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Peacemaking in Civil War: International Mediation in Zimbabwe, 1974-1980

Stephen John Stedman
ISBN: 978-1-55587-200-7
1990/258 pages/LC: 90-42271

"A captivating analysis of the factors that contribute to the negotiated resolution of civil wars . . . by drawing upon the experience of Zimbabwe. . . . Stedman not only provides a theoretically sophisticated analysis, he also constructs richly detailed case studies."—The International Journal of African Historical Studies

"The definitive work on the Zimbabwe negotiation process and an excellent study of the mechanics of mediation. Stedman has dug deeply to find important new material on the events leading up to Lancaster House; his analysis is clinching and penetrating."—I. William Zartman

"Stedman effectively weaves together a broad array of disparate materials on the process of negotiating an agreement to end the war in Zimbabwe. . . . A complicated story, well told."—Donald Rothchild


Challenging the literatures on war termination, civil war, and revolution—which typically dismiss the possibility of negotiated settlement—Stephen Stedman examines the problem of negotiations during civil wars and demonstrates that third party mediation can help resolve such conflicts.

Stedman analyzes four international attempts to mediate a settlement to the Zimbabwean civil war of the 1970s and compares the three failed negotiations—the 1974-1975 Kenneth Kaunda/John Vorster "detente" exercise, the Henry Kissinger mediation that led to the Geneva conference of 1976, and the Anglo-American initiatives of David Owen and Cyrus Vance in 1977-1978—with the successful 1979 Lancaster House Conference on Rhodesia, chaired by Lord Carrington. Drawing on primary sources not available previously, his discussion of the factors that distinguish the failures from the successful attempt is a major contribution to conflict resolution theory, particularly with reference to the work of William Zartman. A final chapter considers the lessons of the Zimbabwe experience for South Africa today.


Stephen John Stedman is senior research fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University.