Nagorno-Karabakh. It would give the Armenian speaking enclave of Nargorno-Karabakh
autonomous status within Aberbaijan and the right to its own constitution.
The end of the
war was precipitated by a NATO bombardment of Serbian positions, and
post-Dayton, has been secured by 34,000 NATO troops. An extremely
uneasy peace is in place. The Former Yugoslavia is now divided into
three main zones, Serbia, and Muslim and Croat Federations, the latter
two of which are in the process of coming together. There are numerous
sources of instability in the region: internal turmoil in Serbia,
the West's pursuit of 'war criminals', and the West's keenness to
withdraw its troops. The key test, however, is the success of attempts
by ethnically cleansed refugees to reclaim their homes in areas controlled
by other ethnic groups. Of 2.1 million displaced Bosnians, 300,000
have returned home, but only 30,000 have returned to areas controlled
by a different ethnic group.
Peace Agreements and Cease-fires in Africa
of 26 Somali factions met in January 1997 to form a National Salvation
Council as a prelude to the formation of a national unity government.
The Council has subsequently collapsed and reformed a number of times,
but the main problem seems to be the non-participation of Mohammed
Aydid, the leader of one of the most powerful factions.
In 1994 the
UN sponsored Lusaka peace accords were signed between the ruling MPLA
and the guerrilla opposition UNITA. The country still remains divided,
however, with the MPLA controlling the capital and most of the population,
but with UNITA controlling 70% of the territory. Many of the Lusaka
accords (for example, relating to government access to UNITA controlled
territory and the demobilisation of armed groups) have yet to be implemented.
It is hoped that a government of national unity can be formed, but
UNITA, under Jonas Savimi, remains suspicious of MPLA intentions.
The UN peacekeeping force is in the process of withdrawing. UNITA's
main external backer, Mobotu in Zaire, has been replaced by the more
hostile Kabila which could destabilise the power relationship between
UNITA and MPLA. The MPLA has also begun to launch raids into UNITA
controlled territory - especially aimed at the country's diamond mines.
something of a success story. It is four years since the 28 year old
civil war ended and two years since the UN sponsored elections. FRELIMO
and RENAMO seem comfortable with the democratic process.
War between the
Sudanese government and rebel groups in the south and east of the
country has been on-going for the last 13 years. Recently, the largest
guerrilla faction, the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which
is backed by Ethiopia and Eritrea, has been making military gains.
In April 1997, the Government signed peace agreements with a number
of rebel groups, but not with the SPLA. In May, Sudanese President,
Omar al-Bashir, met President Museveni of Uganda for talks mediated
by Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. The two leaders agreed on a new
relationship following a series of border clashes and expressed a
willingness to involve Johnny Garang, the leader of the SPLA, in future
On 18 April 1997,
the Government of Chad signed a peace agreement with the rebel movement
Armed Forces for a Federal Republic (FARF) led by Laokein Barde. A
seven point plan was drawn up which included a general amnesty for
FARF members, their integration into the national army and the civil
service, the transformation of FARF into a political party and the
possibility of establishing a truth and reconciliation commission.
In May 1996
the UN had suspended attempts to conduct a census in advance of a
referendum on the future status of Western Sahara. The mandate for
the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
was due to expire on 31 May 1997. This spurred the UN into attempting
to solve the issue. On 17 March 1997, former US Secretary of State,
James Baker, was appointed as special envoy by the UN Secretary General.
Baker visited the area in April 1997 and the UN extended MINURSO's
mandate. In June 1997, Baker held talks with Moroccan and Western
Saharan delegations in London and then mediated face-to-face talks
between the two groups in Lisbon. [The Economist speculated that this
referendum approach could be replicated for Spain's North African
territories, Melilla and Ceuta, which Morocco claims and Spain doesn't
A peace treaty
was signed in November 1996 to end a six year civil war between government
forces and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). A Commission for
the Considation of Peace was established by the two parties. On 15
March 1997, the leader of the RUF, Foday Sanhok was ousted by his
own party for allegedly 'thwarting the peace process.' Sierra Leone's
President, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, welcomed Sanhok's overthrow and expressed
a willingness to work with the new RUF leadership. A coup by junior
army officers in May 1997 forced President Kabbah to flee, with the
coup leader, Major Johnny Paul Koroma declaring himself head of state
and abolishing political parties. Nigerian led attempts to restore
the civilian regime failed. Massive instability and human rights abuses
followed. On 1 June 1997 Koroma announced the establishment of an
Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) with Foday Sanhok, former
RUF leader, installed as deputy chairman. In mid June, AFRC accepted
the deployment of ECOMOG and UN peacekeepers and a 10 point peace
In August 1996
the Abuja peace agreement was signed between the three largest factions
in Liberia. It was overseen by the Economic Community of West African
States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) which has responsibility for National
Disarmament and Demobilisation Commissions. Demobilisation was due
to be complete by 31 January 1997, but there was a high non-participation
rate. Elections were scheduled for 30 May 1997, with ECOMOG due to
pull-out in November/December 1997. Matters have been complicated
by the emergence of vigilante groups who have been attacking former
combatants in apparent revenge attacks.
Peace Agreements and Cease-fires in South and Central America
between the Mexican Government and the Zapatista National Liberation
Army(EZLN) was reached in February 1996. It covered rights for indigenous
cultures but was not implemented. In November 1996 the EZLN withdrew
from talks with the Government and issued a defiant New Year message.
In June 1997, the Popular Revolutionary Army(ERP), a left-wing guerrilla
group in the southern state of Guerrero, declared a unilateral ceasefire
in order to allow elections to go ahead. It refused to disarm.
After a civil
war which cost 75,000 lives, the story in El Salvador is mainly one
of how the FMLN (previously the left-wing guerrilla force) adapts
to constitutional politics and, equally, how the right wing Arena
Party accommodates its rivals. The FMLN made significant gains in
elections in March 1997, during which Arena attempted to portray them
as unreformed revolutionaries and the FMLN insisted that they were
Social Democrats capable of good governance.
A peace treaty
which was meant to definitively end the 36 year old civil war was
signed between President Alvaro Arzu and rebel leaders in December
1996. The Norwegians acted as mediators. As part of the treaty, the
army is to be cut and an amnesty for the military is to be introduced.
Land reform, bilingualism in education and re-training programmes
for ex-guerrillas are also promised. There are fears, however, that
Guatemala's Indian population (comprising of one third of the population
and with links to the guerrillas) will be the losers in this reform
process. In February 1997 a Truth Commission, headed by a UN official
was established. In June 1997, demobilised troops from the Guatemalan
National Revolutionary Army (URNG) elected a new leadership charged
with transforming the group into a political party capable of achieving
Ever since the
Sandinista's lost power in 1990, Nicaraguan politics has been under-going
a process of normalisation (though not strictly a peace process).