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Ad Hoc Multilateral Diplomacy: The United States, the Contact Group, and Namibia

Margaret P. Karns
International Organization
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Winter, 1987), pp. 93-123
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2706671
Page Count: 31
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Ad Hoc Multilateral Diplomacy: The United States, the Contact Group, and Namibia
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Abstract

In 1977 the United States joined with four other Western nations to create the Contact Group, a unique, ad hoc multilateral effort to negotiate an internationally acceptable plan for the independence of Namibia. The Group succeeded in creating and sustaining a negotiating process for five years where none had previously existed and in securing agreement on the basic elements of a settlement plan, though not its implementation. Extensive interviews with past and present U.S., UN, and other officials provide a basis for analyzing the Contact Group, the advantages and liabilities of such an ad hoc multilateral approach, and the circumstances under which such an approach is likely to be useful in the future.

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