Peace treaty

The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the conclusion of World War I

A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties.[1] It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities; a surrender, in which an army agrees to give up arms; or a ceasefire or truce, in which the parties may agree to temporarily or permanently stop fighting.

Elements of treaties

The content of a treaty usually depends on the nature of the conflict being concluded. In the case of large conflicts between numerous parties, there may be one international treaty covering all issues or separate treaties signed between each party.

There are many possible issues that may be included in a peace treaty such as the following:

In modern history, certain intractable conflict situations may be brought to a ceasefire before they are dealt with via a peace process in which a number of discrete steps are taken on each side to reach the mutually-desired eventual goal of peace and the signing of a treaty.

A peace treaty also is often not used to end a civil war, especially in cases of a failed secession, as it implies mutual recognition of statehood. In cases such as the American Civil War, it usually ends when the losing side's army surrenders and its government collapses. By contrast, a successful secession or declaration of independence is often formalized by means of a peace treaty.

Treaties are often ratified in territories deemed neutral in the previous[clarification needed] conflict and delegates from the neutral countries acting as witnesses to the signatories.