Reading 1: Brickhill, J. (2007). Protection of the civilian population through peace agreements. Challenges and lessons learned from the Darfur Peace Agreement. ISS Paper 138. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. On 23 October, negotiators from the warring parties in Libya signed a ceasefire agreement in Geneva. However, the text lacks specificity, so the parties have the margin to withdraw from their obligations. During World War I, on December 24, 1914, there was an unofficial armistice on the Western Front when France, Britain and Germany celebrated Christmas.
According to reports, the unofficial armistice took place in the week before Christmas and British and German troops exchanged seasonal vows and songs between their trenches.  The ceasefire was short but spontaneous. Starting with German soldiers lighting Christmas trees, it quickly spread to the Western Front.  One report describes developments in the following terms: Several attempts have been made to mediate ceasefires in the Syrian civil war.  Once in force, ceasefires have their own dynamics. Civilian hopes for a peaceful solution to another conflict are inflated within belligerent societies and are driving up the political costs of breaking the ceasefire. In addition, ceasefires delay national coalitions and create new institutional interests in maintaining peaceful relations, even as interests and coalitions against the ceasefire emerge at the same time. Pressure from third parties who are able to reward or sanction the parties to an agreement can provide additional assurances as to the interests of the parties in maintaining a ceasefire and further highlight them. Indeed, ceasefires are increasingly accompanied by the introduction of peacekeepers to monitor agreements and create a buffer zone between adversaries that helps to allay fears and the risk of renewed violence.
In fact, the introduction of third parties is often a prerequisite for a ceasefire. For example, Liberian President Charles Taylor agreed in a ceasefire agreement signed with rebel forces to step down when international peacekeepers (especially U.S. troops) arrived to monitor the agreement and help maintain stability. As soon as third parties are involved in a peace process, it is in their interest to comb through it and thus provide additional resources and momentum for ceasefire programmes. Mari Fitzduff suggests that ceasefire agreements and peace processes take a long time to develop. Parties to the conflict may consider ceasefires for both tactical and strategic reasons. Understanding this reasoning is essential to understanding what political compromise the parties might consider when negotiating the details of an agreement. Parties may need a pause to overthrow their fighters, or they may want to establish the other side`s leadership and control over their troops, if not their political will to negotiate. The question will arise as to whether negotiators have sufficient weight within their own party or whether they are able to take relevant decisions on behalf of the party to the conflict they represent.
Understanding who negotiating teams are accountable to and how they are engaged is also essential to ensure buy-in. An example of a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was announced on 8 February 2005 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. During the announcement, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat publicly defined the ceasefire as follows: “We have agreed that President Mahmoud Abbas will today declare a complete end to violence against Israelis around the world and that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will declare a complete cessation of violence and military activities against Palestinians around the world.  The author, a veteran who served as an adviser for the peace talks in Abuja, examines the extent to which security arrangements were treated only as a “technical issue.” .