What are you searching for?

Unfinished Business: Why International Negotiations Fail

Faure, G. O. (ed.) (2012). University of Georgia Press, Atlanta GA, USA.


Most studies of international negotiations take successful talks as their subject. With a few notable exceptions, analysts have paid little attention to negotiations ending in failure. The essays in Unfinished Business show that as much, if not more, can be learned from failed negotiations as from successful negotiations with mediocre outcomes. Failure in this study pertains to a set of negotiating sessions that were convened for the purpose of achieving an agreement but instead broke up in continued disagreement.

Seven case studies compose the first part of this volume: the United Nations negotiations on Iraq, the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David in 2000, Iran-European Union negotiations, the Cyprus conflict, the Biological Weapons Convention, the London Conference of 1830–33 on the status of Belgium, and two hostage negotiations (Waco and the Munich Olympics). These case studies provide examples of different types of failed negotiations: bilateral, multilateral, and mediated (or trilateral). The second part of the book analyzes empirical findings from the case studies as causes of failure falling in four categories: actors, structure, strategy, and process. The last section of Unfinished Business contains two summarizing chapters that provide broader conclusions—lessons for theory and lessons for practice.

About the Author

Guy Olivier Faure is a professor of sociology at the Sorbonne University and trains negotiators with UNESCO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. He has written or edited fifteen books on negotiation and conflict resolution, including most recently Negotiating with Terrorists: Strategy, Tactics, and Politics. Faure acknowledges the assistance of Franz Cede, senior advisor at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy.