Establishing contact or beginning direct negotiations between disputing states with the intent of enabling a peaceful solution through the mediation of third parties. Intervening between two separated parties in order to unite them. The parties may be separated by distance, ignorance, disagreement or active hostility. The mediation may consist either in transmitting communications from the one to the other, or in putting the two parties directly in contact with one another, or in bringing them into accord as a peacemaker, or one who negotiates a pact.
Good offices are in the nature of advice which is not legally binding.
The party employing its good offices is required to have the trust of the disputants and some sense of their willingness to settle the dispute. Contemporary peace efforts, both internationally and in civil conflicts, depend heavily on mediation. Illustrations include the roles of French and Venezuelan governments in freeing American hostages in Iran, the role of the Contadora group and the many peace-keeping forces in Beirut.
Third party mediation, or the provision of good offices, offers the possibility of peaceful resolution to a conflicts which might not otherwise have been considered. Mediators often facilitate reconciliation or agreements where bilateral negotiations have failed.
Offering good offices can involve the individual, group or nation in a dispute which it could otherwise have avoided, and can widen previously minor disputes into large-scale conflicts.