A situation in which neither party thinks it can win a given conflict without incurring excessive loss, and in which both are suffering from a continuation of fighting. The conflict is judged to have entered a period of ripeness, a propitious moment for third party mediation. There is substantial literature concerning the conditions, implications, and utility of “ripeness” as an analytical tool.Narrative versus story: In the context of international relations, narrative means much more than just a story. It might be understood as a people’s most strongly held beliefs about the way history has unfolded. This is not only an explanation of events, but also a separate view of reality. In divided societies—where there has been protracted conflict— there are often parallel narratives. The differing peoples do not agree on what occurred in the distant past and this core disagreement often causes them to dispute what has happened in recent times.