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A ceasefire (or truce) is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces. An armistice is a formal agreement to end fighting.
World War I
During World War I, on December 24, 1914, there was an unofficial ceasefire on the Western Front as France, the United Kingdom, and Germany observed Christmas. No treaty was signed, and the war resumed after a few days.
On November 29, 1952, the newly U.S. president-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, went to Korea to learn what might end the Korean War. With the United Nations' acceptance of India's proposed Korean War armistice, the Korean People's Army (KPA), the People's Volunteer Army (PVA), and the UN Command ceased fire with the battle line approximately at the 38th parallel. Upon agreeing to the ceasefire agreement, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has since been patrolled by the KPA and the joint ROKA, US, and UN Command. The Korean Demilitarized Zone runs northeast of the 38th parallel; to the south, it travels west. The old Korean capital city of Kaesong, site of the armistice negotiations, originally lay in the pre-war ROK, but now is in the DPRK. The United Nations Command (supported by the United States), the North Korean Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, signed the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, to end the fighting. The Armistice also called upon the governments of South Korea, North Korea, China, and the United States to participate in continued peace talks. For his part, ROK President Syngman Rhee attacked the peace proceedings. The war is considered to have ended at this point, even though there was no peace treaty.
On January 15, 1973, President Richard Nixon ordered a ceasefire of the aerial bombings in North Vietnam. The decision came after Dr. Henry Kissinger, the National Security Affairs advisor to the president, returned to Washington from Paris, France with a draft peace proposal. Combat missions continued in South Vietnam. By January 27, 1973, all warring parties in the Vietnam War signed a ceasefire as a prelude to the Paris Peace Accord.
Persian Gulf War
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After Iraq was driven by U.S.-led coalition forces out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and the U.N. Security Council signed a ceasefire agreement on March 3, 1991. Throughout the 1990s, the U.N. Security Council passed 16 Resolutions calling for Iraq to disarm the WMDs program unconditionally and immediately. Because no peace treaty was signed after the Gulf War, the war still remained in effect, such as an assassination attempt of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush by Iraqi agents while on a visit to Kuwait and Iraq was bombed in June 1993 as a response, Iraqi forces firing on coalition aircraft patrolling the Iraqi no-fly zones, U.S. President Bill Clinton's bombing of Baghdad in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox, and an earlier 1996 bombing of Iraq by the U.S. during Operation Desert Strike. The war remained in effect until 2003 when U.S. and United Kingdom forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime from power.
Pakistan's government has repeatedly claimed that India is violating the Simla Agreement by constructing a fence along the Line of Control in the Kashmir Conflict. However, India maintains the fence has decreased armed infiltration into Indian-administered Kashmir.
Then-Pakistani President and ex-Army Chief of Staff Pervez Musharraf promised in 2002 to curb infiltration into the disputed territory. After the November 2003 ceasefire line agreement, building resumed and was completed in late 2004. LoC fencing was completed in Kashmir Valley and Jammu region on 30 September 2004. According to Indian military sources, the fence has reduced by 80% the numbers of militants who routinely cross into the occupied territory of the disputed state to attack Indian soldiers.
An example of a ceasefire in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was announced between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority on February 8, 2005. When announced, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat publicly defined the ceasefire as follows: "We have agreed that today President Mahmoud Abbas will declare a full cessation of violence against Israelis anywhere and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will declare a full cessation of violence and military activities against Palestinians anywhere."
Provisional IRA – British government
Throughout the period of The Troubles, the Provisional IRA and other paramilitary groups have called ceasefires. The most notable of these being the IRA ceasefire which was called on August 31, 1994, and ended on February 9, 1996, with the Docklands bombing. Another ceasefire was declared in July 1997 after negotiations were reopened.
The IRA traditionally called a Christmas truce.
Spanish government – ETA
ETA has declared several ceasefires during its long running campaign against the Spanish state. A ceasefire declared in March 2006, was broken on December 30, 2006, when a car bomb exploded in Madrid killing two people. On 5 September 2010 ETA declared a ceasefire.
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- "LoC fencing completed: Mukherjee". The Times Of India. 16 December 2004.
- "Harsh weather likely to damage LoC fencing". Daily Times. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- Wedeman, Ben; Raz, Guy, Koppel, Andrea (2005-02-07). "Mideast cease-fire expected Tuesday". CNN. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
- Second Madrid blast victim found
- Spain's ETA 'declares ceasefire'