Let us use the conflict in Aceh as an example for how to approach solving a conflict. First we have the two conflicting parties, the guerrilla and the Indonesian government. But most importantly we have the people of the Aceh province. The objective for the negotiator is to reach an agreement between the guerrilla and the government. However, the root cause for the conflict is to be found in the people of Aceh. What I'm saying is that if the problems that exist in the Aceh society isn't dealt with the conflict will sooner or later explode again.
Resolving issues between people are solely a question of psychology. The first thing the negotiator needs to do is to spend time with the three parties, the guerrilla, the government, and the Aceh people. The approach to these three parties is the same. You sit down and talk to people one and one or in small groups numbering fewer than six people. The reason for not talking to larger groups than six people at the time is that only people with loud mouths are heard in larger groups, and those individuals are totally uninteresting for understanding the problems. People with a loud mouth are most of the time concerned only about themselves. The question that one has to keep asking in different diguise is "What is the problem?". For example if you are talking to a person in the Aceh society you could ask the following questions: Why is there a guerrilla war going on? Why are the guerrilla fighting the government? What do you feel is the biggest problem in society? The answers to these questions tells you what motivates people to join the guerilla. Your job is to listen and try to understand the importanse of different issues. You need to be able to make a list of what people in Aceh is in need of to feel at piece. The funny thing is that when you sit down with the guerrilla and talk, what they ask for might not be the same as the people of Aceh, because the guerrilla or its representatives might have a personal interest in how an agreement is reached. However, you need also to understand what is important to the guerrilla as well as government. The ideal would be at the time of negotiations to have spent a couple of days interviewing each party and made a list for what is important to each and everyone. All that remains after this is to sit down and to negotiate the resolution of each issue starting with the most important. Notice that as a negotiator you should determine the order in which issues are to be resolved. Because you happen to be the only one without a personal interest in the solution of the conflict. That makes it possible for you to determine the importance of different issues. The most important issue is to make the people of Aceh happy. If they are happy the guerrilla has no way of motivating people to join the guerrilla. However, it is of course almost equally important to resolve the important issues between the guerrilla and the government, so that the guerrilla can be dissolved.
The most important skills for a negotiator are social skills and ability to understand what motivates people, thus understanding what issues are most important to resolve. Sometimes people don't even ask for what they really want. The reason for this is that people feel it's humiliating to reveal their needs and than have someone else reject the issues as not important. People might for the same reason ask for something at the end of a discussion to downplay the importance of the issue.