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Enforcing a Turning Point and Imposing a Deal: An Analysis of the Darfur Abuja Negotiations of 2006

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image of International Negotiation

Low expectations and international impatience forced the African Union to shift from a classical integrative approach to negotiations to “deadline diplomacy” during the final months of the Abuja talks between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebel movements. As a result, the AU mediators – who had served as communicators and formulators – assumed the responsibility of manipulators. This transition scuttled plans for gradually arriving at the implementing details for a formula. Instead, acquiescence to power served as the chief reason for the signature of one of the movements, while the mediators showed disinterest and inflexibility in reigning in the other two movements that required a package of additional threats and inducements. Important lessons regarding the credibility of deadlines, the appropriateness of the formula, the necessity of ownership, inclusivity/exclusivity of the talks, and sufficient support for the movements in the prenegotiation and diagnosis phases can be drawn from the Abuja process.

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