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Negotiating Hostages with Terrorists: Paradoxes and Dilemmas

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There are few negotiations where it is so necessary to be fast and effective than in those that deal with hostages. This is an almost unfeasible task that has to be carried out with the most unlikely negotiator, the terrorist, in an extremely hostile context. Considering the issues at stake – the freedom of the hostages and, very often, their lives – a negotiator has to manage many challenges. There are seven dilemmas and paradoxes in reaching agreement. A negotiator has to solve a Shakespearian dilemma, manage contradictory objectives, deal with incompatible rationales, handle the toughness dilemma, come to grips with contradictions between empathy and assertiveness, handle cultural dilemmas, and cope with a moral dilemma.

Affiliations: 1: Processes of International Negotiation (PIN) Program, Clingendael Institute of International RelationsThe


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