Mediating Violent Conflict
What should be the primary obligation of a mediator in a violent conflict? Halting the violence as soon as possible, even if this means accepting a fragile peace agreement? Or, Creating the most durable peace agreement possible, even if this means allowing the violence to continue as negotiations proceed?
Support your position with at least one reason why. Find an argument from the other side and offer a response to that position.
In my point of view, the primary obligation of a mediator should be to find everlasting solution to the conflict even if that allows the conflict to continue for some time. This is because, if we stopped the conflict in order to achieve a fragile peace deal, it would mean that we did not technically achieve anything. A deadly and worst conflict may also erupt later or even the winning group may eliminate the loosing party.
I agree that, ideally, a peace negotiation process should find a lasting and sustainable solution to a conflict. However, in reality, circumstances are usually far from ideal and parties may find the prospect of reaching a comprehensive agreement very daunting. Importantly, their regional and international supporters, whose position is also very important in a conflict, may also find it difficult to agree. For these reasons, I think mediators should consider if it is possible to achieve peace step-by-step, one ceasefire at a time. If mediators believe they can achieve a halt in human suffering which does not seriously undermine the entire process, I think they should seize the opportunity.
I agree with the argument presented above. In practice, the most pragmatic approach would most probably entail striving to reach a lasting solution one step at a time. While a durable peace agreement should remain as the ultimate end goal, there might be several steps such as negotiating a truce, cessation of hostilities or a ceasefire preceding the more substantial negotiations for a peace treaty or other kind of framework agreement.
As a mediator in my opinion, I would priority chances to negotiate cessation of hostilities for secure and inclusive mediation to set up.
A ceasefire might not necessarily mean that secure and inclusive mediation can be set up. Without willingness to engage in a mediation process a ceasefire might just be an oportunity to strengthen the fighting capacity of the parties and lead to a more violent relapse in conflict
While my immediate response would be to end the violence as soon as possible, I know that it would be more advantageous to all parties if we were able to develop a more lasting and final peace agreement. An agreement that can go on for years and keep the peace rather than a short fragile solution just to mitigate the violence.
While I agree with several points made below that support both of these choices, I do believe that a durable peace is the most desirable outcome, and if it means that violence continues as the negotiations take place, that will certainly add an element of urgency to the proceedings. Knowing that there is and will continue to be human suffering during the negotiation process should make a peaceful resolution an imperative. It is mandatory to guide the parties toward an agreement that will bring about a durable, lasting peace rather than one that has been hastily put together in order to stop the fighting outside. The conflict will continue and more blood will be shed if the negotiations are not done properly the first time, and you may not be able to get both sides back to the negotiating table a second time.
My point of view is that when you create the most durable peace agreement, even though the violence keeps going, automatically you gain more time. You will be able to know better each side and create good strategies based on it. I believe that if you halt the violence quickly, not analyzing carefully the whole field, it is a bond that could be easily broken.