What, in your view, is the most important principle of negotiations? Why?
Negotiations as the approach to conflict resolution in international relations can be effective only when efficient negotiation strategies are used. According to Ross’s rules of negotiation, the main focus should be on the desired outcome, on developing relations of trust, on empathy, and on respecting the sides’ interests and backgrounds1. In this context, the most important principle of negotiations can be formulated as the orientation to the agreement or to the best solution that can respond to the interests and needs of all sides, as is indicated with references to the example of Tulia and Ibad23.
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This principle is working because it is associated with the idea of achieving the best results at lesser costs, and it is supported by Ross’s first rule4. Furthermore, the clear orientation to the agreement contributes to minimizing the risks associated with ‘hard decisions’5.
Diplomats need to be oriented to achieving agreement connected with the concrete best resolution before starting the negotiations6. The collection of the information about the sides is important to understand backgrounds, interests, and motivation in order to formulate all the aspects of the desired agreement carefully. In this case, it is significant to use technologies and focus on each detail of the sides’ backgrounds7,8,9,10,11.
The achievement of the best solution is possible only when the negotiator is responsive and understands the peaceful character of negotiations12. To refer to less cost while achieving agreement, it is necessary to be able to formulate messages efficiently1314. From this point, the discussed principle is most important in the negotiation process because it is directly associated with conflict resolution.
What surprised you about the negotiation process and what would you do differently the next time around?
The negotiation is a challenging process, and in spite of the focus on the concrete details of the expected and desired agreement, it is necessary to be ready to the opposition from the other side. The arguments provided by supporters of different positions can be rather surprising because different aspects are taken into consideration, and one problem can be discussed from a lot of perspectives. Although the necessity of a cease-fire is obvious, the sides can support their positions while referring to unexpected arguments based on their backgrounds. That is why much attention should be paid to formulating the effective principles of the agreement that are based on the careful examination of the sides’ motivation and perspectives15.
In order to achieve higher results during the negotiation process and be able to reach the agreement earlier during the possible following negotiations, it is necessary to calculate all the risks and propose strategies for the conflict resolution only with references to the interests of the opposite sides in order to find those areas where their interests can be similar.
In this case, the concentration on achieving the win-win situation is relevant only when all possible variants of the conflict resolution are carefully analyzed and discussed with the focus on mutual benefits for the sides16. Referring to the experience in negotiations on the conflict between Tulia and Ibad, it is important to change the strategy regarding the choice of the paths to the agreement. The focus on interests for the sides can be more advantageous than the focus on threats because the sides need to know what they can win as a result of the agreement.
Bercovitch, Jacob. “Mediation in International Conflict: An Overview of Theory, A Review of Practice”. In Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods and Techniques, edited by William Zartman and Lewis Rasmussen, 125-154. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997.
Foley, Sean. “The UAE: Political Issues and Security Dilemmas”. MERIA 3, no. 1 (1999): 33-40.
Freeman, Chas. Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. Washington: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1997.
Hocking, Brian, and Jan Melissen. Futures for Diplomacy: Report 1. Clingendael: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 2012.
Kane, Sean. Talking with the Taliban. Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 2015.
Kissinger, Henry. World Order. New York: Penguin, 2014.
Legranzi, Matteo. The GCC and the International Relations of the Gulf: Diplomacy, Security and Economic Coordination in a Changing Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011.
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Mnookin, Robert. Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight. New York: Scribe Publications, 2011.
Morgenthau, Hans. “Diplomacy”. In Diplomacy, edited by Christer Jonsson and Richard Langhorne, 50-74. New York: SAGE, 2004.
Ross, Dennis. Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World. New York: Macmillan, 2007.
Seib, Philip. Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
Yesilada, Birol and Ahmed Sozen. “Negotiating a Resolution to the Cyprus Problem: Is Potential European Union Membership a Blessing or a Curse?” International Negotiation 7, no. 2 (2002): 261–285.
- Dennis Ross, Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World (New York: Macmillan, 2007), 175.
- Brian Hocking and Jan Melissen, Futures for Diplomacy: Report 1 (Clingendael: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 2012), 2.
- Dennis Ross, Statecraft, 176.
- Ibid., 178.
- Robert Mnookin, Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight (New York: Scribe Publications, 2011), 10.
- Birol Yesilada and Ahmed Sozen, “Negotiating a Resolution to the Cyprus Problem: Is Potential European Union Membership a Blessing or a Curse?” International Negotiation 7, no. 2 (2002): 262.
- Hans Morgenthau, “Diplomacy”, in Diplomacy, ed.Christer Jonsson and Richard Langhorne (New York: SAGE, 2004): 67.
- Henry Kissinger, World Order (New York: Penguin, 2014), 154.
- Philip Seib, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 356.
- Sean Kane, Talking with the Taliban (Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 2015), 2.
- Sean Foley, “The UAE: Political Issues and Security Dilemmas”, MERIA 3, no. 1 (1999): 34.
- Jacob Bercovitch, “Mediation in International Conflict: An Overview of Theory, A Review of Practice”, in Peacemaking in International Conflict: Methods and Techniques, ed. William Zartman and Lewis Rasmussen (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997), 128.
- Chas Freeman, Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy (Washington: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1997), 128.
- Matteo Legranzi, The GCC and the International Relations of the Gulf: Diplomacy, Security and Economic Coordination in the Changing Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 12.
- Dennis Ross, Statecraft, 176.
- Chas Freeman, Arts of Power, 130.