46. Diplomatic negotiation

29 Oct

Diplomatic negotiation

1. Diplomacy is the art of negotiation. It was through the negotiating process States have agreed on the conditions of their coexistence and have tried to prevent the break-out of war over a set of crucial issues. In fact, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations established negotiation as one of the fundamental functions of the diplomatic mission.

2. Diplomatic negotiation is regarded as a key technique for promoting national interests and the most effective means for achieving the objectives of the foreign policy of States. It has become an essential procedure for the exercise of diplomacy and it allows representatives of States to provide outstanding services to their nations.

3. Negotiation usually aims to conclude international commitments, to develop rules of this nature, to increase political, economic, legal, social understanding between governments, to consolidate their friendly relations and, above all, to prevent or resolve conflict situations or controversies between States.  

4. The diplomatic negotiator, in addition to possessing the required skill, talent and unwavering commitment to the fundamental interests of the State he represents, must naturally have a profound knowledge of national and international reality.

5. He should also be aware of and be able to master the increasing specialisation in certain areas essential to his professional practice. Similarly, he should have frequent updates surrounding the rigorous, theoretical thinking of professional analysts in the area of negotiation and also learn from the practical experience of practitioners in the field of negotiation.

6. As a representative of a State, the diplomatic negotiator should be aware of all possible interpretations of his and his counterparts’ behaviour. Realising, of course, that his counterparts will have a similar attitude towards him, he must at all times be very vigilant while conducting his task with extreme dignity.

7. The diplomatic negotiator must develop the ability, not only to analyse the views of the other side, but also the changing perspectives and positions it may adopt, in order to visualize intermediate lines that offer advantageous options.

8. He must keep in mind that to achieve his ultimate goal he must be prepared to present his State’s case properly so as to persuade and convince the other side to accept his position. At the same time, he must be alert not only of the tactics of the adversary, but also of the complicated  operations carried out by third countries which are not in the negotiation but which may have special interests in the outcome and thus may seek to influence the result.

9. In the universe of international law, negotiation is the oldest and most frequently used methods of peaceful settlement. In fact article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations establishes as one of the peaceful settlement of international disputes, first bargaining (direct settlement), followed by the good offices, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration, all of which are, indeed, rules of negotiation.

10. In treaty law, negotiation is the critical phase of the conclusion of treaties. It consists of a set of actions leading to the drafting of these agreements.

11. Negotiation can be formal or informal. In the formal form, the diplomat commits himself and his Head of State to particular actions, while the latter is carried out without compromising the Head of State or any representative of the particular State. Similarly, a confidential or secret negotiation may formally or informally commit the parties to remain quiet about their purpose and decided action. But usually, an informal negotiation is usually carried out privately outside of any formal relationship and may serve to prepare for upcoming formal negotiations. 

 © Copyright by Odeen Ishmael



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