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The term “ceasefire” is the antonym of the military expression “open fire” and signifies a call to terminate hostilities. Ceasefire agreements are regularly announced as part of a peace process and can suggest a level of commitment between warring parties to seek an end to armed conflict. Ceasefire periods can also be used as cover by groups to remobilize, rearm, and manoeuver. Announcing a ceasefire can be done unilaterally, but could also follow an agreement between warring parties. Ceasefires can be verbal or written, and their terms can be public or secret. Third party mediation can lead to a ceasefire, or, alternatively, ceasefires can be imposed on parties by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions under chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The scope of ceasefires may be general and encompass an entire conflict zone and all parties active in it, or the ceasefire can be specific wherein the locations and actors are limited.
Nomenclature of Ceasefires
KeywordsCessation of hostilities Conflict resolution Peace accord Peace processes
This is an output of the Political Settlements Research Programme, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK. The views expressed and information contained herein are not necessarily those of or endorsed by DFID which can accept no responsibility for such views or information or for any reliance placed on them.
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