From the CIAO Atlas Map of Africa 

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Mediation Activities by non-State Actors: an Account of Sant'Egidio's Initiatives 

Marta Martinelli

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute


How many diplomacies?
Conditions for a successful third party intervention
Track II diplomacy working methods
What is a mediator?
The Mediators' functions
...and his/her qualities
Sant'Egidio's intervention in Mozambique
An Old Friendship
Time for an intervention
First Meeting: Rome, 8-10 July 1990
Second Meeting : Rome, 10-13 August 1990
Third Meeting: Rome, November 9 to December 1, 1990
Third Meeting continued: Rome 19-21 December 1990
Fourth Meeting: Rome 29-31 January 1991
Fifth-Eighth Meetings: Rome, 6 May to 20 December 1991
Ninth Meeting: Rome, January 20 to February 15, 1992
Tenth Round: Rome, June 10 to July 1, 1992
An hostage called Algeria
After 1991
Attempts at a dialogue in Algeria
The economic dimension of the conflict
Echoes from Assisi
Towards Rome II
Reactions to the Pax Romana


In 1993 Bouthros Bouthros-Ghali expressed his admiration for the methods performed by a group of Catholic peace-lovers, called Community of Sant'Egidio, in their attempts at mediating a deep rooted conflict like the one in Mozambique. He said: " The Community of Sant'Egidio has developed techniques which are different but at the same time complementary to those performed by professional peace-makers. The Community has discreetly worked in Mozambique for years, towards a peaceful adjustment to the situation...It has practised its techniques characterised by confidentiality and informality, together and in harmony with the official work of international governments and inter-governmental organisations. Starting from the Mozambican experience the term "Italian formula" is used to explain this mixture, unique in its kind, of commitment to peace, governmental and not. Respect for the parties to the conflict and all those involved in the field is fundamental for these initiatives to be successful" 1 .

This working paper originates from a personal desire of the Author to analyse the role of private citizens' deeds, or of state representatives acting outside the formal governmental power structure, in restoring peace where attempts by official diplomatic channels have failed. It has been the Author's choice to study the case of an Italian Catholic association long committed to the exploration of ways of dialogue between different cultures and religions. Without disregarding other well known non-official mediation initiatives, like those practised by former U. S. president Jimmy Carter (to cite but one example), the Author holds that only the experience of individuals who have never had any formal connection with the state-apparatus, can prove the absolute novelty of Track II diplomacy. 

In particular this work constitutes an attempt at exploring the necessity for official and unofficial diplomats to realise and work towards an effective complementarity of their sources and expertise in order to restore peace wherever this is possible. This has been done with an account of the Community of Sant'Egidio mediative activities in Mozambique and Algeria.

In a world where inter-state conflicts have almost been forgotten but internal ones have increased in number and importance the objective-lawful-oriented approach of formal diplomacy, has to be complemented by an analysis focusing on the subjective changes affecting the parties' perception of the conflict. Action following this analysis will then concentrate on individuals and groups more than on power structures as traditional methods, strongly relying on leverage, have.

More and more there is a need for a framework in which parties can meet without in any way prejudicing their power and bargaining positions, without attracting charges of appeasement or as too ready to look for peaceful solutions. This should be a framework outside the realm of power political relations.

I will start by explaining the differences between formal and informal diplomacies in dealing with that particular aspect of international relations which is represented by a situation of conflict. The reader will be introduced to the term "Track II diplomacy" through a brief explanation of its fields of work and its best known working method consisting of problem solving workshops.

I will then focus more on the mediators' functions and necessary qualities and I will also give a "warning" about the possible "naiveties" in which Track II operators can incur, with the danger of them being used for personal ends by the parties they are working with.

I will then give an account of the Community of Sant'Egidio's mediation experience in Mozambique and Algeria. The choice of these two countries is justified by the fact that Mozambique has been the Community's most important and well known mediative success. It is a case where the Community has performed different roles acting from time to time as a go-between with the parties, as observer, and as mediator. It has carefully balanced its encouragement and suggestions to the parties, effectively timing the entrance of new actors at the negotiating table, exploiting its contacts with the Vatican and the Italian government. Its representatives, namely Andrea Riccardi and Don Matteo Zuppi, have always been present at the parties' meetings sometimes working at around the clock rhythms. Their initiative has received the blessing of the international community.

The Algerian case, instead, can be seen as a "failure" if the judgement of successful mediation relies on its capacity to bring about peace between warring parties. It is clear to everybody that Algeria does not know the gift of peace, yet. It is important to notice, though, that in the Algerian case the Community has only offered the parties a resort where to convene to engage in a constructive dialogue. It is the Community's merit to have understood that no progress can be made in Algeria without giving a voice to all political actors in the country, thus its courageous choice of inviting even FIS representatives to discuss with other Algerian party's leaders about the future of their country. In the Algerian case there has not been any negotiation on substantial issues as the process has gone only as far as the drafting of a "platform" of principles expressing the parties' common desire for peace, their rejection of violence as a way to obtain political power and to hold it, and their commitment to the construction of a truly democratic society resting on respect for human rights. A peculiar characteristic of the dialogue set in Rome among Algerian representatives is that it has been an "helping hand" reached out by a Catholic organisation to join that of representatives from an Islamic country. In the broad context of Christian-Muslim relations it has been a success despite strong criticisms from the Islamic world, which depicted the FIS representatives as victims of a Western plot, and the Community as a "CIA branch" 2 . On the contrary, accepting the Community's invitation, the Islamic Salvation Front has shown an independence not common to other Islamic parties.

A difference with the Mozambican case is also given by the fact that the meetings which gave birth to the "Platform of Sant'Egidio" happened behind closed doors and only among Algerians, without the participation of any other external actor.

Finally, the role of the international actors in Algeria has been crucial in leading to a failure of the Community's initiative. Don Matteo Zuppi states "A third party intervention can fail when the mediator forces the parties to choose a solution instead of another or when he/she imposes his/her own timing without allowing the parties to develop an inner conviction that peace is the best possible solution. Sometimes though it can fail due to external circumstances. As far as our experience in Algeria is concerned, our initiative did not receive enough support from the international community. Even the European countries, despite their formal support, have never put any pressure on the Algerian government for it to become a credible interlocutor at the dialogue with the opposition...Even if it is difficult to judge Boutros-Ghali's behaviour, it is possible that he has identified Egypt's choice not to come to terms with the fundamentalists, with the Algerian choice to repress the Islamic movements..." 3 .

As Christopher Mitchell explains " The process of mediation is customarily carried out by individuals... at the level of the individual the nature of motivations involved can run from a genuinely altruistic desire to bring an end to some conflict regarded as tragic or misguided, to a wish for an increase in personal status and reputation, or for a desire for "a place in history"; rewards may be given by a sense of gratification... by a career advancement... or by a sense of being in a position to affect important events" 4 . Mitchell claims that at the individual level, underlying motivations can be conscious or unconscious. They can range from highly altruistic to those involving any form of personal advancement. While acknowledging that these may exist, it is noteworthy that both Adam Curle (Quaker mediator) and Don Matteo Zuppi stress the necessity that the mediator be not perceived as favouring one outcome instead of another for his/her personal ends 5 . To be viewed as impartial he/she must not take sides but act as striving with  the parties for them to find their own solutions to their shared problem represented by the conflicting situation. If any mediator's interest, it has to be one of aiming at a win-win solution 6 and at maintaining the facilitation process he/she has established. In this sense it is possible to find, in this paper, the terms "facilitator" and "mediator" used in an interchangeable way. However, in this context, the first refers to an activity aimed at facilitating dialogue between the parties providing them with practical means and venues where to convene or acting as go-betweens; the latter presumes a more active role in which the third party intervention is actually part of the "problem-solving process" (the problem being the conflict) and may act as a consultant to the parties suggesting them options and offering them a reading-key that they have been unable to perceive themselves.

How many diplomacies?

Diplomacy as a concept was invented by the Greeks. The roots of the word diplomacy, derived from diplomata  which means "folded documents", suggesting that early diplomats might have performed their services as messengers offering negotiations. Later in time, diplomacy evolved according to the needs of developments in civilisation, technology, and knowledge and to deal with the settlement of disputes and conflicts among states parties of the international system. Although diplomatic representation among states had been practised for a long time, it is only during the fifteenth century that permanent missions between states were established in Europe 7 . Room was provided for the development of customary rules and regulations, which were later embodied in international conventions on the status of the diplomats, their families and embassies staff.

The tasks of modern Track I diplomacy can be understood as:

  1. Providing formal representation: This is the oldest and most important of diplomacy's tasks. It is through its embassies that a nation makes clear and fosters its policies outside its national borders, and is made able to understand and negotiate those of the host nation. This role has assumed new emphasis with the development of international organisations where states representatives are appointed and which allow for the broadening of states' actions from a bilateral to a multilateral level.

  2. Serving as a data collection centre: an embassy gathers information, identifies the key emerging issues affecting domestic or external developments, and sends this information to its own government 8 .

  3. Laying the ground for new diplomatic initiatives: the latter can be suggested by diplomats on the field but are always carried out in strict connection with the instructions that they receive from their home countries 9 .

  4. Containing the escalation of states' disputes into overt conflict or, once the conflict has been triggered and escalated, managing its de-escalation and its resolution. In this case, too, action by official diplomats is carried out following the home country's interests 10 .

  5. Devising many international rules (both of a normative and a regulative kind) that shape the international system.

Because of the democratic control that modern society imposes on political choices, in order to gain support for its actions, official diplomacy often resorts to the concepts of justice and morality. It uses religious, economic, social and nationalistic themes to awaken active consensus. In particular religious derived concepts are often used to conceal "secular" ends. The reader can have an interesting insight of this latter aspect analysing the diplomatic language adopted by the parties during the Gulf War 11 .

Even while dealing with human dramas, official diplomats use their profession's formalities and rituals embodied in diplomatic protocols and shaping diplomatic behaviour, in order to be able to manage them "rationally" and they are trained to act in a realpolitik milieu 12 . This means that they have to lead a rational evaluation and a cool and realistic assessment of the options available to one's own group and to an opposing one 13 . Volkan suggests that "when emotions are allowed to surface in such a way as to remain at a manageable level at which they can be handled by the participants in negotiation, the old, formal diplomacy is likely not only to prove inadequate, but it also might miss opportunities for new insights and even reconciliation" 14 . It is to fill this inadequacy that, especially in the field of conflict resolution, a new form of "diplomacy" has emerged. The awareness that the realm of international relationships is no longer belonging to a small elite group conducting traditional diplomacy, has led to the development of the so called Track II diplomacy. This is an unofficial, informal means made available to members of adversary groups or nations by the deeds of private citizens (church leaders and representatives, professors, members of parliaments, journalists, and businessmen 15 ) that are willing to offer their expertise, personal contacts, and sensitivity in order to help them to resolve their conflict.

It must be understood that Track II diplomacy is by no means a substitute for official, formal, Track I government-to-government or leader-to-leader relationships: unofficial diplomats will never have the same access to economic and power resources as official ones have. Track II activity can be viewed as designed to assist official leaders by compensating for the constraints imposed upon them by the psychological and political need for leaders to be seen as strong, wary and indomitable in the face of the enemy 16 . A political leader invariably represents a constituency. If there is great tension in a political conflict this constituency will experience a greater need for effective, strong leadership 17 . A leader who takes risks for peace without his constituents being prepared for it could lose his political base or, as has happened to the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat , his life.

Furthermore governments and their representatives can find it difficult to change their course of action quickly to respond to new situations. They may have committed their prestige, other people's lives and a great amount of money to a course of action and they might be not easily opened to new ideas. In this case an advantage of Track II diplomacy consists in the fact that it can activate communication channels, without the leaders having to confer official recognition to them. Track II diplomacy is a process designed to assist official leaders to resolve or, to manage conflicts by exploring possible solutions out of the public view and without the requirements of formal negotiation or bargaining for advantage. It complements official diplomacy in helping changing attitudes, exploring new opportunities and broadening social awareness 18 . At a more general level, it seeks to promote an environment in a political community, through the education of public opinion that would make it safer for political leaders to take risks for peace 19 . In this context it is perhaps more appropriate to speak of "multi-track" diplomacy, meaning not only activities that resemble those performed by official diplomats (such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration etc.), but any kind of action aimed at influencing decision makers and at increasing the level of shared values in the international community. Broadly speaking, it is possible to talk of multi-track diplomacy referring to cultural relations' programmes among states, or to the work of ad-hoc groups of experts or businessmen, as well as international non-governmental organisations and opinion groups 20 . These provide an institutionalised space where men and women of different nations can meet, compare and enjoy a process of deep dialogue this way responding to the first concern of unofficial diplomacy 21 , the result of which can prove significant in influencing decision makers.

Conditions for a successful third party intervention

In the case of Track II diplomacy aimed at conflict resolution scholars have different opinions about when one can speak of successful intermediary intervention. These opinions can broadly be said to be of a minimalist or maximalist kind. In the first case success is seen as a situation in which both parties to the conflict formally or informally accept a mediator and a mediative attempt within five days after the first attempt 22 . On the other hand a maximalist view maintains that successful outcomes can be said to be the production of a cease-fire, a partial settlement or a full settlement 23 . Others focus on the equation between mediation success and effectiveness taking the mediator's (or the parties') objectives as their starting point.

The success of an attempt at mediation depends also on the proper timing of mediation initiatives 24 . According to one view, which supports late entry, mediation is most fruitful when failure to reach an agreement is precipitating an emergency. On the contrary some think that mediation needs to be initiated at an early stage, i.e. well before the adversaries cross a threshold of violence and begin to inflict heavy losses on each other, which makes them more and more inflexible.

Other analysts focus on the logic of the events in order to make an assessment of the right timing entry of the mediators. In this case what matters is the parties' perception of each other. Thus a conflict would be ripe for resolution when a) a mutually hurting stalemate exists; b) unilateral solutions proposed by the parties have failed and bilateral solutions can begin to be considered; c) there is an ongoing shifting of power so that the party that had the upper hand at the beginning in now slipping and the underdog starts rising 25 .

Another characteristic thought to be important for the outcomes of mediation concerns the issues at stake. These can be listed as follows: a) sovereignty issues, involving adversaries with incompatible claims to a specific piece of a territory; b) ideology issues, in which the parties disagree on the nature of a political system or/and on basic values and beliefs; c) security issues, concerning the stability of the system designed to embody and actuate the issues named in b); d) issues of self-determination and national selfhood 26 . It is argued that some issues, such as those arising from deep rooted values or ideologies, are basically zero-sum, leaving no room for assisted negotiation, while more interest-related ones would be more easily manageable in a mediative attempt. However, some authors think that it is possible to split the problem into different, more negotiable sub-units. Fisher states that where no permanent agreement is possible, perhaps a provisional one is. The parties can start on agreeing on what they disagree about (which is not always so obvious) making clearer the issues they are disputing on. They could later try a partial agreement, involving fewer parties, covering only selected subject matters, applying it only to some geographical areas, or testing it within a limited amount of time. This ways the mediators can challenge the parties to devise new solutions and to explore those sub-issues where a co-operative behaviour is possible 27 .

Track II diplomacy working methods

The most complex and sensitive activity in Track II diplomacy is dealing with leaders or their representatives in small problem solving workshops. Over the last 15 years or so, a significant number of these workshops have been held on the Northern Ireland, Arab-Israeli, Cypriot, Sri-Lankan, Falkland/Malvinas, and internal Lebanon conflicts. This working method implies exploration, analysis and understanding and not merely the process of bargaining and it suggests that all parties concerned have to get down to the analytical job of problem solving. It suggests that the participants need to move from perceiving each other as opponents to working together as collaborators towards resolution of their problem 28 .

The most efficient and productive way to organise and run facilitated workshops is a matter of ongoing research, and is still not definitive how the positive results of a workshop can be used to resolve a real conflict.

Usually a workshop is held at a neutral site, most often a third country, away from everyday interruptions. Representatives of adversary groups and the third party or facilitator groups reside there together, usually in a hotel or a resort, for a period of three to five days. Participants meet in plenary sessions and sometimes break up into small working groups. Usually a team of consultants (but Burton calls them "instructors or tutors") works with them to improve communication, diagnose underlying relationship issues, and facilitate the search toward creative resolution of the conflict. This kind of performance on the intermediary part is not mediation, yet. It is rather defined as "consultation" and it consists in analysing and de-escalating needs and conflicting interests to the point where mediation of the issues found out to be at stake are more likely to be mediated successfully. On the other hand mediation in itself involves interventions by credible and competent intermediaries who assist the parties in working toward a negotiated settlement on substantive issues through persuasion, the control of information, the suggestion of alternatives, and, in some cases, the application of leverage 29 .

In the problem-solving workshops it is quite common for leaders to develop a vastly expanded understanding of a conflict and of the psychological aspects to be mastered before it can be resolved. But these leaders are compelled to re-enter the political environment of their constituents, who have not had the opportunity of a first hand discussion to gain insights from the workshop experience. Unless the overall political environment comes to reflect (to some extent) the enhanced knowledge and new sensitivity gained by leaders, the latter are very likely to confront strong resistance when they try to take action based on their new insights. An advantage of the workshop technique is that in case of criticisms, decision-makers can disown it as an event in which all participants were acting as private individuals 30 .

In official diplomacy, in which each participant is obligated to follow the instructions of its government, empathy for the enemy is considered undesirable, and there is little room for the expression of emotions. In unofficial diplomacy, especially when a process develops over a series of meetings, the expression of emotions signals new understanding of the conflict at issue. Although emotional responses promote a more human approach, they must not be indulged to the point of clouding reality issues. An experienced catalyst group can "tame" them by absorbing what is excessive, acknowledging hurts, and finding similarities between the feelings of antagonistic groups. "Tamed" emotions open up new areas for exploration 31 . The real negotiation then can have place taking emotions into account but moving on from them to deal with objectively defined issues.

This is better done with the method of the "controlled communication". In a context of controlled communication suggestions and recommendations are not within the role of the third party. Rather, controlled communication seeks to provide the parties with insights into their own behaviour and that of their opponents. Among its main functions is to present the conflict as a problem to be solved and not as a context to be won 32 .

Track II diplomacy shows all its novelty and merits when it allows private citizens to intervene effectively in inter or intra-state conflicts. Nevertheless it is clear that private citizens alone do not have all the means, the status or the resources to warrant and guard a peace-agreement: official diplomacy entry on the stage will sooner or later be necessary anyway.

In comparison with official diplomacy, then, the merits and shortcomings of non-official diplomacy can be expressed as follows:

  1. Informal contacts between countries are pervasive and diverse: informal contacts can communicate extremely diverse citizen perspectives. These may not always be balanced or accurate or objective, but they may provide useful confirmation of official perspectives or they can also cause officials to re-think their own perspectives. This highlights the importance of continuous contacts between the citizens and the governmental level 33 .

  2. Non-official contacts provide an opportunity to try out new ideas: in dealing with troublesome problems it is often useful to find some mechanisms by which new ideas can be tried out with minimal risk. Officialdom may be very inhibited about trying out ideas because they might be seen as sending more of a signal than they originally meant. But people involved in unofficial communications have to understand that they have to be willing to be disavowed. One of the merits of the informal approach is that it may offer a way of beginning a process of revising official policy with minimal risk and without loss of face thus allowing for maximum flexibility 34 . In this framework the parties have no obligation whatsoever to arrive at solutions and they are not committed to giving up their military or other bargaining position that they may hold.

  3. Officials may be helped to face unpleasant facts: informal contacts can be a means of helping one side or the other or both to face awkward or unpleasant facts that are difficult to be dealt with honestly and openly in a direct official confrontation 35 .

  4. Informal diplomacy creates the atmosphere for formal negotiations: at a certain point non-official communication has to be followed by official contacts, but these are made possible in the measure in which non-official-ones are successful in creating the setting and the conditions for formal contacts to prove fruitful. As seen above this is made possible by the fact that unofficial diplomacy does not have to worry about "giving recognition", media fall out (it can always be disavowed), and domestic constituencies (unofficial diplomats are not acting in representation of anybody). Also, in the framework of unofficial diplomacy, the parties remain their own decision-makers, with equality of free decision making, right to the point of agreement.

Together with undoubted advantages, Track II diplomacy can present some weaknesses:

  1. Lack of preparation can cause problems: not all those involved in unofficial activities have a deep knowledge and a good background, and they might feel that "good will" compensate for the lack of culture. Related to this is the fact that informal diplomats often have an imperfect understanding of official policies, and official political choices as well as foreign policy objectives.

  2. Track II diplomats can be manipulated: because of the ambiguous role of playing with two contenders, informal diplomats can become the targets of the parties' manipulations for misinformation purposes 36 .

  3. Track II efforts can become a shield to hide governments' inertia: sometimes governments which should take direct steps to carry out negotiations are not really willing to do it, but cannot be seen to do so. In this case it can happen that intermediaries are used to play games that do not contribute anything in the long run 37 . It can be much more so due to the fact that unofficial diplomats cannot practise any clout or leverage in order to change events, they have very little capacity so support the process of implementation designed in the peace agreement and no power to confer any diplomatic legitimacy on any agreement.

What is a mediator?

Mediators, as the word implies, are in the middle. They are in the centre of a conflict, deeply involved in it because they are trying to find a satisfactory way out of it, but neither on one side, nor on the other. Acting as third parties, mediators are external to the conflict (meaning that they are not directly involved in the dynamics of it) but they interpose between the conflicting parties in order to help them in their conflict management efforts. This usually occurs when (a) a conflict is long, drawn out and complex, (b) the parties have reached a deadlock with their own conflict management efforts 38 , (c) continuation of the conflict is seen as an exacerbating factor by all concerned, (sometimes referred to as conflict fatigue) and (d) there exists some premise for communication or co-operation between the parties 39 .

What mediators do is to act as an instrument trying to establish or re-establish sufficiently good communications between conflicting parties, so that they can talk sensibly to each other without being biased by such emotions as anger, fear and suspicion. Because they are expected to facilitate dialogue between conflicting parties, they should help the parties by providing reliable means of communication, by helping them to re-formulate their ideas into clearer patterns and more precise terms (sometimes summarising statements and asking direct or indirect questions), or by suggesting a non-threatening or neutral language. Most of all they help the parties to listen to each other in order to unlock the issues at stake 40 . Using the process of dialogue means preparing and educating the parties to peace.

What has been stated above makes it clear that mediators are not negotiators. Negotiators are concerned with the nature and details of any settlement being considered and with the bargaining by which it is achieved. The purpose of negotiation is to resolve a disagreement on one or more particular issues between two or more parties. Yet in order for negotiation to occur at all, the contending parties must agree on the most general objective: the necessity to convene in order to resolve these differences. As Arthur Lall states this is the "irreducible minimum objective" on which parties must agree before negotiations can proceed 41 . This leads to the consideration that it is necessary for the parties to give their expressed consent to any attempt at mediation eventually leading to the negotiated settlement of their conflicting interests 42 . Only when the process of mediation is accepted by both parties, is it possible to focus attention on practical issues which need to be negotiated upon.

Most of the times negotiators act in order to represent and defend each party's interests and are, therefore, considered by no means impartial. Mediators, on the other hand, have no partisan view on the character of a resolution. They would consider it improper interference to promote their own solution; their job is to facilitate an acceptable one by helping to clear away obstacles of prejudice and misunderstanding that impede the protagonists in reaching an agreement together 43 .

A major feature of this sort of mediation is its long duration, often running on for several years. It is important to notice that there is a substantive difference between regulating and terminating a conflict and reaching a real settlement of the underlying  issues 44 . Thus, amongst the greatest virtues for mediators, are hope and patience. Whilst working in order to create room for negotiation, settlement and the eventual restoration of fully peaceful relations, the mediators will facilitate and experience significant stages, such as the changes of vision rather than the signing of agreements that result from them, the gradual erosion of fear, antipathy and suspicion, and the slow shift of public opinion. Consequently, becoming associated with such mediation is to make a commitment in a scene of conflict which must be continual and be ready to be engaged for its resolution for a significant period of time 45 .

The Mediators' functions

The basis of third party involvement is voluntary and its intervention is of an ad-hoc nature. A third party brings with it certain ideas, knowledge, and assumptions, all of which are designed to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Not only mediators act as a go-between in relation to conflicting parties, but they also offer practical forms of support for the dialogue to be realised assuring the parties that the process will be dealt with confidentiality and secrecy 46 . One of the first steps to be taken is that of defining the status of the parties involved 47 . The definition of the status held by the parties leads to the apparently insignificant step of deciding the seating arrangements. The seating arrangement can be especially difficult when the relative status of the parties is in doubt. The arrangement agreed upon may serve to confer a particular status to certain parties 48 .

A possible subsequent way of helping is by providing a physical space for the parties to meet and material support for the delegations (the meeting environment is usually a neutral and conformable location); another way of doing so is advising the delegations on technical subjects, and helping them identify, develop and choose better options 49 .

In order to organise the peace process the parties must be willing to delegate a certain amount of authority to the mediators. This does not  mean though, that they hand over their decision making capacity to the intermediaries but simply that they allow the mediators to effectively manage the process  of negotiation without ever lessening the parties level of participation and final decision making. Following this, mediators can set and influence the agenda of the talks and they can arrange the order of work or set deadlines. They can change the number of participants, perhaps bringing in more parties to have additional interests represented at the table (seeking the consent of the parties before making such changes), they can also insist that drafts be prepared in joint working groups instead of being reviewed by the delegations in separate consultations with the mediators 50 .

An important part of the mediator's work consists in regulating the publicity or openness of the negotiation. By keeping the disputants separate from various audiences and constituents, the mediator can reduce the pressure experienced by the parties, which in turn will feel more prepared to discuss concessions 51 .

When setting an agenda for the talks, the mediators also arrange the order of the timelines. More specifically they can decide:

  1. The order in which issues are discussed.  The mediators help identify different issues and explore various options for a solution. Among the first questions to be considered are if issues must be analysed separately or grouped together. Discussing each issue separately before the next issue is raised can make it very difficult to identify trade-offs. On the other hand, discussing them all together before any commitment is made makes it very hard to build trust. The mediators must be able to move between these two extremes leading the parties to take irreversible steps as early as possible 52 .

  2. The order in which commitments are made.  When mediators have a control over the agenda, they may be able to put less controversial issues first, so that the parties build up some faith on the negotiation process 53 . Usually easy commitments are agreed first, contributing at the same time to the development of a framework for subsequent, more complex agreements 54 .

  3. The order of implementation.  Although it is possible to speak of proper implementation only after a settlement has been concluded, some agreed actions are actually undertaken before an agreed overall peace accord. Thus, one of the most important responsibilities for mediators consists in setting the order for implementing the individual parts in the course of a peace process 55 .

After having set the sequence of events, mediators have to keep the process moving forward. They can experience some difficulty in generating and keeping momentum meaning with this term the belief that future agreements are necessary and possible. Without such a belief one or the other of the parties can loose hope in the possibility of reaching a co-ordinated agreement and either break off or turn to competitive behaviour 56 . This task can be particularly difficult for the mediators when the parties, moving away from the conflict field, lose any sense of urgency.

...and his/her qualities

In order to be able to perform all the activities described above, the mediator must possess some qualities and credible resources.

A third party must be a professionally experienced person whose motives for intervention are not related to his/her desire to dominate the parties, but rather to bring them together and help them resolve their conflict. As Adam Curle notes "the sole mediator's motivation is concern for the suffering occasioned to both sides by the conflict, and determination to do everything in their power to reduce it. They are not concerned with who wins or loses, they do not take sides, considering the only enemy to be war and the waste and suffering it brings; they are consistent in their honesty, concern and good will" 57 .

Mediators must be creative and precise, patient and determined. They must be able to guess when the situation is ripe for the parties to adopt a flexible attitude, and when there is an effective possibility of intervention 58 .

They must possess a general, wide education and knowledge of the country they are going to work in, and a deep knowledge of the specific issue they are going to mediate. They must be good planners in order to set an order of action; they must be able to think strategically under pressure; they must have a deep understanding of people coming from different cultural background and an ability and willingness to work in a team and to establish a dialogue. When facing parties who have committed horrendous crimes, they must be able to overcome the natural instinct to judge and look for the intrinsic human value (that we all share), of their interlocutor.

Many of these characteristics are personal, natural gifts but it is possible to develop some of them by being aware that it is necessary to develop (a) some professional requirements; (b) a deep psychological analysis of one's self; (c) a general knowledge of negotiating techniques.

a) The professional requirements are met with the development of a general education and a specific knowledge of the issue they are asked to intervene in; the more the experience gained on the field, the more the professional ability of the mediator is enhanced. Sometimes (if not always), for the mediator's professionality to be recognised and appreciated, it is necessary that he/she be identified with an organisation of known impartiality and established expertise in the field of interpersonal conflict 59 . The more the professional qualities of the mediators are recognised, the more the parties will accept to delegate him/her power over the management of the peace process.

b) A careful psychological preparation leads to the awareness that individuals act according to intellectual, sentimental, and instinctual patterns. This can bring about rational/controlled reactions; or emotive/non-elaborated reactions; or unconscious/non-controlled reactions 60 . Consequently the mediator must: 1) know him/herself; 2) be able to relate to him/herself, the others, the events (giving them the right relative value), and to the operational environment; 3) be able to communicate identifying the so called "allowed level of communications" (i.e. if the interlocutor adopts a rational language and behaviour the mediator has to do the same). Together with this, he/she must be able to contribute to an understanding of the relationship between perceptions, feelings and behaviours experienced by the parties.

c) A general knowledge of negotiating techniques is acquired by studying the relevant literature but, once the negotiator knows the specific issue he/she is going to deal with, it is important that he/she knows if there have been precedent, similar cases and how they have been resolved. It is also important to be able to focus on the problems that need a solution rather than on the persons who have caused them (adopting a demanding attitude towards the resolution of the issues at stake, but a flexible approach to the people involved), and on the interest to co-operation rather than on the parties' positions 61 . The mediator must try and split the problem into different phases following an ideal agenda, which must not be too rigid; he/she must investigate the interests on the table and be able to guess in advance the parties' objectives. Whilst being imaginative in making suggestions in order to facilitate solutions, he/she must never adopt a directive attitude putting pressure on the parties to accept a specific outcome.

It may be of interest to consider the way in which mediation begins. Sometimes an organisation, or perhaps an individual, is directly approached because of his/her reputation, and asked to mediate at times on a very specific issue. The initiative could also be taken by an individual directly involved in the conflict and with good contacts with an influential third party which could already be present in the field (for instance in the form of a relief agency) or could be interested in acting in that particular area. When the individual belongs to an organisation he/she discusses the issue with the appropriate group within the organisation and will receive information on the priority/feasibility of the project. If the organisation decides to go ahead with it, further research and contacts with experts will be established before speaking of a proper mediation intervention. The very first step is an analysis of the situation (what Bercovitch calls "diagnosis" 62 ). This may be done explicitly or implicitly, but it is a necessary step because the parties involved tend to conduct a misleading self-diagnosis of the conflict. One way of starting the analysis is called conflict mapping, and it consists in drawing an actual map of the conflict and selecting the various issues, groupings and leaders. Other forms begin with overlapping circles or depictions of communications, influence, or interdependence. Whatever the particular method, the point is to examine the situation rigorously, looking for alternative and unexplored points or issues of blockage, and identifying possibilities for an intervention or ways to build across the divide. The value of the analysis resides in highlighting the facts of the matter in order to strive towards an agreement within a defined framework 63 .

Academic analyses are only one point of this process but the most important insights seem to come from people very close to the problems. In most conflicts there seem to be a vast network of people similarly affected by the conflict and willing to discuss it endlessly, from every possible standpoint 64 . The mediator finds people with all sorts of viewpoints and tests hypotheses on them.

The map, whether physically drawn or not, will be consulted again and again and will be adjusted according to the occurring changes. The mediators look for indications of timing, movement and connections, often working towards the vaguest and remotest of possible outcomes. The analysis suggests vast numbers of shifting possibilities and the mediator works to make a few of them become more possible 65 .

One crucial element in the analysis is the identification of points of intervention, and these points are usually people. Time limitations and programme objectives oblige observators/mediators to select contacts according to criteria, which are partly instrumental or judgmental, such as:

a) Who is in a position of leadership or influence?

b) Whom does the mediator already know or have access to?

c) Whom might she/he be introduced to by other contacts?

d) Who seem frustrated by the lack of communication?

e) Who seems willing to consider alternatives?

f) Who is likely to be opened to the process of mediation?

By these or similar criteria the mediator will chose particular individuals on each side to contact, with hopes of beginning to build a relationship 66 .


One of the prerequisites for mediators is that they be trusted. This can be defined either negatively or positively: that they can be trusted NOT to favour one side over another, or that they be trusted to understand EACH side sympathetically. Often, attention is focused at meeting the negative criterion at the expense of the positive; indeed in polarised situations, the problem may most often be expressed and thought of in negative, suspicious terms. This is due to the fact that if an intervening part is perceived as supporting one side or the other, it loses its status as a third party and becomes more and more assimilated to one or the other of the antagonists for all practical purposes. In most cases the possibility for a mediator to play a significant role depends on him/her being perceived as an impartial participator by the parties. In the contest of mediation practises it is important to point out the distinction between impartiality and neutrality, two terms that are often used implying the same thing. Though aware of the never ending debate surrounding these two concepts, I am going to use, here, Oran Young's elaboration. He observes: "impartiality  refers to a situation in which the third party favours neither side to a crisis and remain indifferent to the gains and losses of each side. Neutrality  on the other hand, refers to the situation in which the effects of the actions of a third party can be said to have no influence toward terminating a crisis more in favour of one side than the other. (It follows that) It is reasonable to expect substantial impartiality from a third party. But the very fact of intervening in a crisis at all makes strict neutrality virtually impossible to attain." 67

At a very initial stage, the task of peace making is a psychological one. Nevertheless, in circumstances of conflict there is a great room for emotions to take over. Dislike becomes phobia; suspicion becomes paranoia. These feelings are reciprocal. Each party considers itself as honest and peace-loving, but forced to take up arms by the violence of the other.

This means that all information is twisted to serve the ends of this ideology of suspicion.  Thus although a great deal of accurate information may be available, it is read through distorted lenses and falsely interpreted as an added verification of the completely negative view of the enemy or of his lack of interest in a settlement 68 . In this case the efforts of a third party will be aimed at maintaining neutral channels of communication for the protagonists and in acting as a go-between capable of delivering undistorted messages to both sides 69 .

Sometimes, it is felt that anyone who have met with any of the participants or said anything about the situation is inevitably partisan. This view can produce the suggestion that the ideal candidate to mediate know nothing about the situation and the protagonists, in order to guarantee impartiality.

Most mediators, on the contrary, stress the positive definition. What is needed is what has sometimes been called "balanced impartiality", that is, being attached to and concerned about all sides rather than one. This requires a new way of thinking about partiality. Rather than defining sympathy or attachment by whom it excludes, it accepts that one can care about each side and each individual without shifting the balance unfairly in their direction 70 .

People who are deeply engaged in conflict, particularly the leaders, are often the first to recognise their need to know and understand their opponents. The mediator offers them the opportunity to do this in an indirect and confidential way that will not compromise their position with their own side. But the mediator must also be looking for the right time and opportunity for the opponents to meet directly, to experience directly the sharing of experiences and the building of a shared reality 71 .

The politicians have various reasons for agreeing to an initial meeting, and they maintain contact because they find it helpful, whether politically, personally or both. Over time, as the parties get to know each other, they are able to become more human with each other and to build up links that are trusted and resilient 72 .

First meetings are often limited to the promulgation of the party line. Like the rest of us, politicians keep repeating themselves until they are sure they have been heard. In a polarised abnormal situation, it is difficult to believe that anyone will listen to more than one side. So, they begin with formal statements, expecting to be met with either agreement or hostility. The mediator's careful listening and checking, seeking of experiences behind the political positions, and gradual introduction of different views and experiences, help to build a relationship that may enable the politician to take the next step. The next step must appear as one that is an outgrowth of the relationship in the context of larger events, but not as a manipulation of trust 73 .

Sant'Egidio's intervention in Mozambique

On October 4, 1992, in the main conference room at the Farnesina, Italy's Foreign Ministry, Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique, and Afonso Dhlakama, president of RENAMO, signed an agreement to end the war between the guerrilla and the government, which had tormented Mozambique for fifteen years.

With them there were the four people who had made the agreement possible: Mario Raffaelli, the Italian MP who led the team of mediators; Don Jaime Goncalves, Archbishop of Beira; Professor Andrea Riccardi, president of the Community of Sant'Egidio; and Don Matteo Zuppi a priest member of the Community.

The negotiations between the parties had lasted for two years and they had been managed by the Community, with the help of representatives of various governments (ten in total) which intervened in different moments, and the UN Secretary-General 74 .

The merit of the unique composition in the team of mediators, is that because they were non-state actors, they managed to work out the "status" issue which had until then paralysed any contact between the government and the rebels. Sant'Egidio's mediation helped to transform this enemy-to-enemy relationship into a pattern of dialogue that over time led to an agenda and a series of protocols and accords.

Their success showed the necessity that official mediation be complemented by unofficial initiatives and vice-versa. During all the time of the mediation and negotiation processes, official diplomats discreetly helped in formulating the sequence of issues to be addressed and the steps to be taken on military and constitutional issues. The Community of Sant'Egidio was much aware that it was not a group of experienced diplomats and it needed direction. On the other hand it is to ascribe to the official diplomats' merit, that they understood the limits of their profession and humbly stood side by side with this group of peace-loving adventurers.

An Old Friendship

Sant'Egidio's interest for Mozambique dates as back as 1976, when a young Mozambican bishop, Jaime Goncalves, first visited the Community in Rome 75 .

The bishop told its members of the difficulties met by the Catholic Church in Mozambique. Goncalves, desirous of maintaining some form of dialogue with the government, visited Tanzania's president, Nyerere, to ask him to exert some pressure on Frelimo in order to improve the with Catholics' conditions in the country 76 .

In the same years Italy had a strong presence in Mozambique. Strategically close to Portugal and Africa, it had served as a meeting point for FRELIMO's representative at various occasions. Besides, Italy was the main donor of the country, before Sweden, the IMF, the United States, the EEC, Holland, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and Canada 77 . The Italian left party was very close to FRELIMO, both ideologically, and because Mozambique was seen as an African "laboratory" for the real socialism 78 . The then Communist leader, Enrico Berlinguer, had stated that the Italian Communist Party (PCI), was a lay and democratic party and as such it was neither theist, nor atheist, nor anti-theist. When Goncalves reported on condition of the church in Mozambique to his friends Andrea Riccardi and Matteo Zuppi suggested using the PCI's influence on Mozambique. Goncalves met Berlinguer twice in 1982 and in 1984. Berlinguer was shocked at Goncalves reports on the situation in Mozambique and scandalised that church bells could not be rang to call people to church. Despite the fact that it did not promise anything substantial, the PCI's interest in the freedom of religious expression in Mozambique helped a distension of the relationship between the Church and FRELIMO 79 .

In 1984 Mozambique was in urgent need of humanitarian aid due to the famine and the drought. Goncalves appealed to his Italian friends and Sant'Egidio set up a program to deliver food, medicines and materials for the country's development.

In connection with this in August 1984 Riccardi and Zuppi were received by three Mozambican ministers: Aranda Da Silva (then minister for the Internal Commerce), Chissano (minister of Foreign Affairs), and Monteiro (minister for Interior Matters) 80 . Whilst working for the country's development, Sant'Egidio also promoted confidential meetings between Maputo and the Vatican 81 . After the death of Samora Machel, in October 1986, Joaquim Chissano becomes the new Mozabican president. Less impulsive and more diplomatic than Machel, Chissano met some Catholic bishops in 1988 and informally allowed them to look for contacts with the guerrilla's leaders, with the explicit mandate that they exclude any formal recognition of a political status to RENAMO.

In September 1988 the Pope visited Mozambique. After the Pope's visit, Sant'Egidio efforts for a better relationship between the Government and the Church in Mozambique, lead to reciprocal respect and tolerance 82 .

Chissano also tried a solution to the problems with RENAMO, which consisted in offering the guerrillas an amnesty program to begin on January 1, 1988. This did not prove enough though, as it did not solve the main cause of the conflict: a question of status and legitimacy; the state-controlled media continued to refer to RENAMO members as "bandidos armados" (armed bandits) and as late as December 1988 Chissano refused to negotiate with RENAMO because they were "murderers" 83 .

In 1989 many factors were affecting the climate in the Southern African region: among these the ending of the cold war, the departure of Cuban troops from Angola, and the implementation of the UN plan for Namibia's transition to independence. Both sides to the Mozambican conflict had to re-think of their positions and to explore alternatives to their conflict. There was also a basic misunderstanding on FRELIMO's part of the nature of RENAMO: the Government was convinced that RENAMO was only a puppet in South Africa's hands and that, once ANC had gone to power there, RENAMO would have disappeared at once. This opinion was due to the fact that RENAMO had no political program and it was not credible as a counterpart to FRELIMO: because it had a scarcely developed infrastructure. RENAMO could not possibly be a civil alternative to FRELIMO 84 .

Time for an intervention

Though in contact with FRELIMO, Sant'Egidio was aware that it was necessary to have a direct understanding of RENAMO's men in order to think of a way of bringing peace to Mozambique.

It happened that Don Matteo Zuppi had met a Mozambican artist resident in Rome. She was married to an Italian, Juanito Bertuzzi, who had contacts with RENAMO representatives 85 . Bertuzzi advocated that he could set up a communication channel between the Community and Artur Da Fonseca, RENAMO's representative in Germany. Zuppi and Riccardi needed to have proof of Da Fonseca's status and degree of connection with the organisation in Mozambique. In particular, they needed to establish if Da Fonseca had direct access to Dhlakama and they asked the liberation of a nun who had been kidnapped by RENAMO on 13 December 1987 86 . The nun was actually freed on the agreed date, the 25th of April 1988 87 .

Following this, a first meeting between Goncalves and Da Fonseca was arranged on 29 April 1988. Da Fonseca expressed Dhlakama's desire of meeting Goncalves personally. This actually happened during a night between the end of May and the beginning of June. In the middle of the forest in Gorongosa, Goncalves and Dhlakama sas at a campfire to discuss of democracy, peace and free elections 88 . At the meeting Dhlakama designated Da Fonseca as his spokesman.

On 5 October 1988 Da Fonseca wrote a letter to Chissano. He suggested a meeting between the two parties' delegations to explore the possibility for a peace agreement, in a Mozambican friendly country and with the brokering of "adequate" personalities such as the Portuguese president Soares, or the Kenyan Arap Moi. After Chissano's acceptance many meetings took place in Nairobi between delegations of the two parties in Spring and Summer 1989. These meetings though were never direct and the dialogue was possible only thanks to common contacts. The reason for this was that the government refused to recognise any status to RENAMO. On 8 August 1989 the government's delegation in Nairobi presented a twelve-points paper prepared by Chissano. The document stated that: "all terrorist and banditry activities must cease (point 3); political, economic, social and cultural reforms will take place upon normalisation of the country and all insurgents will be re-integrated in civil society (point 4); scope of the dialogue is the understanding of all different forces in the Mozambican society and the offer guarantees of participation to everybody, even those responsible for destabilising the country (point 6); individual and social freedoms will be granted to everybody. The same freedoms cannot be used to destroy the national unity and to encourage any form of racism or discrimination on tribal or regional grounds (point 8)" 89 .

It was badly received by RENAMO. The name of the association was never mentioned and it vaguely spoke of a possible reintegration of the former insurgents into society without specifying if they would have had access to public offices 90 . RENAMO answered to Chissano's document with a sixteen-points draft. The main lines were: the recognition of RENAMO as a political movement; a reform of the Mozambican state through a re-drafting of the Constitution; a negotiated peace subordinated to the departure of foreign troops from Mozambican territory (point 11); the possible involvement of neighbouring states in the negotiations (point 12); the creation of a democratic society where multi-party debate was possible (point16). The result of this exchange of documents was a freezing of the talks: both parties considered their positions un-negotiable.

Sant'Egidio had supported the attempt in Nairobi but it had also searched for personal contacts with the parties without any insistence on the issue of mediation while emphasising the need to accelerate peace 91 . At the same time Sant'Egidio was planning a visit by Dhlakama in Italy. The Italian Government, contacted by Sant'Egidio representatives and by Goncalves, granted Dhlakama and his men the necessary documents, protection and secrecy. The visit took place in February 1990, after a failed American attempt to restore the negotiations 92 . To his hosts Dhlakama appeared as a man who really desireed peace but bitterly despised FRELIMO's men.

Two months later Aguiar Mazula (Labour Minister), prior consultation with Chissano, was in Rome too, in order to examine the possibility of direct contacts between delegations of the two parties. At the end of May 1990 Mario Raffaelli, an Italian diplomat 93 , met Chissano and on behalf of the Italian Government he officially offered him Rome as the place where the negotiations could take place 94 .

The Italian Government's commitment to the peace in Mozambique was due to long established and friendly relationships and an old solidarity with Mozambique. Raffaelli, in particular had had a prominent role in relation to the significant contribution that Italy paid to the humanitarian aid in Mozambique 95 . Chissano was made aware that RENAMO refused an African mediation because it would have been inevitably partisan. He then agreed on the Italian option. On 20 and 21of June Raul Domingos, Dhlakama's spokesman (and later RENAMO's Foreign Minister), met with Zuppi, Goncalves and Riccardi. His visit to Rome had been legitimated by RENAMO's National Board in April. The Board issued a document in which RENAMO declared to be willing to start a direct negotiation with FRELIMO without any pre-condition and despite the presence of foreign troops on the Mozambican territory 96 .

First Meeting: Rome, 8-10 July 1990

The two delegations that met in Rome were so composed:

For the Government: Armando Emilio Guebuza, head of delegation, minister of transports and communications; Teodato Hunguana, minister of information; Aguiar Mazula, minister of labour; and Francisco Madeira, diplomatic counsellor to Chissano.

For RENAMO: Raul Manuel Domingos, head of delegation, head of RENAMO's department for external relations; Vicente Zacarias Ululu 97 , head of the department for information; Agostinho Murrial, vice-head at the department for political affairs; and Joao Francisco Almirante, member of the presidential cabinet.

Observers: Mario Raffaelli, representative of the Italian Government; Jaime Goncalves, archbishop of Beira; Andrea Riccardi, president of the Community of Sant'Egidio; and Don Matteo Zuppi, member of the Community, long committed to the issues of peace and development in Africa.

Both parties arrived in Rome with an unshakeable mistrust of the counterpart. For Maputo, the fact of coming to meet the rebels meant a lot in terms of concessions; the "rebels" instead, wanted to be officially recognised as a political movement. The problem of status, which would have shaped all their meetings, was evident to the observers from the very beginning.

The government's delegation had convened in Rome with the idea of working for a "normalisation" of the country's situation, starting from a cease-fire. On the contrary, RENAMO's plan was to discuss of irreversible steps to be taken in order to change the system (and the constitution), before any cease-fire would be possible. RENAMO justified its stand with the assumption that its guerrilla activity would have maintained pressure on the negotiation process.

Another controversial issue was that of a mediator. RENAMO wanted Kenya as a mediator but the government would have accepted it only if it was sided by Zimbabwe, which in turn was refused by RENAMO because of its military involvement in the conflict on the government's side.

Riccardi recalling that the purpose of the meeting was to promote dialogue between Mozambicans, quoted Pope John XXIII's words "Let us seek more that which unites than that which divides". With these words the president of Sant'Egidio set out the method of work which would have to characterise the whole mediation process.

Domingos and Guebuza agreed on the fact that Italy would be the site of other meetings. Guebuza suggested the definition of an agenda with precise dates and issues to be tackled at each meeting. Domingos instead had some preliminary questions, such as: the date of the following meeting; how to deal with the media (the parties will agree on issuing a joint public statement); and the identification of the mediators 98 . The parties agreed on discussing first of all the agenda issue. The government proposal for an agenda read:

  1. Normalisation of civil life in Mozambique in the: a. military; b. political; c. institutional; d. economic; e. social areas.

  2. Peace and national unity

  3. Various

RENAMO's proposed agenda included:

  1. Democratisation of the political system with particular regard to multi-partitism.

  2. General and free elections.

  3. Various.

The two proposals highlighted the different expectations of the delegations: Frelimo focused first of all on the achievement of a cease-fire, RENAMO, instead wanted the resolution of the political questions first.

On the question of the mediator RENAMO wanted both Kenya and Zimbabwe while FRELIMO, even if not contrary in principle to RENAMO's proposal, opted more favourably for keeping the four facilitators as observers at the various negotiation phases, without the involvement of third states. The two trends testified the government's interest to preserve the negotiations from the embarrassing presence of other countries, and RENAMO's mistrust of the FRELIMO's.

At the end of the first meeting the parties decided that the date of the second meeting would be around the end of July; that the two agendas would be unified; and that the four observers would have provisionally kept their role.

The observers had prepared an official communiqué, which summoned the achievements of the first meeting. These were the followings: both parties had recognised each other as part of the same Mozambican family; they agreed on the existence of prominent national interests on the dynamic of the conflict; they expressed a commitment to continue the negotiation process and to the method of seeking "more that which unites than that which divides" 99 .

Second Meeting : Rome, 10-13 August 1990

The second meeting consisted of two phases: a private meeting between the heads of delegation Guebuza and Domingos 100 , and a plenary session. The result was a total failure and the parties decided to stop the talks for a month in order to reflect on their different statements. The question at stake was the designation of a mediator. On this issue RENAMO's delegation had come to Rome with a rather intransigent attitude: Kenya was the accredited one. Furthermore, it argued that the government's attitude in Mozambique seriously jeopardised the talks in Rome because of its continued armed offensives and the anti-guerrilla propaganda in the state controlled media. The observers could only accept the parties' decision to suspend the talks and they drafted a document summarising the parties' respective positions on the issue of the mediator. To help Dhlakama clarify his position they suggest five solutions and their advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Continuing the talks without a third country acting as a mediator;

  2. Continuing the talks with Kenya playing a particular role alongside the four observers;

  3. The parties can choose each a third country as mediator and the four observers would only assist the direct talks in Rome 101 .

  4. The four observers become mediators and Kenya becomes an observer. The fifth proposal is a combination of the previous four. Mediator's role : the four observers continue their role as de facto or formal mediators; the communications, and the political, constitutional and technical questions will be facilitated by the Italian government. Kenya : it could act as a formal adviser for RENAMO; Committee of guarantors : in order to guarantee the effective implementation of the agreement in Mozambique, a Committee of guarantors including the four observers, other governments and organisations such as U.N. would be created 102 .

A third meeting was scheduled for September. The date was a matter to be decided.

Third Meeting: Rome, November 9 to December 1, 1990

At the end of August Riccardi and Zuppi travelled to Africa to resolve the mediator issue. They met in Nairobi with president Kiplagat, who had realised the impracticability of Kenya's mediation and had conferred with RENAMO suggesting that the four observers become mediators with Kenya acting as an external observer. Kiplagat was aware that Maputo would have never accepted Kenya as the only mediator and that RENAMO would have never accepted Zimbabwe alongside Kenya. In October Dhlakama officially asked the four observers to become mediators in the peace process. Chissano later gave his approval. In September neither side sent its full delegation to Rome. Following a FAM (Mozambican Army) offensive, joint by Zimbabwean troops, RENAMO issued a communiqué urging the withdrawal of all Zimbabwean troops from Mozambique as a condition for peace talks. The observers met separately with Mazula and Domingos and, without commenting on the aborted meeting, they gave both sides a letter recalling the commitment to resume talks in September and the reason why RENAMO felt it could not take part in them. The observers warned both parties that if the talks did not resume by November they might have felt obliged to make a public statement ascribing responsibility for the failure to negotiate 103 . In October Raffaelli and Zuppi travelled, again, to Africa to meet the two leaders. Dhlakama, affirmed his willingness to resume the talks without the question of the Zimbabwean troop as a pre-condition, but he wanted the issue to be the first point on the agenda for the following meeting. Chissano on his side, agreed on resuming the negotiations with discussions on the presence of Zimbabwean troops in the country and he took responsibility of explaining this decision to the Zimbabwean government.

The situation was made complicated by the fact that on 2 November 1990 the Mozambican Parliament approved the new constitution. This formally abandoned the Marxist oriented ideal of a state, it proclaimed multi-partitism and free elections, liberal economy and private property, freedom of religion and of expression. The document deprived RENAMO of many of the reasons for which it had been fighting and why it was at the negotiation table. Despite many doubts on its effective implementation, it raised approval from foreign governments, and Chissano felt he had now an upper hand (thanks also to more favourable military conditions) in the negotiations. Obviously though, this was not quite the same for RENAMO. The organisation felt betrayed on the talks level by the government who had issued a unilateral document without consulting the Mozambicans. RENAMO conceived the meetings in Rome as a bilateral attempt to set the roots of a new state and it was not willing to accept the ready-made constitution 104 .

Between August and November the four observers established some links with the diplomacies of those states interested in the Mozambican peace process. The Americans showed their support by providing a team of diplomatic, legal and military experts. South Africa declared its full support to the Roman initiative and it supplied information on RENAMO.

Finally the negotiations were put back in motion on 9 November 1990. The parties formally agreed on the four observers to be appointed as mediators with Raffaelli as a co-ordinator of the whole process.

The first point on the agenda of the talks was the presence of Zimbabwean troops in Mozambique. The mediators suggest the creation of two corridors, Beira and Limpopo (connecting Zimbabwe with the Indian Ocean) into which the FAM-Zimbabwean troops had to be confined, and RENAMO movements had to be declared to the government 105 . On 1 December a cease-fire was declared within the two corridors (running for 280 Km. And 550 Km. respectively) and the troops in there could perform only defensive actions. A Joint Verification Commission (COMIVE) in charge with the verification of the agreement on the corridors was created, with the Italian Ambassador Incisa di Camerana, as its president 106 . The COMIVE, based in Rome, acted in the field through a military committee with the power of carrying out verifications of the various denounces it received, by means of its own independent personnel and means. Together with the creation of the COMIVE the parties agreed on granting full immunity to the Red Cross convoys and personnel entering the country (even if they did not take any step to implement such an agreement).

Third Meeting continued: Rome 19-21 December 1990

At the session between 19-21 December the mediators insisted with RENAMO for a rapid agreement with the government on a law on political parties, with the argument that the parliament had already prepared a draft and it was necessary to precede it. But Domingos refused any timetables on political issues and insisted that FRELIMO's reforms were simply not valid because they stemmed from a mono-party parliament and they had not been agreed upon with RENAMO. The government then froze the bill 107 . The final joint communiqué stated a list of agreed principals for the approval of a law on political parties.

Fourth Meeting: Rome 29-31 January 1991

When the parties met in Rome to resume the talks, the first point on the agenda was the JVC chairman's report. It highlighted eight violations of the agreement of 1 December, six of which were most probably RENAMO's responsibility and two by unknown agents 108 . Between January and May violent accusations on alleged violations of the 1 December agreement shaped the dialogue between the parties. The JVC, which could not verify the cause of the violations until the parties formally requested so, was used as a tribunal for them to accuse each other. Despite their resentment in June they issued a statement praising the JVC's work but they did not comply with its demands. They knew that the partial-cease fire had been substantially respected anyway and it would be impossible to ascertain the attackers' responsibility. Seen from outside observers the protracted fight over the corridors issue looked like a failure in the negotiations. Lisbona repeatedly attacked the four mediators' work in its press and suggested Portugal as the right mediator 109 , to the point that in June 1991 Raffaelli had to go there and "promise" Portuguese authorities that they would be involved in the talks when the political issues would have progressed enough.

Fifth-Eighth Meetings: Rome, 6 May to 20 December 1991

The mediators felt that it was time for the parties to get involved in political discussions. Between February and May 1991 they travelled to and in Africa to meet with the parties separately and focus on the question of the constitution, the political party law and the involvement of the international community in monitoring and guaranteeing implementation to the agreement.

When the delegations met in a plenary session on 6 May, Guebuza affirmed the government's desire for a negotiated solution but he insisted that its legitimacy be not questioned by the negotiations. Domingos, on his side, was adamant on negotiating the terms for multi-party elections and political reforms in full detail before RENAMO committed itself to respecting a cease-fire. This was tantamount to refusing the legitimacy of the government's acts. He also demanded the creation of a small national army to replace FRELIMO's and RENAMO's forces and the demobilisation of the security service (SNASP).

At the end of May the two delegations finally agreed on an agenda of the talks which was very rigid, mirroring the level of their mutual distrust. It was specified that the negotiations would continue dealing with: 1. Political party law; 2. Electoral law; 3. Military issues; 4. Cease-fire; 5. Guarantees; 6. A donors' conference; 7. Signature of the documents agreed on and of the final protocol 110 .

The detailed agenda deprived the mediators of the necessary flexibility in managing the talks and it did not lead to early discussions on political issues as they had hoped. Instead, between June and September both sides were at a deadlock on the issue of the government's legitimacy. The question was now that of the administration of the country between the cease-fire and the elections. RENAMO could accept not to disturb the government's administration but refused to recognise FRELIMO's role as legitimate. The mediators realised that RENAMO was not yet ready to concentrate and debate on political issues. It was an organisation of soldiers who still had to turn themselves into political men. It was easier for them to discuss the military issues.

When both parties met again in July (at the delegations sixth meeting) the question was still that of legitimacy. The mediators proposed both sides a draft protocol entitled "On fundamental principles". The main points were as follows:

  1. the government would commit itself not to act contrary to the terms of protocols agreed to and not to adopt laws contrary to such protocols;

  2. from the date of a cease-fire, RENAMO would respect existing laws and institutions, including the state and the government;

  3. Both parties agree to work to complete negotiation of the items on the May 28 agenda as soon as possible;

  4. A joint military-political commission, including a representative of the U.N. would be established by the general peace-agreement 111 .

The protocol succeeded in breaking the deadlock, with the government obliged not to act contrary to the agreements signed in Rome 112 and RENAMO accepting to act within the framework of the existing institutions of the state. The protocol would be embodied in the preamble to the peace-agreement. It marked RENAMO passage to the Mozambican and international political life. On 13 November 1991(seventh meeting) the parties signed the protocol on the "criteria and modalities for the formation and recognition of political parties" 113 . At the beginning of December Raffaelli and Zuppi were to Africa again to discuss the law on political parties. With the U.S. support becoming more and more significant, the framework for a wider international involvement was building up slowly.

On 18 December the parties met for the eighth time in Rome to discuss the election system. They agreed that the elections for president and national assembly should be held simultaneously and that a period of twelve months between the cease-fire and the elections would be adequate. On 20 December, together with the mediators, they issued a joint statement in which they recorded agreement to conduct the elections within a year of a general peace-agreement, and to involve both the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity in the election process. They also announced their intention to resume negotiations on January 15, 1992.

Ninth Meeting: Rome, January 20 to February 15, 1992

At the ninth round of the talks the parties arrived in Rome with a proposal on the electoral law. The government's one was much shorter than RENAMO's on freedom of press, freedom of speech and association, freedom of movement, and the right of refugees and displaced persons to return to their home. Domingos asked the mediators to prepare a side-by-side text matching the comparable part of the two drafts. The document helped the parties to realise their differences but it made more difficult for the mediators to present their own single text because it also highlighted the conflict of their positions. Together with U.S. experts the mediators finally issued a single text. The issues at stake were: the share of the vote required for a party to receive seats in the assembly (which was decided between 5 and 20 percent of the votes cast in a constituency); the number of the signatures required to nominate a presidential candidate (which was decided to be 10.000); and the requirements for passive electorate 114 . The issue of the constitution, implying once again that of status and legitimacy, was deferred. On 12 March, protocol III, on the election law, was signed at Sant'Egidio by the heads of delegation and the mediators. Resumption of talks was planned for April. The remaining agenda items were relatively concrete military and administrative questions.

Tenth Round: Rome, June 10 to July 1, 1992

In June both delegations approved an invitation from the mediators to the governments of France, Portugal, The United Kingdom, and the United States as well as to the United Nations to send observers to the talks. Their representatives could seat at the negotiation table but without right to speak. Privately, they could keep on helping the parties with their suggestions. It is noteworthy that Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa were not admitted to the negotiations even if they had been consulted in various occasions. Their involvement on both sides part was considered too heavy.

At the end of May the mediators had split the problems still to be resolved in three parts: the adding of a subitem entitled "constitutional questions" in the 28 May agenda; the discussion of the guarantees to be placed between the military questions and that of the cease-fire; the consideration of the last three issues as part of a whole.

1. At the plenary session of 23 June the parties addressed the issue of the functioning of JVC and the item on military questions. The constitutional issues was easily solved after a declaration by RENAMO that for "constitutional issues" it meant the suspension of some articles, considered at odds with the peace process, until the calling for a new parliament. Chissano agreed recognising that the constitution needed amendments. A commission to define the question of humanitarian intervention was set up 115 . The works on military issues were eased by the fact that ah hoc documents prepared by English, Italian, and American military experts had already been prepared.

In mid-September the controversial points were still unresolved: it was clear that RENAMO wanted well-defined guarantees before coming to a general cease-fire. The delegations in Rome had not enough power to take any initiative on the issues at stake and it was now necessary for Chissano and Dhlakama to meet personally. On 28 September Dhlakama wrote to the mediators asking for a delay. Somehow he did not feel ready to sign a general agreement because he was not convinced that RENAMO would be granted enough political weight to compete with the government. He was afraid that FRELIMO, once obtained the cease-fire would not respect its recognition of RENAMO as a political opposition. After the mediators' insistence, that he did not have to sign the agreement but at least meet with Chissano, Dhlakama finally arrived in Rome on 1 October.

With his arrival, the delegations and the mediators started a 72 hours talks round. The two presidents were residing in two different hotels in Rome and the mediators had to shuttle between one and the other to submit them the drafts worked out by the delegations. A substantial impulse to the whole process was given by a declaration by Boutros-Ghali, who, noting the imminence of the signature, assured the parties that the Security Council agreed in playing a substantial role to implement the peace-process and to verify the effectiveness of the guarantees and the correctness of the elections 116 .

On 2 October the parties reached an agreement on the intelligence service and the question of the police. An agreement on the administration of the zones under RENAMO control was reached on the 3 October with a statement that RENAMO would accept the government's administrative law but with the commitment, on the government's side, to name only persons resident there as administrators (so, basically, RENAMO's men). In case of contrasts with the central government, the local administrators could appeal to a national Commission to arbitrate on the case.

On 4 October 1994 the General Peace Agreement is signed in the formal treaty room of the Italian foreign ministry.

An hostage called Algeria

The war between Algeria and its colonial ruler started on 1 November 1954. Juridically speaking the Algerian problem was treated as an internal French problem, as Algeria was part of the metropolitan territory. Algeria's population numbered eight million Muslims and hundred thousand French who had been living there for generations and did not accept the idea of an Algerian independent state. In the night between 31 October and 1 November 1954 an armed movement, called the National Liberation Front, took the lead in the revolt against the French power. Head of the movement was Ahmed Ben Bella. Though not successful, in its early years the movement kept on acting as an highly disturbing element in the country to the point that on 13 May 1953 the same French population, afraid of being abandoned by France, rebelled against the metropolitan government. The result in terms of French interior matters was that general De Gaulle, thought to be the only man able to manage the crisis, became the president of France on 1 June 1958. His plan was to reconcile with Algeria on the basis of its assimilation to France. Between the end of 1958 and the beginning of 1959 French troops in Algeria were doubled and De Gaulle promised that the FLN flag would have never waived in the country. His inflexible approach was changed by the continuation of the war, as a result of which he suggested that Algeria be autonomous but associated with France. The proposal was unacceptable to the FLN which could have never accepted a cease-fire on the basis of the assimilation; on the other hand, the French population withdrew its support to De Gaulle who was now perceived as a traitor.

Between the 21 and 22 of April 1961 some generals who favoured the solution of a French Algeria lead a coup against the metropolitan government which whose outcome was a total failure. In France the public opinion was more and more in favour of an independent Algeria and the government started negotiations with the FLN. On 18 March 1962 an agreement was concluded which granted the Algerians the right to vote whether or not to live in an independent country, economically associated with France. It was decided that they would maintain the double nationality for three years at the end of which they could have chosen whether to claim for Algerian or French citizenship. France had the right to keep 90,000 troops in Algeria for three years; it would have kept some airports and military bases in the Sahara desert for five years; and the naval base of Mers el Kebir for 15 years. Algeria would have used the French currency and exploited the Saharan oil together with France. At the referendum scheduled for 1 July 1962, 90% of the voters favoured the independence thus ending 132 years of French colonialism in Algeria 117 . It is important to understand that in Algeria the military has always prevailed over the civilian. During the war the armed forces were divided into two groups: the so-called maquisards  who fought at the interior in Algeria and were strictly controlled by the FLN, and the "frontier army" placed at the borders with Morocco and Tunisia. The latter was well equipped and enjoyed logistic and support-services of Arab provenience. After the independence in 1962 the "frontier army" became the centre of power in Algeria to the point that, after having supported Ben Bella, it mastered a coup against him on 19 June 1965 118 .

Since then the army has taken over at all levels in the Algerian political, economic, and administrative spheres with Houari Boumedienne as its leader. Boumedienne's technique consisted in exploiting the internal fragmentation of the army, based on regional, economic and arm loyalty. The most important divisive factor, even nowadays, is the difference between those who have been trained at the French school and those trained in Middle East (and particularly in Egypt) or in the Warsaw Pact countries. Particularly tough are those officers who are referred to as "Francophones". They have at some stage served in the French army, and remain unshakeably faithful to the culture and the interests of the former colonial power. Despite the fact that it is a minority group, it has gained a foothold in the strategic command posts of the Algerian army 119 .

In 1979 the military hierarchy placed Chadli Bendjedid in power. Bendjedid favoured the army French wing but the system that allowed it to hold power in the country was suddenly challenged by a revolt in October 1988 120 . The leading themes of it stem from the economic crisis that was suffocating Algeria since the fall of the oil prices registered in 1985. Target of the movement is the so-called hogra , Algerian word that translates for "corruption-injustice-abuse of power-humiliation" 121 . For the first time in the Algerian history, the army that had guided it to independence shoots the people 122 . With the army's surprise the president chose for the change. He started a reform process that limited the army freedom, thus losing its support. Bendjedid went further calling for an electoral consultation on the constitutional framework to shape the country. The population's vote voiced a reform that gave birth to a strong presidency (following the French model) and a National Assembly with legislative power, formed on the basis of a free competition among political parties.

On 10 September the Ministry of culture disappeared and together with it even the censorship. The Algerian Democratic Movement, founded by Ahmed Ben Bella and the front of Socialist Forces, founded by Hocine Ait Ahmed ended their clandestinity and new parties are founded, among them Said Sadi's Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Democratie and the Islamic Salvation Front which found its supporters among the poorest and most marginalised parts of the population. Finally, the political democratisation of Algeria started with the legislative elections of June 1991.

After 1991

Aware of the Western shock at the idea of a possible fundamentalist victory 123 , the army decided to break up the process overturning the results of the first ballot, which would have given the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) the majority of the seats in the Parliament 124 . Bendjedid was overthrown and the newly created High Committee of State set Mohammed Boudiaf as the president of Algeria 125 . The FIS was dissolved and banned and its leaders brought to prison. The outbreak of violence following these events, initially patchy and limited, continued to grow and over time led to the emergence of resistance movements. At first these were confined to the mountainous regions and forests favourable to guerrilla activities, recalling the time of the armed national liberation struggle against colonialism. They later progressed to attacks in broad daylight, lasting several hours and hitting entire villages, and including the assassination of officials and the destruction of public buildings.

The vast Mitidja plain around Algiers has become the main operational theatre of terrorist , and Algiers is the centre of these clashes 126 . The main armed groups are the Armed Islamic Movement, the Islamic Salvation Army, and the Islamic Armed Group (GIA). The regime put all its forces in trying to defeat these armed groups. In 1993 Liamine Zeroual is appointed at the Ministry of Defence and in 1994 he becomes head of state. The brutal and repressive methods adopted by the army, as a result of Zeroual's policies are such, that in 1995 a group of officers appeals to Zeroual to start negotiations with the FIS leaders, Abassi Madani and Ali Belhadj, kept in prison 127 .

The main characteristic of the war in Algeria is that it is a dirty war. Despite the fact that the government has never admitted to the exterior the existence of serious difficulties in protecting its own citizens, it appears quite clear that Algeria is very close to a generalised civil war. Official reports record that 50,000 people have been killed up to nowadays but nobody knows the real figures. Armed groups and the army fight each other through a systematic terror imposed on the civilians. "Terror" seems to be the their motto. "The security forces and the Islamic groups of terrorist have the utmost disregard for human rights. The former act disguised with civilian clothes, the latter dress up with army uniforms and they kill people at false checkpoints. It is often impossible to clearly identify those responsible for such killings" 128 . Women, children, and elderly are killed without the slightest mercy and torture is daily practised in the state's jails. Apparently, the police forces have come to the point of killing policemen in order to bestow responsibility for the murder on the terrorists 129 .

Everybody can be killed just for being suspected of sympathising with the government or with the terrorists and in the intricacies of this plot the only clear picture is that of an Algeria committing suicide.

Attempts at a dialogue in Algeria

Everybody in Algeria is convinced that the use of force and the recourse to violence will not allow any of the protagonists to solve the problem to their advantage, and that the solution must be a political one.

This feeling, born in the days before the crisis reached its present dimensions, in the times of President Bedjadid, was almost certainly instrumental in bringing about successive rounds of dialogue between the political parties in 1993. Despite the efforts though, it was a dialogue without a future, leading to a national conference in January 1994 leaded by a former colonel from the days of the war Hassan Khatib. The latter obtained no results, on the pretext that the FIS, having being dissolved, was unable to participate. On becoming president, Liamine Zeroual, continued the dialogue with the political parties, with the same negative result, a constant feature of it being the absence of the FIS leaders.

In reality, there has never been any genuine dialogue between the authorities and the political groupings. The authorities seemed merely interested in playing off one party against the other, hoping to induce them to stick on their positions in the fundamental debate that places them in opposition to the FIS. Those in power are themselves split into many clans, fighting one against the other.

Internationally, the broadly perceived image is that of a ruling group merely wanting to remain in power and continuing to run the matters of state. Alternatively, part of the ruling class is interested in pursuing its own private interests mainly increased by the sale of hydrocarbons 130 .

The economic dimension of the conflict

A genuine dialogue would inevitably lead to far reaching reforms, eradicating the corruption, which places a very heavy financial and mental burden on the country. As shown by the suppression of the revolt in 1988 what seems to lie behind the obstinate refusal of the regime to enter into a genuine dialogue are the enormous interests that are at stake. In 1995, Algeria was facing an unprecedented social and economic crisis including a national debt of $ 27 billion 131 .

The dreams of industrialising the country following the socialist doctrines has turned out to be a rather unfortunate choice. One of the reasons is that despite its well developed infrastructure and prosperous chemical and pharmaceutical industries, the economic power is firmly held in the hands of few industrial poles without it being spread on fertile industrial grounds. It is also noticeable that being the army the guarantor of political stability, it is inevitably involved at any stage of the economic machinery. Boumedienne's economic ideal, even if resembling the socialist one, strongly pointed at independence. In order to preserve it his plan was opening the country's doors to as many investors and buyers as possible. As a consequence Algeria becomes a battle field for French and European exporters. France becomes Algeria's first financial partner, setting an economy based on dependence on gas and oil resources 132 . All this is achieved at the expense of the agricultural sector. When Boumedienne dies, the all experiment resembles a paralysed giant. President Chadli then tries to reorganise the industry splitting the industrial poles into many and creating lots of state companies. The result is only a broadening of corruption due to the fact that this action is not accompanied by any improvement of the managerial resources 133 .

The most significant example of the Algerian economic failings is given by the agricultural sector. In 1994 the rural population in Algeria counts 13 million people, that is fifty per cent of the entire population. Only twenty-five per cent of the actively employed population, though, is employed in agriculture, i.e. only 1.5 million people. The agricultural production, corresponding to 11-13% of the GP, satisfies only 15% of the country's needs. As a consequence, Algeria has to spend around $ 240 million a year to buy corn and flour 134 .

In 1995 Algeria has signed an agreement of structural adjustment with the IMF following which it has obtained a delay in paying $ 13 million of its foreign debt. This means that it can pay now for more imports and apparently the country is flooded with western imported goods 135 . The real beneficiaries of the deal, though, are the western countries and among those in particular Spain, Italy and France, which holds a third of the whole Algerian import market. Algeria is now France's first client among the developing countries 136 .

Paradoxically, the increase in the number of market actors has also brought to an interlinked relationship between the Islamic armed groups and the commercial sector. It's not only a question of arms procurement, but also of everything that keeps an army of around 15-20,000 men efficiently equipped. For instance, attacks against the transport means, the infrastructure and the communication links, have brought to a new form of economic power distribution and economic dividends. The terrorist have set up a kind of mafia rackets system through which they obtain goods from various market dealers and they pay back eliminating the concurrence. When it comes to stealing goods from commercial trucks, there rarely are killings: the deal is directly concluded with the owner of the company 137 . This kind of activities transforms the armed groups into small developing enterprises with a permanent relationship with the country's notables, broadening the perception of the state's lack of control on the population part.

Echoes from Assisi

As with Mozambique, the relationship between the Community of Sant'Egidio and Algeria was a long and well established one. Since 1984 representatives of the Community have spent some time there in the frame of the interreligious meetings promoted by the Roman association. In Algeria, as in Mozambique, the Church had suffered for its identification with the colonial ruler and it had chosen to be typically Algerian in its criticism against the French ruling methods 138 . Algiers' archbishop Duval was often mocked by the French community living in Algeria and nicknamed Mohammed for his persuasion that it was necessary to find a path for dialogue with the Muslims. On 21 and 22 November 1994 the Community of Sant'Egidio hosts in Rome a Colloque sur l'Algerie . Aim of the dialogue is not a negotiation but the fact that the leaders of the most important political parties meet together to discuss the evolution faced by Algeria and to suggest possible solutions to the situation. All those political parties who obtained a significant result at the 1991 poll are invited. These are: the National Liberation Front (FLN); the Socialist Forces Front (FFS); the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS); the Islamic moderate parties Ennahda and Hamas; the Regroupement pour la Culture et la Democratie (RCD); the Movement for democracy in Algeria (MDA); the Workers Party; and the movement for a Contemporary Muslim Algeria (JMC). Abdenour Ali Yahya, head of the Algeria's Human Rights League, acts as a spokesman for the Rome delegates. The major problem for those organising the "colloque" was the identification of a sufficiently representative FIS delegation, given that the two shuyukh  (historical leaders) Madani and Belhadi were still in prison. They decide to establish a contact with Kamel Guemmazi, former Major of Algiers, whose response is very favourable. Guemmazi, though, does not have any travel visa (like the rest of the FIS leaders). Whilst waiting for his position to be cleared up, the organisers contact Rabah Kebir, party's representative abroad and residing in Germany. But even Kebir's position is delicate, in fact he has not obtained political asylum yet, and he is not sure of being re-admitted in Germany once he has left it. Hanwar Haddam, leader of the parliamentarian delegation of the party, residing in Washington represents another possibility. Meanwhile Guemmazi asks the shuyuk  for the permission to engage in a dialogue set outside Algeria's borders. Being Guemmazi and Kebir not successful in receiving their passport, the FIS' representative in Rome must necessarily be Anwar Haddam.

Further problems arise. A couple of the invited parties refuses to sit at the same table with FIS representatives, namely the RCD and the former communist party (now called Ettahadi mouvement); on 18 November, Marco Impagliazzo, representing the Community is invited at the Algerian embassy in Rome. Here the Algerian Ambassador violently refuses the Roman initiative and speaks of interference in the internal matters of the Algerian government. The latter tries to exert any kind of pressure on the Community. Even the Italian and Holy See ambassadors are urgently summoned at the Algerian foreign ministry to report to the ministry secretary general about the initiative, that Algiers holds orchestrated by the Vatican and the Italian state. Both ambassadors distance themselves from the "colloque" and repeatedly stress that it is an autonomous initiative by the Community, but both Italy and the Holy See will send their observers at the meeting 139 .

The "colloque" starts in Rome on 21 November. Among the observers there are representatives of the United States, France, Italy and some Mediterranean countries. Andrea Riccardi opens the works precising that the Italian government is not at all responsible for the meeting, which has been wanted by the Community. Answering to the accusations of organising such an event outside the Algerian borders, Riccardi recalls how this is not at all against the ideal of an "all Algerian" experience. The "colloque" will be held by Algerians in Rome just because the same is not possible in Algiers, but it will be up to the present Algerians (men and women) to make it successful.

All the representatives invited agree that it is not possible to rely on violence to find a solution to the situation in Algeria, because there would be neither winners nor losers 140 . It is necessary, then to explore the possibility for a constructive dialogue between the protagonists of political life in Algeria, thus also with the FIS. The latter, in the person of Hanwar Haddam, for the first time officially speaking at a public forum, declares its willingness to support any serious attempt at a dialogue. A surprising proposal comes from Ali Yahya: he suggests the drafting of a common "platform" before the parties discuss the possibility of new elections. The meeting, after the declaration of intents, is adjourned to the following day.

On 22 November the parties representatives work at a declaration banning violence from the political game. They do not succeed in finding an agreement but at the end of the "colloque" they issue a joint declaration in seven points. The latter reads as follows:

The participants at the Colloque sur l'Algerie , gathered in Rome on 21 and 22 November 1994

-thank the Community of Sant'Egidio for making possible the meeting in Rome, which has produced a fruitful exchange of information and communication;

-wish that the colloque be the beginning of further meetings to help the opening of negotiations;

-state their opposition to any foreign interference and deny that any interference has had place;

-wish that further initiatives will follow;

-ask the Community of Sant'Egidio to act as a means to make clear the complexity of the Algerian crisis to the public and to facilitate other meetings if the conditions are favourable.

Towards Rome II

Once back in Algeria the political parties, which had taken part to the "colloque" in Rome, realised that it was necessary that another meeting focusing more on practical issues follow it.

At their arrival in Rome on 8 January 1995, many of the participants have already prepared a draft for proposals. This time the parties meet with broadened delegations. Aly Yahya acts once again as the chairman of the session, which is held behind closed doors and only among Algerians 141 . Ben Bella asks the FIS to take a positive step against violence and to make a political statement against attacks on foreigners, civilians and national property. The FLN representative, Abdelhamid Mehri is the only one convinced that the time is not ripe for the adoption of a definite text, but he agrees on the necessity of breaking the impasse with the government. Anwar Haddam (FIS) goes further suggesting that it is necessary to set the guide lines for the transition to a democratic society, and he wishes the inclusion of the government during the transitional period. His intervention focuses on methodological questions as a result of his need for further instructions from Algiers before committing the FIS on more substantial issues. As far as the question of the use of violence for political reasons is concerned he wants it to be discussed later on. It is clear that he cannot agree on a total condemnation of it, yet 142 . The reason for this behaviour is that the FIS feels that it has been the military that first triggered the violence: what has followed is only a consequence of that very first act. It is the terrorists who are the real victims of violence, they are using it to defend themselves and not to attack. The difference between him and the other delegates is that he does not see it as a phenomenon that has to be condemn per se, no matter what the reasons behind it.

During the second half of the meeting the delegates discuss the internationalisation of the Algerian crisis. The socialist party (FFS) is for the involvement of the international community as a guarantor of any agreement. Ben Bella and Mehri, instead, are more cautious for worry of upsetting the establishment. What they all agree on is the necessity of involving the government in the process. Ben Bella suggests that it could nominate an interim government, before new democratic elections have place. This way the establishment would not feel threatened by a loss of face.

Madani and Belhadj (the two shuyuk) write from their prisons to the participants. They have drafted a document which focuses on three main issues. The first is concerned with human rights. They ask for the people's right to chose their own government; for the right to expel an unfair government; for individual and collective rights to be expressed in the frame of Islam; for the rejection of any alliance concluded without previous consultation with the Muslim community (umma); and for the army not to be involved in political life, as established by the 1989 Constitution 143 . The second deals with some guarantees that the FIS considers necessary before starting any serious negotiation. These are: the restoration of human rights to bring an end to the unjust system ruling in Algeria; the closing of all prison camps; that political prisoners be released; that they can freely meet for political ends; the creation of a commission of wise men with the right to investigate the violations of human rights; the abolition of the special tribunals. Finally they ask that Algerian sovereignty be respected; that there be no external interference in its internal matters, and they appeal to the West for it to refrain from concluding any alliance with the Algerian illegitimate government, they also ask that it makes a serious attempt at listening also to the opposition 144 .

During the second day of the meeting it is possible to note the slow process through which the FIS is changing. The debate among representatives of a varied spectrum of political forces, allows Haddam to realise that the reality in which the FIS has to operate is a complex one. It is not enough to go back and back to those responsible of the conflict: it would be a never-ending process. Instead it is necessary to adopt a more constructive attitude to devise actual solutions. The parties at the meeting table remind the FIS that it is not convenient for it to insist on the subject of responsibility and punishment for it would have to go under trial as well. The proposal resulting from the debate is that the only way to interrupt the cycle of terror that is strangling the country, consists in forgetting the past to be able to build a future. The key point is that violence has to be rejected as a means of obtaining and holding political power, but without condemnations to the government or to the army.

As a result it is decided that the first part of the joint document resulting from the meeting (later called Rome Platform of Principles), will appeal to the Declaration of 1954 in the first point 145 ; will refuse any form of political violence (point 2); and condemn any dictatorship, lay or theocratic (point 3). The first three points are followed by those dedicated to respect for human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is noteworthy that in no other document, the FIS has publicly committed itself to respect for such principles; as a result of the Meeting the Islamic Front is now developing into a democratic party 146 . Among the principles that it is willing to accept there is also that of respect for religious freedom which will be repeated twice in the document. With regard to the kind of fundamental law that will have to guide the state, all parties  accept that it will be a human made constitution and not the Shar'ia law (point 7). The session on the principles will also mention the army's role as guarantor of the national unity and the integrity of the territory. It is made clear that it will have to respect its constitutional mandate and to refrain from any interference in political life.

On the subject of the preliminary questions to be resolved before any negotiation has place, the FIS asks for the liberation of the shuyuk.  The other representatives agree because they know that the only alternative to this request would be the war; furthermore it is generally understood that only the two historical leaders can sort some effect in trying to stop the terrorists. It is accepted, though, that the two men's name will not be explicitly stated in the Document (as the FIS had required), because all measures listed will be "global, reciprocal, gradual, and simultaneous" in order to be credible and because all parties, although not banned, are virtually suffering the same limitations as they are opposing the establishment.

The last point in the debate, focusing on the guarantees, has to take into account the internationalisation of the Algerian crisis. Mehri states that the process is already well advanced because of the killings of foreigners 147 and because of the government's attitude. In fact the leadership is managing the crisis thanks to the Western aid; to its continual appeal to the Western's fear of Islamic integralism; and to its continued mis-information on the crisis. The delegates agree hat it is necessary to pursue a correct policy of internationalisation that whilst respecting the Algerian specific reality does not refuse the role of the international community. This awareness is embodied in the statement that refuses any kind of external interference; in the request for the West's support to the Platform's peace proposal; and in an appeal for true solidarity with the Algerian people. It is decided that a common delegation will present the Text to general Zeroual, and that whenever possible similar meetings will be held in Algeria.

On Friday 13 January 1995 the delegates finally sign the document in a ceremony opened to the international press. It has been drafted without anybody's assistance. Even members of the Community were not present at the meetings between the parties who, to preserve the unity of their intent, have agreed not to negotiate separately with the government.

Reactions to the Pax Romana

The first international reactions to the Roma Platform are positive. The Italian government supports the Roman initiative and it will be consistent with this position even after hard criticism expressed by Algiers. The same can be said of other European governments like Spain and Germany (and the EU in general), and of the U. S. Department of State. In Morocco the opposition parties adopt a common declaration supporting the Platform. Iran and Libia, on the contrary, strongly oppose it. In the event's immediate aftermath the Algerian government does not issue any official comment but the press sets up a denigratory campaign against Sant'Egidio which is alternatively depicted as a Vatican' s fifth column or a CIA's servant. It is possible to assist, though, to the setting up of "spontaneous" public manifestations against San'Egidio: "thousands" of people (according to the local press) have organised themselves to run the streets with slogans contrary to the initiative. It is only on 18 January that the Algerian government issues an official statement where it describes the event as a "non-event" because the proposals enshrined in the Platform had already been drafted by the National Conference set up by the government (and notably excluding the FIS from any consultation). The official communiqué speaks of interference in the Algerian interior matters and of non-better defined foreign powers behind the meetings organised by Sant'Egidio. Representatives of the parties present in Rome, ask to be received by president Zeroual in order to present him with the Document but the president refuses and reacts organising a visit of the minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Salah Dembri, to the Vatican in an attempt at delegitimasing Sant'Egidio. In Algeria the Islamic Armed Group makes its opposition to the Pact clear, through a terrorist attack against civilians which will only be the first of a promised bloody Ramadan . The dissociation between FIS and GIA is now irreversible.

The world attention is focused on France's reaction. The minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppe, on the morrow of the GIA attack expresses his condolences to the Algerian population and describes the Community's initiative as interesting and effective. The minister of Defence, Francois Leotard, stresses the fact that non-interference does not mean indifference and says that France strongly supports those working towards democracy in Algeria in opposition to any kind of fundamentalism. Charles Pasqua, minister of Interior, adopts instead a hard opposition line. It is known though, that he has to fight terrorist attacks of Islamic matrix at the expenses of the French population, against which he is using an iron fist with the blessing of the Algerian government 148 . The French president, Mitterand, supports Leotard and Juppe's positions. At the beginning of February 1995 he meets with German Chancellor, Kohl, in the framework of the Franco-German relationships. The two statesmen speak also about the situation in Algeria and they agree that it represents a threat to the whole of Europe, and particularly to the Mediterranean Members. As a consequence they wish that some action be taken at a European level. After meeting with Kohl, Mitterand also meets with the president of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, and he suggests the promotion of a European conference to debate the Algerian problem. It clearly appears that the French president no longer believes that it is possible for France to engage on its own for the resolution of the question 149 .

Algiers' reaction to Mitterand's suggestion is a furious one. Mitterand is accused of seeking a new form of colonialism and of hating Algerian people. Hocine Djoudi, Algerian Ambassador in Paris is immediately called back to Algiers for consultations, and Michel Leveque, French ambassador in Algiers, is invited to the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only to listen to the old refrain that the regime will never accept any interference in its interior matters. As a consequence of the Franco-Algerian crisis, a deeper "Franco-French" one results in Paris. The first one to speak is Pasqua who, on 6 February declares that he is not sure that the government completely agrees with the President 150 . The same day Alain Juppe states that the government had not been informed of the president's initiative and that France does not intend to take any immediate action on the Algerian question. The French ministers are too aware that the day after, the London Club (organisation gathering the group of private creditors who want a quick agreement with Algiers, which is delaying it to obtain better conditions) will meet to discuss credit conditions to Algeria. If the negotiation fails, France will have to reduce its exports to Algeria, and Mitterand's proposal creates some embarrassment. The presidency is unable to defend its position, due also to the imminent presidential elections in France. In the end Paris will support Algiers in its negotiations with the IMF and the European Union; a French bank will lead the London Club, and French arms will keep on flowing in Algeria even if more and more discreetly.

Echoes of the crisis are not yet calmed, that another one is opened in Brussels by NATO secretary general Willy Claes. The latter declares, on 8 February, that Islamic fundamentalism represents a greater threat than communism. The situation in the Mediterranean flank worries the Alliance's analysts, concerned about the demographic unbalances between the sea's two shores. Part of the strategy will consist in encouraging any form of containment even if this means offering support to the North African regimes 151 .

The "spirit of Rome" is soon forgotten leaving behind the awareness that dialogue is necessary, but it clashes with stronger interests.


In this working paper I have tried to highlight the fact that effective mediation by a third party can help minimise the risks involved in establishing communication between opposing parties to a conflict. In traditional international negotiation, both sides to a dispute tend to think that their opponent is pursuing an interest. Traditional diplomatic methods adopted in response to this kind of perception are typical of a legal adjustment. These methods are: a) good offices: it is usually practised by carrying out specific requests by the parties, for instance presenting one side's message to the other; it is not rare that the third party acts as a mere observer or point of reference for the parties; b) facilitation: implies a more continued role in organising and sustaining a dialogue; c) mediation: is the management of the communication process through the power to influence the agenda and format for the talks and to formulate proposals for discussion as well as designing alternatives; d) arbitration: involves the parties' delegation of power to a third power, which will design the settlement of the dispute. In this case the decision power is removed from the parties and transferred to an external authority.

Third party involvement usually starts out as good offices. In some processes the mediator's intervention will not develop into different forms, but will be just carrying messages, or waiting outside the meeting room available at any request. In other circumstances his/her involvement will grow out into facilitation or mediation, the first activity being performed by the Community of Sant'Egidio by providing, for instance, a resort for the talks on Mozambique and Algeria to happen; the second having been performed only in the case of Mozambique.

The case studies presented in this paper have highlighted a necessary characteristic of diplomatic mediation, i.e. that the parties must voluntarily accept to meet and talk. In fact mediators rarely have the power to convoke them. It has also demonstrated the need for informal mediators to show a long-term commitment to the end of peace, as well as the importance of long established relationships with the parties. Both in Mozambique and Algeria the Community had long worked for the right to religious expression, it had sent its members in the countries wit the aim of understanding the local reality and had seek contacts with important personalities in order to effectively operate for it peaceful ends. In both cases its representatives accepted to deal with people who had supported and practised violent methods, suspending their judgement in the awareness that peace is negotiated with the enemy.

As already stated, because mediators are expected to facilitate dialogue, they should help the parties by providing reliable means of communication, by providing reliable means of communication, by helping them reformulate their ideas into clearer patterns and more precise terms (sometimes summarising statements and asking direct or indirect questions) or by suggesting a non-threatening or neutral language 152 . Most of all they help the parties to listen to each other in order to unlock the issues at stake 153 . Using the process of dialogue means preparing and educating the parties to peace. In this sense the term "peaceful conflict resolution" as performed by mediators, can be understood in two ways: as an outcome in which the issues in the existing conflict are dealt wit in a way which is considered satisfying by both parties and mutually accepted by them. Seen from this perspective the process in Mozambique has undoubtedly ended in a success, while the Algerian case can be said to have been a total failure, if not for any other reason, for the fact that it was not possible to speak of two parties as the government had refused to send its representatives to the conference in Rome. As stated above, he process did not go as far s starting negotiations on steps to be taken to bring about a solution to the conflict. Nevertheless, the meetings can be said to have been successful if one notes that they made public opinion aware that no solution could be found without a dialogue involving all the parties and they have set the platform as a reference that any other initiative regarding the country cannot afford to ignore.

The term "peaceful conflict resolution" can also define a situation which is productive of a new, positive relationship between parties that were previously enemies: and 2) any process of procedure by which such an outcome is achieved. In this sense the experience in Algeria has been successful in at least two ways. It has helped and educated the FIS to better understand the rule of the political game. Through the process in Rome, the party realised that political victory on the field, sanctioned by the voters, is not necessarily an expression of democratic victory. The reality in Algeria was far more complex than the party had perceived. Resulting from the population's involvement in the liberation struggle a vivid, though subdued civil society, was asking to have a voice.

It was so bot for lay and religious movements, and for women who, together with journalists and intellectuals, were among the main targets of the terrorists fury. Through the dialogue with other representatives of the Algerian political life, the FIS understood the importance of the opposition in a democratic society, it rejected political violence and, first among the Islamic parties, it publicly signed a document committing it to respect for human rights. The second success is given by the fact that even the other parties realised that it was not possible to ignore the fact that the FIS was actually representing the people's attachment to Islamic values and it had voiced the need for a better society, thus it had been superficial to compare it with other regional Islamic movements, denying it the status of interlocutor. As with the case of REMANO, the space for dialogue opened by the Community changed those acting and thinking as "warriors" into political men. In both cases, therefore, the Community has succeeded in providing the first ever guarantee to a peace process: that those involved in it act according to democratic rules.

The two study cases have also given an understanding of the necessary complementarity between formal and informal diplomacy. The international community involvement is necessary to legitimise the mediator's work and the outcomes of it. Furthermore, ensuring the means for implementation makes legitimacy concrete. The agreed outcomes maybe such that the parties cannot implement them without the assistance of other governments. It can also happen that without guarantees from third parties, they cannot develop enough trust to commit themselves to an agreement. In the case of Mozambique the means needed the outcome of the peace process consisted of: peacekeeping, help with the formation of the new armed forces, humanitarian assistance, election monitoring, etc. All these measures need a strong institutional basis with states providing funds or personnel. If this has been possible in the Mozambican case, it has not in Algeria. Here everything that was required to the international community was an effort to pressure the Algerian establishment to convene at the talks with serious proposals to lay the grounds for a negotiation. The fact that a vital interlocutor as the Algerian government was missing from the talks can be partially ascribed to the indifference of the international community despite its many declarations in favour of the initiative. This shows the necessity that informal initiatives be backed by political will and linked with formal ones, but also all the limits of official diplomacy strongly affected by pragmatism and badly conceived realism.




Note 1: In: Andrea Riccardi, Sant' Egidio, Roma e il Mondo,  Milano, ed. San Paolo, 1997, p. 101. Back.

Note 2: Words of Don Matteo Zuppi at a meeting with the Author, Rome, June 1997. Back.

Note 3: Interview with the Author, June 1997. Back.

Note 4: C. R. Mitchell, " The Motives for Mediation", in: C. R. Mitchell and K. Webb (ed. by), New Approaches to International Mediation , London, Greenwood Press, 1988, p. 31. Back.

Note 5: This seems to have been the behaviour of the Norwegian facilitators at the Oslo Channell. The whole process was set up by Terje Larsen and Mona Juul, as Jane Corbin writes: "There was also something mysterious, they all decided, about the Norwegian couple's motives. Sometimes the Israeli and the Palestinians could not really understand what made Terje and Mona give up their personal life and even, some felt, jeopardise their marriage, on the physical and emotional roller coaster of the Channel. It was not something the two Norwegians had consciously entered into at the end of 1992. By now, seven months later, there was no room or time in their lives for anything else. They felt a heavy responsibility for the secret talks, and the toll was heavy too". In: Gaza First, The Secret Norway Channel to Peace Between Israel and the PLO , London, Bloomsbury, 1994, p.141. Back.

Note 6: As John Burton states, winning is the aim of all parties engaged in a dispute. When it is viewed as an end in itself, winning can be defeating of other valued goals. In this sense winning can have consequences for the loser that lead the loser to behave in ways that can off-set the gains of victory. This is due to the fact that there can be issues which are not considered in a bargaining situation. These ca be "intangibles such as responses to humiliation, to a sense of insecurity, to a perception of injustice, to a sense of lack of consideration and respect". This kind of "failing victory" could be avoided if one seeks to arrive at win-solutions (agreements) that gave all parties what they are seeking. John W. Burton, "The Procedures of Conflict Resolution", in: Edaward E. Azar and John W. Burton, International Conflict Resolution , Wheatsheaf Books Ltd., 1986, pp. 92-93. Back.

Note 7: Marco Polo reports from his travels to China that permanent diplomatic representations already existed in that country, to the astonishment of his contemporaries. Back.

Note 8: It is commonly assumed that the informative role of diplomacy has been somehow altered by the growth of news media providing global coverage of events affecting relations among states and intra-states groups. Back.

Note 9: It has to be said that this is very much so of modern diplomacy because, in more ancient times, due to poor communication links between the diplomat and the head of state, diplomats were actually freer of taking their own initiatives even without prior consultation with the political power. Back.

Note 10: See: Vamik D. Volkan, "Official and Unofficial Diplomacy: An Overview", p. 4, for the importance of the form, and the avoidance of surfaced emotions, in the language of formal diplomacy. In: Vamic D. Volkan, Joseph V. Montville, Demetrius A. Julius (ed. by) The Psychodynamics of International Relations , vol.II, Lexington Books, 1991. Back.

Note 11: See: K. L. Waux, Ethics and the Gulf War. Religion, Rhetoric and Righteousness,  Oxford,  Westwood Press, 1992. Back.

Note 12: This realpolitik milieu can somehow be affected by the diplomats' personality. This may allow them to establish personal friendly relationships with the leaders of the country they have been accredited to, thus leading to a better understanding in the communications between governments. Back.

Note 13: Even if this can be said to be always true of official diplomats as "executives", it may happen that their leaders are more emotional and can abruptly change things "over the heads" of their representatives. Back.

Note 14: VamiK D. Volkan, cit., p. 4. An interesting example of the dismissive attitude of formal diplomacy towards the "normal, emotional world" occurred to the Author recently. I was invited with other students and researchers to a video-conference in Budapest, with some representatives of the delegations present in the Ad-Hoc Group working in Geneva for the drafting of a protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. We submitted the results of a simulated negotiation on the same issues discussed by the AHG to the delegates in Geneva who, after kindly listening, stressed twice that it was time for them "to go back to the real world". Back.

Note 15: A good example of a businessmen entering in a process of conflict resolution is given by Tiny Rowland. A man with enormous economic interests threatened by the war in Mozambique, he decided to help the peace process providing flights and accommodation for many RENAMO representatives. Back.

Note 16: Joseph V. Montville, "The Arrow and the Olive Branch: A Case for Track II Diplomacy", in: John V. McDonald &Diane B. Bendahmane (ed. by), Conflict Resolution, Track II Diplomacy , Foreign Service Institute, Washington D.C., 1995, p. 9. Back.

Note 17: A very interesting perspective on the dynamics affecting a leader's position and behaviour in time of crisis is given by the formation of a National Unity Government and the pressures for a change in the Ministry of Defence in Israel during the Six Day War. In particular see: G. Meir, My Life , London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976, p. 300 ff. And, W. Laqueur, The Road to War, 1967. The Origin of the Arab-Israel Conflict , London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968, p. 149. Back.

Note 18: J. V. Montville, cit., p. 10. Back.

Note 19: Joseph V. Montville, "The Arrow and the Olive Branch: a Case for Track II Diplomacy", in: Vamik D. Volkan, Joseph V. Montville, Demetrius A. Julius (ed. by), cit., pp. 162-163. Back.

Note 20: John McDonald has added more "tracks". He speaks of: Track III referring to the business community; Track IV referring to citizen to citizen exchange programs of all kinds; and Track V referring to the media. After 1991 he has added four more tracks: Education and Training, Peace Activism, Religion, and Funding for a total of nine tracks. J. V. McDonald, cit., p. 4. The Author finds this categorisation excessive or misleading of the meaning of diplomacy. In fact, it is the Author's opinion that McDonald is simply naming some kind of relationships or exchanges. Back.

Note 21: For an interesting example of "American Cultural Diplomacy", see: Richard T. Arnd "Cultural Diplomacy: Nurturing Critical Junctures", in Volkan, Montville and Julius (ed. by), cit., pp. 25-39. Back.

Note 22: Marieke Kleiboer, Understanding Success and Failure of International mediation , Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 40, No.2, Sage Publications, Inc., June 1996, p. 361. Back.

Note 23: Ibidem. Back.

Note 24: This factor has repeatedly been stressed by Cameron Hume in his description of the mediation performed by the Community of Sant'Egidio in the war in Mozambique. C. Hume, Ending Mozambique's War, The Role of Mediation and Good Offices , Washington, U.S. Institute of Peace, 1994. Back.

Note 25: Marieke Kleiboer, cit., p. 363. Back.

Note 26: Ibidem, p. 364. Back.

Note 27: See: Roger Fisher and William Ury, Getting to Yes. Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In , London, Hutchinson Business, 1981, p. 72-73. Back.

Note 28: Tillet, G. J, Resolving Conflicts: A Practical Approach , Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 40. Back.

Note 29: Ronal J. Fisher and Loraleigh Keashly, The Potential Complementarity of Mediation and Consultation within a Contingency Model of Third Party Intervention . Journal of Peace research, Vol. 28, No.1, 1991, p.30. Back.

Note 30: Herbert C. Kelman, "Interactive Problem Solving: The Uses and Limits of a Therapeutic Model for the Resolution of International Conflicts", in: Volkan, Montville, Julius (ed. by), cit., p. 150. Back.

Note 31: Vamik D. Volkan, "Psychological Processes in Unofficial Diplomacy", ibidem, p. 214. Back.

Note 32: John W. Burton, Conflict and Communication, The Use of Controlled Communication in International Relations , London, MacMillan, 1969, London, p. 157. Back.

Note 33: Landrum Bolling "Strengths and Weaknesses of Track Two: A personal Account", in J. V. McDonald and D. Benthamane, cit, p. 68. Back.

Note 34: Ibidem, p. 70. Back.

Note 35: Ibidem. Back.

Note 36: Ibidem, p. 71. Back.

Note 37: Ibidem, p. 72. Back.

Note 38: In this case the disputants may want to choose a face-saving way out of the conflict. In such situations negotiation through an intermediary may help protect a party's prestige. Because the desire for a settlement implies the need to make concessions, the parts could feel that conceding by means of a third party is less harmful to their reputation and their future bargaining positions than conceding to the adversary in direct negotiations. S. Touval and I.W. Zartman (ed. by), cit., p. 255. Back.

Note 39: Jacob Bercovitch, Social Conflicts and Third Parties. Strategies of Conflict Resolution , Colorado Westview Press, 1984, p.13. Back.

Note 40: C Hume, cit. , p.73. Back.

Note 41: Arthur Lall, Modern International Negotiation , Columbia University Press, London, 1966, chapter 5, pp. 47-54. Back.

Note 42: Ibidem, p. 12. Back.

Note 43: Adam Curle, In the Middle. Non-official Mediation in Violent Situations . Berg Publishers Limited, UK, 1986. Bradford Peace Studies Papers. New series, no. 1, pp.11-12. Back.

Note 44: Oran R. Young, The Intermediaries. Third Parties in International Crises , Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1967, p.35. Back.

Note 45: A. Curle, cit., p. 14. Back.

Note 46: J. Bercovitch, cit., p. 51. Back.

Note 47: For example in the peace process in Mozambique, mediated by the Italian Community of Sant'Egidio, a great amount of time was spent in trying to overcome the different views of the parties about their respective status. Frelimo, the party in government in Mozambique, was seen by Renamo (its opponent in the civil war and in the peace talks), as an illegitimate ruling party; on the other hand Frelimo considered Renamo (which was claiming the status of a political party in the peace process and in the state's political life) as a group of "bandidos armados" (armed bandits) and refused to come to the negotiating table on the same legitimate basis with Renamo. Back.

Note 48: Daniel Druckman, Human Factors in International Negotiations: Social-Psychological Aspects of International Conflict , London, Sage Publications, 1973. Vol. 2, p.23. The shape of the table and the seating arrangements help the parties to identify their status and their negotiating power. The typical shape of a negotiating table is rectangular: the two delegations are sat in front of each other and the head of the delegation seats in the middle, at his/her sides, in a decreasing order of importance, his/her aides. A similar configuration is provided by an oval table, with the difference that here there are more points of contact between the delegations. The use of a round table is not very common because it does not allow the identification of the person with the right status and power to lead the negotiation. Nevertheless, it can be used during preparatory meetings between the parties, before the actual negotiation takes place. See also: J.W. Burton, cit., p. 66-67. Back.

Note 49: All of these tasks were performed by the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the Italian Government, in helping Renamo and Frelimo opponents to attain a peace settlement in Mozambique. C. Hume, cit., p. 73. Back.

Note 50: Ibidem, p. 95. Back.

Note 51: The issues of secrecy and the control of publicity have raised some debate on their acceptability as democratic tools. Even if it is legitimate to question their arbitrary use, it must be acknowledged that they are effective in enhancing conflict management and negotiations. Ibidem, p. 100. A careful and balanced use of the element of publicity can be noticed in the declarations made to the press by the four Sant'Egisdio's mediators managing the peace process in Mozambique. In an occasion, the mediators gave the parties a deadline to resume the talks and they expressed the view that "if they did not resume by the start of November, the observers might feel obliged to make a public statement ascribing responsibility for the failure to negotiate". C. Hume, cit., p. 41. Back.

Note 52: Ibidem, p.51. Back.

Note 53: Dean G. Pruitt, Negotiation Behaviour , London, Academic Press, 1981, p. 205. Back.

Note 54: Ibidem. Back.

Note 55: Ibidem. Back.

Note 56: D. G. Pruitt, cit., p. 205. Back.

Note 57: A. Curle, cit., p. 11. Back.

Note 58: Clearly, the party which holds a more favourable position in the field will not be interested in bargaining. For an intervention to be possible there must be a balance of power between the contenders. Back.

Note 59: J. Bercovitch, cit., p.54. Back.

Note 60: It has been proved that 80% of what happens during a negotiation follows emotional/instinctive categories. Back.

Note 61: Roger Fisher and William Ury, cit., chapter 2, pp.17-40. Back.

Note 62: J. Bercovitch, cit., p. 45. Back.

Note 63: Ibidem, p. 98. Back.

Note 64: On arriving in Northern Ireland, for instance, one has very likely been told not to mention anything about politics or religion with anybody only to find out that those two subjects are virtually impossible to avoid given that everybody, everywhere, speaks about them. Back.

Note 65: Sue and Steve Williams, Being in the Middle by Being at the Edge. Quaker Experience of Non-official Political Mediation . London, Quaker Peace and Service, 1994. p. 20. Back.

Note 66: Ibidem, p. 21. Back. Note 67: O. Young, cit., p. 82. Back.

Note 68: Adam Curle, cit.,  pp.3-4. Back.

Note 69:

Oran Young makes an interesting point in observing how the mediators undertake a great responsibility stemming from their total or partial control of the communications structure. There is a great deal of power involved in controlling the flow of communications which could, in some cases at least, be turned to the talk of facilitating the termination of crises. In fact this power could be used in a self interested fashion or even disruptively as well as in a manner conducive to the non violent termination of a crisis. See O. Young, cit., p. 40. Back.

Note 70: Mediators work in polarised situations, in which the various sides create boundaries and walls to keep from knowing each other. There is often pressure on the mediator to demonstrate sympathy and understanding by refusing to hear certain sides of an issue or refusing to deal with certain people. In this sense, also, the mediation process requires a shift in thinking, and it must be emphasised from the beginning. The mediator is useful primarily as a channel between those who have no direct contact. S. & S. Williams, cit., p. 15. Back.

Note 71: Ibidem, p. 16. Back.

Note 72: Ibidem, p. 22. Back.

Note 73: Ibidem. Back.

Note 74: The governmental actors included Britain, France, Portugal, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, United States, South Africa, Italy and Zimbabwe. Among them the most significant actors were: Italy, the United States and Zimbabwe, in the person of its president Robert Mugabe. Back.

Note 75: Goncalves was one of the few black Africans to become a Catholic priest in Mozambique. Here the colonial rule had opposed the creation of a local clergy for fear that it might become a vehicle of nationalist protests. In 1974 Mozambique counted 578 Catholic priests, of which only 33 were indigenous. Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, Mozambico , Dalla guerra alla pace. Storia di una mediazione insolita , Milano, ed. san Paolo, 1994, p. 20. Back.

Note 76: Nyerere was a Christian socialist and the co-existence between socialism and freedom of religious expression realised in Tanzania, constituted an example for the Christians in Mozambique. Ibidem, p.23. Back.

Note 77: See: B. Musti De Gennaro, and G. Rinaldi, Mozambico, Note sulla cooperazione italiana , Roma, IPALMO, 1982. Back.

Note 78: Despite its socialist choice in the international arena, it blinked at the Non-Aligned choosing Zimbabwe's help to fight RENAMO, instead of Cuba's (already present in Angola). Back.

Note 79: Ibidem, p. 27. Back.

Note 80: Between 1984 and 1988 Sant'Egidio starts agricultural and textile projects in Mozambique; it co-ordinates a research on the country's history on documents kept in Europe which are copied for the Mozambican State Archive; and it hosts an exhibition of the most famous Mozambican sculptor, Alberto Chissano. These initiatives are partly funded by the Italian governmental co-operation to development and partly by money collections organised by the Community in Italy and abroad. Ibidem. P. 32. Back.

Note 81: On 28 September 1985 Samora Machel, president of a Marxist party, met the Pope in Rome under the auspices of the Community. Back.

Note 82: Ibidem, p. 38. Back.

Note 83: C. Hume, cit., p. 21. Back.

Note 84: This opinion about RENAMO is shared by various observers. RENAMO cannot be considered just as a group of outlaws: it controls a good portion of the rural zones in Mozambique, it enjoys the populations obedience and loyalty and its military performances would not be possible without the troops' total abnegation. Nevertheless, the total lack of a political design, seems to condemn it to a never-ending conflict, because it would lose its raison d'etre  in a civil life. R. Morozzo della Rocca, Mozambico, dalla guerra alla pace , cit., p. 51. Back.

Note 85: Bertuzzi owned some properties in Mozambique but they had been expropriated by the government, he was then full of resentment towards FRELIMO. Back.

Note 86: Ibidem, p. 69. Back.

Note 87: R. Morozzo della Rocca, "Sant'Egidio: la via romana alla pace ", in: Limes, Rivista Italiana di Geopolitica, no. 3, 1993, p. 79. Back.

Note 88: R. Morozzo dela Rocca, Mozambico , cit., p. 73. Vines is wrong when he states that Goncalves was with a group of other bishops. He met alone with Dhlakama. Back.

Note 89: A. Vines, Renamo, Terrorism in Mozambique , cit., pp. 158-159. Back.

Note 90: It has to be understood the RENAMO saw FRELIMO as an illegitimate government who had betrayed the expectations of the Mozambican population. Consequently only RENAMO was legitimately giving a voice to the people's needs. RENAMO criticised FRELIMO's Marxist oriented policy and it thought that the more liberal attitudes adopted by the Government after FRELIMO's fifth congress in July 1989 was due to the guerrilla's action. Back.

Note 91: In July 1989 Riccardi took part to FRELIMO's fifth congress. Back.

Note 92: The Americans had presented a seven-points draft that Dhlakama refused because it asked RENAMO to recognise FRELIMO's legitimacy. Back.

Note 93: Mario Raffaelli was named by the then Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and the Italian Foreign Minister, Gianni De Michelis. He had worked with Andreotti at the Foreign Ministry, where for six years he had been under-secretary with special responsibility for Africa. Besides being in charge for the Mozambican negotiation, Raffaelli was in charge with the Somali crisis from November 1990 to April 1991. From May 1991 he had been charged by the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe of following a mediation in Nagorno Kabarakh. Back.

Note 94: At that time FRELIMO was waving between various options: Italy, Germany, Kenya, Malawi. Malawi was preferred by Chissano as a place where to hold negotiations but Raffaelli suggested that, if Chissano availed himself of a purely African mediation, he would have put at the edge Europe's role in supporting Mozambique's reconstruction. R. Morozzo Della Rocca, cit., p. 97. Back.

Note 95: Mario Raffaelli, L'Italia e il caso Mozambico , in: Views, Rivista socialista di politica internazionale, n.1, 1992, pp. 106-109. Back.

Note 96: The same was told to President Bush by Chissano on his visit in Washington in March the same year. Back.

Note 97: In RENAMO's delegation Ululu was the only politically experienced man: he had studied abroad and he had had contacts with the early FRELIMO. Back.

Note 98: R. Morozzo Della Rocca, cit., p. 109. Back.

Note 99: Ibidem, p. 105. International reactions to the joint communiqué', include: a statement by the Committee of the Twelve and one by the US State Department encouraging the Roman initiative. Back.

Note 100: The two men meet on 12 August. This will be the only direct meeting between them in 27 months of negotiations. Back.

Note 101: With regard to Italy, the Italian government had shown no desire of getting directly involved as a mediator. Back.

Note 102: Ibidem, p. 128. Back.

Note 103: C. Hume, cit., 41. Back.

Note 104: On the whole matter of FRELIMO's attempt to "use" the Constitution as a way of please the Western countries and appeal for economic aid, which would have given the government new means of resisting RENAMO, see: David Hoile, The 1990 Frelimo Mozambican Constitution. Law or Party Politics? , London, Mozambican Institute, 1990. Back.

Note 105: The proposal is due to the mediators' imaginative creativity and is further elaborated with Italian and American military experts. The Americans get fully involved on a diplomatic level with Herman Cohen, vice-secretary of State in charge for the African Affairs, who is in Rome to meet, separately, Dhlakama and Chissano, encouraging them to sign the agreement. Back.

Note 106: The COMIVE is composed by representatives from FRELIMO, RENAMO, Congo, France, USSR, Great Britain, Kenya, Portugal, USA, Zambia. Back.

Note 107: It will be approved only after the General Peace Agreement signed on 4 October 1992, and it will mirror the decisions taken during the negotiations in Rome. Back.

Note 108: Incisa di Camerana lamented that the British and American representative were far too ready to assign RENAMO's responsibility for the attacks, even before having carried out any investigation. The wording "most probably" is the result of a compromise within the COMIVE. Back.

Note 109: Portugal was a mediator in the Angolan peace-process which looked successful in comparison with the Mozambican one. Back.

Note 110: R. Morozzo Della Rocca, cit., p. 167. Back.

Note 111: C. Hume, cit., p. 71. The inclusion of a U. N. representative in the commission was a way of satisfying RENAMO demand that U. N . acted as a transitional government on the example of the Cambodian experience. Back.

Note 112: This meant implicitly that the agreements reached in accordance with RENAMO has a constitutional nature for the government itself. Back.

Note 113: C. Hume, cit., p. 79. Back.

Note 114: Ibidem, p. 91. Back.

Note 115: A report of the European Community had noted with disappointment that neither part was co-operating with the Red Cross and the United Nations to open up roads or at least corridors. Back.

Note 116: R. Morozzo della Rocca, cit., p. 275. Back.

Note 117: See: Jean B. Duroselle, Storia Diplomatica, 1918-1972 , Roma, GEI, 1976, p. 532-536. Back.

Note 118: Ben Bella's power lasted only three years. Since then he was kept in jail or under strict surveillance until 1980. After the facts of 1988 he goes back to Algeri and founds the Algerian Democrtic Movement. Back.

Note 119: Ahmed Ben Bella, A Time for Peace in Algeria , The World Today, Vol. 51, n.11, November 1995, p. 208-209. Back.

Note 120: The revolt resembles in its dynamic the students protests in Tiean-an-Men square in China, which will take place one year later. Both in China and in Algeria the authorities were absolutely unprepared to face the young people's desire for morality in the administration of the public thing, and for a few days they did not react. Back.

Note 121: Algeria in ostaggio, p. 29. Back.

Note 122: The casualties are between 500 and 800 civilians. Back.

Note 123: Most of all France, is worried at the possibility of a contagious phenomenon. The Algerian community in Paris counts more than two million people. Back.

Note 124: It is hard to say what are the real reasons for the army opposition to democratisation in Algeria, apart from greed for power. Since 1986 at least two different trends are opposing each other from inside the army ranks. One is more favour a liberal approach to economy, and the other opts for a socialist economic ideal. Back.

Note 125: Boudiaf will last in power only for six months. He will be killed, in unprecised circumstances in June 1992, maybe because of his decisive actions against corruption. Back.

Note 126: A. Ben Bella, cit., p. 209. Back.

Note 127: It is important to precise that the FIS is not a united party. There exist different trends: the "Algerinians", most of all youngsters graduated in scientific faculties, who want a national Islam. An eastern trend, composed by students coming from eastern Algeria, and referring to the Muslim Brotherhood. The "elderly" who do not fight the establishment but want a radical Islamic state; and the "Afghani" trend, composed most of all by volunteers who fought in Afghanistan against the Russian ruler, and who are characterised by their violence. Adassi Madani and Ali Belhadj do not formally belong to either of them but have contacts with all of them. Marco Impagliazzo and Mario Giro, Algeria in Ostaggio , Milano, ed. San Paolo, p. 35. Back.

Note 128: Amnesty International, Algeria, bisogna mettere fine alla repressione della violenza , Londra, 25 ottobre 1994, p. 2. See also AI report on Algeria, 1996. Back.

Note 129: See: Le Monde , 7 March 1995. Back.

Note 130: Jacques De Barrin, Pax Romana , Le Monde, 23 November 1994. Back.

Note 131: Ahmed Ben Bella, cit. Back.

Note 132: M. Impagliazzo and M. Giro, cit., p. 179. Back.

Note 133: Ibidem. Back.

Note 134: Akram Ellyas, Eclaircie economique pour le pouvoir algerien , Le Monde Diplomatique, May 1997, p. 3. Back.

Note 135: Ibidem. Back.

Note 136: M. Impagliazzo and M. Giro, cit., p. 182. Back.

Note 137: Ibidem, p. 184. See also: L. Martinez, Les groupes islamistes entre guerillas and negoce, vers une consolidation du regime algerien? , Paris, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques. Back.

Note 138: Don Matteo Zuppi, conversation with the Author, June 1997. Back.

Note 139: Le Monde, L'Algerie reunie a Rome veut elaborer un programme de discussion , 23 November 1994. Back.

Note 140: The dead toll is 800-1000 casualties a week.  Ignacio Ramonet, Pacte pour l'Algerie , Le Monde Diplomatique, February 1995, p. Back.

Note 141: Arezki Metrief, Algerian Parties hold Peace Talks , The Guardian, 13 January 1995. Back.

Note 142: M. Marazziti and M. Impagliazzo, cit., p. 111. Back.

Note 143: Ibidem, p. 116. Back.

Note 144: Ibidem, p. 117. Back.

Note 145: The declaration marked the beginning of the liberation war in Algeria. Back.

Note 146: Ibidem, p. 126. Back.

Note 147: On 3 January 1995, the Islamic Armed Group (GIA) warned all western embassies that all foreigners would become murder targets if they did not leave the country. In: New Straits Times, Working Towards a Miracle in Algeria , 1 march 1995, p. 31. Back.

Note 148: Corriere della Sera, Algeria, Mitterand contro i duri di Parigi , 8 February 1995. Back.

Note 149: Corriere della Sera, L'Eliseo appoggia Sant'Egidio e propone un summit sull'Algeria , 4 February 1995. Back.

Note 150: M. Impagliazzo and M. Marazziti, cit., p. 160. Back.

Note 151: Ibidem, p. 165. Back.

Note 152: The essence of Sant'Egidio work in Mozambique was to find ways to express Renamo's ideas in terms consistent wit the overall goal of reconciliation. Back.

Note 153: The question of the language to be used and perceived during a conflict resolution process would deserve a study in itself, the reader can have an idea of the complexity of the issue by reading chapter 3 of Tillet's cited book (pp.21-32). Back.