For more than five decades, Cypriot leaders have been engaged in negotiations to resolve the Cyprus conflict. For more than four of those decades, that negotiation has been one to reunite a divided island in a bizonal bicommunal federal system. From its inception, negotiations were imagined and understood as a 'comprehensive settlement', one in which all issues related to reunification would be addressed in a single document. Post-1974, the discussion that had previously addressed questions of power-sharing and security expanded to include questions of territorial adjustment, the return of displaced persons, and compensation for lost property. Over the years, Track 1 level peace negotiations between the two communities have begun and have stalled, fast-tracked, revisited and re-launched with fatigue lined with hope. Myriad failed attempts at reaching a 'comprehensive settlement' is progressively prompting self-reflection on the conflict resolution and negotiation principles and approaches employed in Cyprus. Increasing number of stakeholders, practitioners and researchers are questioning the "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" principle. This principle first adopted in The Joint Framework Document between Britain and Ireland in 1995, was later be applied in Israel-Palestine, Bosnia, Colombia, and Cyprus. Ultimately, this principle tries to ensure a 'big picture negotiation', where individual items cannot be settled separately and the parties can avoid committing themselves to individual parts of the agreement. However, this also means that they can all at any time renege on anything they've agreed to.
Given the current despondent mood and stalled Track 1 process, a critical reflection on the methodology of the peace process itself is necessary. Indeed, the need for a full reassessment of the peace process has been called for at all levels, with former United Nations Special Advisor, Espen Barth Eide commenting that in hindsight transparency and shared knowledge would have significantly increased the likelihood of a positive outcome. This conference organised by the PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD) will examine the 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed' principle from a comparative lens, drawing on processes, practices and lessons learned in other contexts such as the Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Indonesia and Israel-Palestine. Speakers will discuss different negotiation parameters and comprehensive settlement approaches employed in different peace processes.
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Concept note, agenda and bios attached