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avatar for Leonie Solomons

Leonie Solomons

Sunderland University
Sri Lanka
Leading from my doctoral thesis where I addressed governance issues facing Sri Lanka, two worthy generic research topics have emerged. The generic research pertains to countries facing heightened secession threats, which stated inversely relates to aspiring secessionists who seek land mass thus necessitating partition and formation of new sovereign borders. The first area of generic research concerns, developing a way of assessing the strength of a secessionist’s bid to achieve what I call ‘operational viability’ in the international arena. It is proposed that this assessment can be done from the perspective of what it takes to avert secession as much as it can be done from the angle of what it takes to achieve secession. What this paper outlines is the embryonic thinking of what such an assessment framework would look like.The relevance of such assessment is that it has the value of being used as leverage for and during internal self-determination Peace Talks. In this sense, it is much like the leverage that the results of war obtain, but without the high social and economic price that such necessitates. Furthermore, the very assessment calls to attention the international dimension of secessionist bids and can serve to bring specific awareness of what it takes for a New State to survive in the international context and thus the reduced value of war. Stemming from understanding what it takes for a New State to achieve ‘operational viability’ and the need to participate in the international interoperability systems (e.g. obtaining its international telephone dialing code) one discovers the UN has high variety absorbing power which can be usefully designed to guide internal self-determination Peace Talks. The question warranting research is - how can such be proposed to the UN and how can the opposing protagonist be attracted to the proposal of UN intervention. Early thinking on how to absorb the variety that such a question poses is addressed in this presentation. To understand how these generic propositions arrive, this paper commences with outlining what was learnt from the diagnosis and ‘process’ solution proposed for Sri Lanka. It then switches to discuss the generic based on the constitutional compliance that arises when proactive and astute negotiators, negotiate from the position of keeping open their contingency position/s. In the case of internal self-determination negotiations, one such contingency is external self-determination which thus entails considerations of what it takes to achieve or avert operational viability of the aspiring New State.