Edited by Paul Jackson
Peace agreements are supposed to lead to peace. Formal agreements that are aimed at ending conflict and creating conditions for sustainable peace have a remarkably patchy history. There have been hundreds of peace agreements, including over 40 comprehensive peace agreements since 1990. The rest cover a variety of measures ranging from ceasefire agreements, interim agreements, preliminary arrangements, framework agreements and implementation agreements. This bewildering array of documentation has had a poor record of actually brining about comprehensive peace. Given that these agreements cover fewer than 90 countries, this provides an average of more than seven per jurisdiction. The way that conflict ends clearly affects the nature and the duration of the peace. Despite the poor record of peace agreements in general, they remain important to peace processes and continue to be regarded as signalling the end of the conflict. Given that relapse into violence is common, full implementation of peace agreements is frequently seen as a key milestone, but, at the same time, peace agreements may be relatively vague, leaving the detail to be worked out in subsequent negotiations. The example of Nepal in this chapter is an example where there was little detail within the peace agreement itself, but the transitional arrangements, including power sharing, were relatively successful in making a transition to a democratic government. The failure of peace agreements in general has been attributed to a number of factors, both national and international.
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