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N-Conference 2019 Interview with Catherine Ashton - The future of negotiations

Aug 29, 2019
Baroness Catherine Ashton

Baroness Catherine Ashton negotiated the transitional agreement in the nuclear arms dispute with Iran. She presents the most important changes in international negotiations of the future.

“Any negotiation needs to start from an understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Then stick to it.“

What are the changes, that you see within the scope of political negotiations?

International negotiations are often conducted under a media spotlight - we had hundreds of journalists waiting for the outcome of each round of the Iran negotiations - are buffeted by demands from outside.

Which skills & abilities within the frame of negotiations will become important in the future?

I often talk about the “warm up” - time spent understanding the mood and dynamics at play before formal negotiations began. Before negotiations began between Serbia and Kosovo I would meet the Prime Ministers separately to find out how they were and what was uppermost in their mind.  In my four years of negotiation with Iran, I met the chief negotiator for dinner the night before each round began.

“Most serious negotiations happen quietly and take time.”

“Dealing with a world of constant information and 24 hour media has changed the way negotiators work.  But the principles remain the same. The purpose is to get to a solution that works.”

Read her bio here.

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