Three considerations explain the importance of regional approaches to peace operations: (1) conflicts are rarely isolated within state borders, (2) those who are closer to the problem are often in a better position to understand and influence it, and (3) their proximity ensures that they have a long-term interest in its outcomes. Sometimes, however, the interests of neighbours and other regional actors are so closely interwoven with the dynamics of a particular crisis or conflict that their involvement adds further layers to the complexity of the problem. In such cases, an actor that is further removed from the problem can often play a constructive role when it comes to analysis, mediation or peacekeeping. There will thus always be a need to carefully balance the role and responsibilities of the UN and regional organizations.
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