De Facto States and Land-for-Peace Agreements: Territory and Recognition at Odds?
Sovereignty conflicts are inevitably linked to geography. Can there be geographical solutions to secessionist conflicts, which are caught between two principles at cross purposes: the principle of self-determination (defended by de facto states) and the principle of territorial integrity (defended by parent states)?
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Land-for-peace agreements are negotiated settlements where the importance which the de facto state puts on the territory it will have to give up and the peace it will gain is weighed against the importance which the parent state puts on the territory it will reclaim and the peace it will exchange. Although the value that the parties put on the gains they will achieve might seem incompatible, it is important to investigate under which conditions territorial adjustments may bring about the possibility of a peace settlement.
At the seminar, we will explore the possibility of land-for-peace agreements in four de facto state–parent state pairs: Kosovo–Serbia, Nagorno-Karabakh–Azerbaijan, Northern Cyprus–Republic of Cyprus, and Abkhazia–Georgia. This is indeed timely, as there have been recent important shifts in the approaches of commentators and in state practices, advocating non-traditional, partitionist peace agreements. The conservative attitudes on these issues that have dominated international order since World War II is increasingly being challenged.
Eiki Berg is Professor of International Relations at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on critical geopolitics, territoriality issues and bordering practices, and on various aspects of de facto state dynamics.