|As a result, an increasing number
of small and big peace moves, trends and achievements throughout the world have taken
place in the last few years.
The following is only a selection of the most significant ones:
"The past few years have been an age of miracles.
Unimaginable events, consummations devoutly wished for but never really expected, have succeeded one another as if the Creator had whistled up a new world.
The Berlin Wall tumbles. The Soviet empire melts away. Nelson Mandela, free at last, begins to bring democracy to black South Africans.
Now comes what must be considered one of the greatest miracles of all: the first acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they can share the land both call home."
TIME magazine September 21, 1993
1979: Signing of Peace
Treaty between Egypt and Israel
While President Sadat's decision to go to Jerusalem was an historic breakthrough, it did not instantly lead to tangible results. It took 16 long months of arduous diplomacy before Egypt and Israel were able to agree on a peace treaty.
Finally however, on 26 March 1979, President Anwar Sadat of
Egypt and Premier Menachem Begin of Israel came to Washington DC, and put their seal on
a comprehensive peace treaty. It was also signed by American President Jimmy Carter, the
man largely responsible for keeping the negotiation process alive when all had seemed
lost. Of the treaty Carter said, "I think this was a kind of answer to those who are
cynical about basic human attitudes and attributes. I think the inclination toward peace
and love transcended those toward war and hatred."
1988: End of the Cold War
between Russia and the US
The treaty they signed abolished the intermediate nuclear forces of both superpowers, namely 1,752 Soviet and 859 American warheads deployed in Europe and Asia. It was the first treaty ever signed by the superpowers that entailed wholesale reductions in nuclear weapons, and which required both sides to make significant compromises to their strategic defence policies.
1989: Breaking down of the
On July 1, 1990, an economic, monetary and social union
between East and West Germany was formed, and all restrictions concerning travel were
dropped, thereby signifying the reunification of East and West Germany.
1989: Revolution across Europe
1993: Israel and Palestine sign
Steps toward Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and
Jericho were outlined and accepted. It was seen as the first move towards autonomy for the
West Bank and a more general peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbours.
1994: Nelson Mandela becomes
President of South Africa
1998: Northern Ireland Peace
Highlights on more peace developments
Romania and Hungary (1996): They agreed to sign a friendship treaty on the contentious issue of the position and rights of the Hungarian minority in the Romanian province of Transylvania, an issue which has been at the heart of several wars between the two countries.
Philippine peace "A miracle from God" (1996): Peace talks ended a 26-year Muslim separatist rebellion in the southern Philippines. Rebel leader Misuari and Philippine President Fidel Ramos announced a settlement focused on poverty alleviation and greater autonomy for the Muslims. One rebel commander said of the agreement: "I think this is a miracle from God."
Guatemala (1996): After 36 years of civil war and more than 100,000 people dead, Guatemala signed a treaty between the government and its guerrilla adversaries.
Korean (1997): Representatives from North and South Korea met in New York with American officials and discussed peace for the first time since the Korean War.
Malaysia and Thailand (1997): After 15 years of disagreement, Malaysia and Thailand said they plan to settle their border dispute.
Ukraine and Poland (1997): A "Declaration on Accord and Unity" was signed, aimed at ending a long history of conflicts between the two nations.
Less wars (1997): "Stockholms International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) announced in its yearbook the gradual reduction in wars around the planet. Each year since 1989 and since the Cold War ended, the number of wars has been reduced. In 1989 there were 36 major conflicts in the world; in 1995 the number was reduced to 30; and in 1996 to 27. Among these there was only one, the war between India and Pakistan regarding the Kashmir region, that crossed national borders. The year before there had been only one new 'serious' conflict: the war in Northern Uganda.
Agreements in South and Central America (1998): Ecuador and Peru signed an agreement over a three-year border dispute that hopefully will lead to a peace treaty.
Honduras and El Salvador resolved a long border dispute by agreeing to mark 151,5 miles of border physically within a year.
In Colombia, guerrilla ELN and representatives of the church and trade union organizations met to discuss moves towards peace after nearly four decades of conflict.
East Timor (1998): In the first diplomatic
breakthrough in over 20 years, Indonesia and Portugal agreed to an autonomy plan for the
disputed territory of East Timor.