Birte Vogel interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland
Yesterday, HCRI PhD candidate Birte Vogel gave an interview to BBC Radio Scotland on conflict resolution, the role of compromise and why many peace processes fail over this issue. The debate included former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain and peace activist and lawyer Trevor England, and was prompted by the events surrounding the release ofÂ a man accused of the IRA Hyde Park bombing in 1982.
As the discussion widened out to look beyond Northern Ireland and at conflict resolution on an international level, Birte was asked to elaborate on the role compromise plays during conflict resolution. She pointed to the different ways in which agreements are reached and the possible pitfalls they entail. While compromise can be reached on the elite level, and often include questions of governance and statebuilding the decisions might not reflect local interests. Especially emotional and symbolic topics that have been used by political elites to justify conflict dynamics can become obstacles in finding a political agreement. If these agreements do not address local concerns, they might lead to a fragile peace.
Using the case of Cyprus, where elite negotiations have so far failed to reach an agreement over the past 50 years, Birte demonstrated that a reverse process can be observed: while certain segments of society already found ways to transcend conflict lines and lay out the foundation of peace and possible compromises, such as the bi-communal movement, political elites are trapped in their ethno-national rhetoric which prevents them from finding a solution.