#Forbes: Top 10 world changing negotiations for 2024
The global economy is in turmoil. The war in Ukraine, the COVID pandemic, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and other factors have created a maelstrom of economic uncertainty.
10. Amazon and Salesforce: The (Probable) Business Deal of the Year
Rumors say Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Salesforce have been in merger talks for several months. If it happened, it would combine two of the largest and most successful tech companies in the world.
Amazon would have a dominant position in the cloud computing and CRM (customer relationship management) markets. Amazon's cloud computing capabilities could also be integrated with Salesforce's CRM software to create a more comprehensive and powerful suite of business applications.
9. G20 Negotiations That Will Shape The World
The G20 (Group of 20) is an international forum for the world's 20 largest economies, accounting for approximately 85 % of global GDP and two-thirds of the world's population. Negotiations held there have direct consequences for the economic, environmental, and social well-being of a vast majority of the planet. The 2024 G20 summit will take place in Rio de Janeiro in November.
The ongoing war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates, combined with debt crises in many countries will keep discussions on financial stability and crisis preparedness high on the agenda. Recent disruptions in global food and energy supply chains highlight the need for international cooperation to ensure food security, especially for vulnerable populations. Trade policies and agricultural development are likely to be key discussion points.
8. Arms Control: The Lost Race
The United States and Russia are the world's two largest nuclear powers, and they have a long history of arms control agreements. However, these agreements are under strain, and there is a risk that the two countries could enter a new arms race.
Anticipated challenges in arms control negotiations for 2024 encompass a spectrum of complex factors. Heightened global tensions among major powers, notably the United States, Russia, and China, may complicate efforts to reach agreements.
The rapid evolution of technology, including advancements in cyber warfare and autonomous weapons, poses a challenge in crafting treaties that effectively regulate these capabilities. The persistent concern of nuclear proliferation, either through the spread of weapons to additional states or regional tensions, remains a focal point.
7. Negotiating a More Effective WTO
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is facing several obstacles in 2024 that could hinder its ability to promote economic growth and prosperity around the world.
Recent global tensions have led to a climate of distrust and there has been a surge in protectionism around the world, as countries have sought to protect their own industries from foreign competition. This has made it more difficult to reach deals on trade liberalization, as the WTO is a multilateral organization, relying on consensus among its member countries to reach decisions.
6. North Korean Nuclear Threat: Negotiating With A Devil
North Korea’s erratic antics threaten both regional and global security. The rogue nation continues to test nuclear weapons and has developed a range of missiles that could reach much of the United States. It is a serious and alarming issue.
Certainly, the US is working on resolving the issue vital for national security. However, the international community should quickly join the top-level negotiations to build a consensus on how to dampen the North Korean threat, even to draw the country closer to the world economic community and find ways to work towards common goals.
5. AI Regulations: Making a Deal Before the Race is Over
The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to accelerate world progress, but it also poses serious risks. On the military end, for instance, not only does AI promise quicker responses and more accurate targeting, but it also amplifies the consequences of hasty or inaccurate decisions.
While the public may wonder whether AI will cause them to lose their jobs, business leaders are scurrying to leverage AI before their competitors do.
Meanwhile, politicians are busy creating regulations and guidelines for the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence. It includes addressing issues such as data privacy, algorithmic fairness, and the development of human-centered AI systems.
4. The US-Iran Nuclear Deal: Mission Impossible
The fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), hangs in the balance in 2024. The Biden administration has made reviving the deal a priority, but it faces opposition both from Iran and from domestic critics.
The United States will need to tread carefully in its efforts to revive the JCPOA. It will need to address Iran's concerns about the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the deal, while also convincing its allies that the JCPOA is the best way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The Biden Administration must build a coalition of support for — one that includes not just America’s European allies but also countries like China and Russia. The Taiwan-China situation and the Russian war in Ukraine further complicate a possible deal. But the most pressing issue is Iran’s presumed involvement in the Hamas-led massacre of Israelis on October 7.
3. Armenia-Azerbaijan: On The Road To Peace
Armenia and Azerbaijan, embroiled in a longstanding conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, face substantial negotiation challenges in their pursuit of peace. Despite a 2020 Russian-mediated agreement and subsequent peacekeeping, tensions escalated in 2022 with Azerbaijan's invasion of Armenian territory. The EU and US, attempting to mediate, were dismissed by Azerbaijan, claiming bias in favor of Armenia.
One of the unique challenges stems from the stark political differences between the two nations. Armenia, a democratic state, engages in negotiations with Azerbaijan, led by the authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev. This stark contrast in political systems adds complexity to the diplomatic landscape.
Key negotiation challenges include border disputes, with Armenia advocating for delineation using Soviet military maps, a proposal opposed by Azerbaijan. The political will for a peace treaty becomes a sticking point, as Azerbaijan insists on separating the border issue from the overall agreement. The Armenian opposition, wary of potential territorial concessions, emphasizes the importance of border delimitation before the prime minister signs, expressing concerns about giving in too easily.
The negotiations also grapple with the aftermath of a mass exodus, where over 100,000 people fled the conflict. Despite goodwill gestures, such as a prisoner exchange, and a rare bilateral meeting between leaders in St Petersburg on 26 December 2023, paving the way for an agreement, the complexity of drafting a peace agreement persists. Seven drafts have been exchanged, with the unresolved issue of linking Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhichevan, crucial for national security.
The negotiation process involves international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, further complicated by the geopolitical interests of Turkey, Russia, Iran, the US, and the EU in the strategically critical region. The draft agreement's principles focus on mutual respect, rejection of territorial claims, adherence to international law, and the opening of communication routes.
The negotiation challenges extend to the potential role of a bilateral commission and the unresolved issue of a land transportation link between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. With the peace process ongoing through the OSCE Minsk Group, the outlook remains uncertain, with the possibility of a breakthrough or stalling in 2024. Despite the complexities, there is a sense that both sides are ready to pursue peace, underscoring the intricate and challenging nature of the negotiations.
2. Israel-Palestine: A Road From Terror And Destruction To Peace?
The Israeli-Hamas conflict is an ongoing source of instability in the Middle East, and there is little hope for a lasting peace agreement in the near term. The barbaric attacks of Hamas on Israeli civilians and Israel’s response, which many judged too harsh on the civil population, have broken any trust that previously existed between the two parties.
World leaders, however, are committed to restarting negotiations in full awareness that there is no easy solution. One of the primary sticking points is the status of Jerusalem. Both claim Jerusalem as their capital. This is a difficult issue to resolve, but it is an essential piece to the puzzle for any peace agreement.
1. Russia-Ukraine War
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine exerted a devastating impact on the two countries and resulted in a major humanitarian crisis. Several governments imposed sanctions on Russia and provided military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
The negotiations between Russia and Ukraine began before the start of the invasion in February 2022. The two sides have held numerous rounds of talks since, both in person and virtually, but so far have been unable to reach an agreement.
The key negotiation issues discussed include the following:
The status of Crimea: Ukraine is demanding the return of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Russia has said that Crimea is part of Russia and is not negotiable.