Negotiations and Power Asymmetries: The Cases of Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka

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Ethnic conflict, as illustrated by the cases of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, and Sri Lanka, has been difficult to negotiate due to the power asymmetries involved and the general belief of national governments that such issues should be solved through the political process. Although external, ethnic-linked groups can help address some of the problems of power asymmetry, they can also complicate the process. Changing power structures in an increasingly multicentric world may create an environment in which successful resolution of ethnic violence becomes more likely, but democracy impacts both positively and negatively upon such an outcome.

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