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What Is an Armistice?

An armistice is derived from the Latin word "arma" meaning weapons and "statium" meaning "a stopping." An armistice is an agreement between warring parties to stop fighting. An armistice is not the end of a war but merely a truce agreement to cease fire for a limited amount of time or within a limited region. An armistice often acts as a precursor to negotiate a long term peace.

An armistice is a "modus vivendi" or "mode of living" based on the principle to agree to disagree. Key to an armistice is the principle that "all fighting ends with no one surrendering."

An armistice is not a peace treaty though in most cases, with the exception of the 1953 Korean War Conflict, it often proceeds a peace treaty. Presently, armistices are generally negotiated between the parties and are often considered more binding than non-mandatory cease fire resolutions created by a third party, like the United Nations Security Council (UN). The UN is often a key influence in imposing or assisting cease-fire agreements in most modern conflicts.

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