On success and failure: Readiness theory and the Aceh and Sri Lanka peace processes

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This study presents a comparative analysis of two case studies in which attempts were made to resolve intractable ethno-national conflicts: the peace process undertaken in Aceh between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, which led to the signing of the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ending the conflict in Aceh; and the process conducted in the Sri Lanka conflict from 2001 through 2004 between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, which failed to yield an agreement. The two peace processes will be examined using readiness theory, which focuses on the factors influencing the decision to enter into negotiations. This article also attempts to extend the hypotheses of readiness theory to explore the process of concession-making during the negotiations that took place in the two case studies. The findings indicate that the theory does contribute to understanding the dynamics of the pre-negotiation in both case studies and that applying its hypotheses may contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of the process of reaching an agreement in the Aceh process and of the factors leading to the failure of the negotiations in the Sri Lanka conflict. The analysis also gives rise to some questions that challenge readiness theory and its hypotheses-empirically and methodologically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-126
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Negotiation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Aceh
  • Gerekan Aceh Merdeka (gam)
  • Indonesia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tamil Tigers (ltte)
  • negotiation
  • readiness
  • third party


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