Nissen, Ada and Hilde Henriksen Waage. “Weak Third Parties and Ripening: Revisiting Norwegian Interventions in Guatemala and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” International Negotiation 20.3 (2015): 389-413.
Can weak third parties contribute to ripening conflicts for resolution despite their lack of leverage? According to the core principles of ripeness theory, mediators with leverage have a clear advantage when it comes to ripening. What is often overlooked in the literature, however, is the important ways a weak mediator can contribute to ripening as well. This article explores two noteworthy cases of weak third party ripening – the Norwegian roles in the Oslo channel between Israel and the Palestinians, and between the URNG guerrilla and the government in Guatemala. These cases demonstrate how careful interventions by weak third parties can help disputants see negotiations as a way out both in preliminary and later phases of negotiations. However, we also argue that weak third parties should not get involved in ripening unless they can call on a mediator with more leverage once substantial negotiations begin.