Peacemaking in Burundi: Conflict Resolution versus Conflict Management Strategies

Jessica Piombo
2010 African Security  
Peacemakers are faced with a difficult decision when engaging in negotiations to end conflict: should they adopt a conflict resolution strategy that seeks to address the fundamental drivers of conflict (root causes) or pursue a more limited strategy of conflict termination that seeks to respond to the symptoms of violence? This article investigates this question through a case study of the Burundian civil war of the 1990s. It analyzes externally facilitated peace negotiations in order to
more » ... in order to explore the types of issues that were brought into the process, to ask when and why certain issues were or were not considered, and to investigate the effects of the choices made in negotiating strategies. The lessons of the Burundi case suggest that fundamental issues must be addressed if a conflict is to be fully resolved rather than just managed. Delaying the resolution of root causes until after peacemakers have exited the situation can enable powerful groups to avoid addressing the issues. After the peacemaking and negotiations process ends, there is less international attention and pressure, so the ability to perpetuate the status quo is enhanced. The difficulty is that the issues that fomented conflict in the first place may prove too sensitive to be introduced into negotiations when the conflict is either ongoing or very recent.
doi:10.1080/19392206.2010.533579 fatcat:kybn4ylkzbgq7erfhbgxpkpnsy