Conflict & Justice

Talking Peace: This week in global diplomatic negotiations


August 14, 2013- Families celebrate the release of 11 Palestinian prisoners from an Israeli jail in the Mikatah compound in Ramallah, West Bank. Israel announced that 26 Palestinian prisoners will be released, 15 to Gaza and 11 sent to West Bank, as part of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.


Ilia Yefimovich

Diplomats around the world took action this week—starting new programs or conversations around peace, and reinforcing stances on continuing violent conflicts.

Turkey’s foreign minister urgently responded to this morning’s crackdown in Cairo, the US is going to North Korea next week to attempt peace talks, Israeli/Palestinian negotiations did not allow settlement protests to stall talks again and Britain sends its first “one-man mission” in half a century to Haiti.

Here are some of this week’s updates on important peace talks and developments to keep an eye on:


In the wake of this morning’s deadly crackdown on Pro-Morsi protestors in Cairo, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been “intensively conducting phone diplomacy” according to Turkish news publication World Bulletin.

Davutoglu spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging that the international community help to end bloodshed and police intervention in Egypt.

The foreign minister also spoke with his counterparts in, France, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar Germany regarding the police assault on Egyptian civilians.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also strongly condemned the storming of the sit-ins.


As Washington plans its next step in un-troubling its ties with Pyongyang, a US diplomat will head to Asia to discuss human rights in North Korea, according to the Bangkok Post.

Robert King, the US envoy for human rights in North Korea, will meet officials in China, South Korea and Japan as well as North Koreans resettled in the South next week, the State Department said.

Tensions peaked earlier this year when North Korea completed its third nuclear test, once more threatening to strike the United States.

Despite the somewhat cold response the US have given to North Korea’s attempt to restart talks, some are saying tensions are finally easing. The US, however, remains only interested in resuming talks “if Pyongyang commits to giving up its nuclear weapons.”

The State Department announced King will also be meeting with officials from the UN High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Program in Beijing.

Also up for consideration is a 2012 agreement in which the US promised to provide food assistance to North Korea, which has reported malnutrition. King was involved in that agreement, which was suspended after Kim Jong-Un's regime launched a rocket in April 2012.


Wednesday evening marked the beginning of the second round of negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, who met shortly before 7:00 pm in Jerusalem.

The meeting is expected to address the guidelines and agendas for negotiations, as well as respective positions on issues to be covered, over a period of several hours.

The talks resumed despite Palestinian protest “over Israel's ongoing announcements that it will construct homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” according to Haaretz.

In a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday, Haaretz reported, Kerry said the plans “were not helpful to the negotiations with the Palestinians.”

The Housing Ministry has made a series of announcements for housing units, last week saying the construction of hundreds of housing units in secluded settlements would go forth, and Sunday announcing 1,200 housing units in East Jerusalem and settlement blocks around the capital.

"We must be smart, not just right," Netanyahu said in mid-June. "Settlement in the [West Bank and East Jerusalem] blocs does not significantly change our ability to reach an agreement – that is a false claim. The real question is whether there is or isn't a willingness [among the Palestinians] to accept a Jewish state."


A new “one-man mission” in Haiti is said to be spearheading “a new wave of British diplomacy,” according to the Guardian.

Rick Shearn is “Britain's first chargé d'affaires” in Haiti in half a century.

“Shearn is in the vanguard of a new wave of British diplomacy that aims to reverse the retreat of UK influence in Latin America,” the Guardian reported. “His arrival in June has drawn a mix of enthusiasm, scepticism and suspicion…”

Gerard Corley Smith, one of Shearn’s predecessors, was kicked out of Haiti in 1962 for “criticizing the excesses of the Tontons Macoute militia,” which was allegedly responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Haitians. The Duvalier government, according the Guardian, accused Smith of "impertinence and haughtiness as a British colonialist.”