I am a bit worried about a trend at the beginning of year 2009 – a trend I hope will not dominate the rest of the year. The phenomena in my mind is the new tradition of non-negotiation. Crisis management and solving conflicts will be much more harder if local stakeholders are unable even to talk each other.
Few examples from last weeks:
- Israel does not negotiate with Hamas so war and human catastrophe will continue before some outsiders are broking s.c. temporary ceasefire or truce while sustainable solution would need long and deep negotiations between local partners.
- U.S. and Iran are discussing in UN and direct talks we must wait until new President takes his office in White House. Let’s hope that situation does not escalate before that. If real talks had been implemented earlier some today’s problems in Middle East could be now smaller or non-existing.
- Separatist government in Kosovo province does not want talk with Belgrade authorities about technical details of UN six-point plan from November 2008 before Belgrade recognizes Kosovo; Belgrade will talk with Pristina’s separatist government only when they act under UNMIK (administration of Kosovo international protectorate) umbrella. So many practical problems will not be solved.
- Russia and Ukraine and EU knew problems with gas deliveries years ago, last October was clear that after New Year deliveries maybe stop – no constructive talks even Xmas-week. When homes in Europe started frozen there seemed to be no hurry to negotiate. When finally EU broke the deal to accept EU monitors to check if Ukraina is stealing gas from pipes or not the last delay was waiting if Ukraina will sign the agreement. Big mess again when leaders are not willing to discuss in due course.
It is amazing how on the modern time of information society the authorities are not discussing common problems. Everywhere else the information flow is huge, on-time debate over today’s conflicts is going on around the globe. Some forums are of course for those who in principle are thinking same way over issues but also real unlimited and open forums are available. Internet is full of ideas, arguments, real-time situation information, proposals and solutions. It is sad that when we have all real-time information and modern communication means those who can deside do not bother to have simple old fashion or modern discussions with their colleagues.