Book chapter

Mediation and Foreign Policy (2017)

in: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics


Mediation is now the most popular form of conflict management, and it has proven to be an
effective means of resolving inter- and intrastate disputes. This article offers an overview of
mediation in foreign policy. We first highlight which actors tend to perform mediatory roles,
emphasizing the relative strengths and weaknesses of individual, state, and international
organization mediators. Next we discuss the supply and demand of mediation, identifying the key
conditions that promote third parties' efforts to offer mediatory assistance and belligerents to
accept the help of an intermediary. We then discuss the process and varying methods used by
mediators, highlighting the range of actions from relatively soft facilitative mediation, up to more
manipulative approaches. Finally we discuss the outcomes that mediation tends to produce and the
conditions that influence the effectiveness of this preeminent foreign policy tool.