Archive | March, 2013

26. Immunities of the Head of State overseas

29 Mar

Immunities of the Head of State overseas

1. In the context of globalization, consonant with the requirements of this time, official visits by Heads of State (or Government) have become a key component in the agendas of the leaders and a key factor of contemporary international relations.

2. It is noted that the large number of meetings between leaders often responds to the need for the national leaders to understand each especially with respect to their nations’ mutual relations and their views on international issues. Clearly, many Heads of State play a diplomatic role of the first order and are responsible, personally, to carry out negotiations of a particular character and significance.

3. For state visits, official visits and also for so-called working visits, it is essential that the programme is carried out faithfully while observing the principle of legal equality of States. The  rules to ensure the maintenance and strengthening of good relations that should exist between the States must also be applied.

4. While the host State receives Heads of State (or Government) from other States which may have different political systems, there should be no difference with regard to privileges and immunities provided to the guests, no matter what form of government is established in their respective countries.

5. According to their high office, the Head of State enjoys a privileged status while visiting other States and has the right to the honours defined by protocol. The Head of State is granted, while in other countries, privileges and immunities which include (a) inviolability of his person, his property, his place of residence, his companions, his documents, and his means of transport; (b) independence, which exempt them from all police and criminal jurisdiction; and (c) exemptions privileges, such as certain tax exemptions while customs will not open his baggage, and that of his companions, at the port of entry.

6. The privileged status of head of state is extended to his family and members of the official delegation accompanying him: senior officials, technical advisers and assistants, among them those responsible for security and protocol, considered as the “advance party” if their arrival precedes that of the Head of State.

7. If the Head of State is making a private visit, the authorities of the recipient country, with due discretion, take the necessary safety measures. Therefore, it is necessary that the State which is the object of his visit must be informed before the visit takes place.

© by Odeen Ishmael


25. Direct Diplomacy

29 Mar

Direct Diplomacy

1. Governments are responsible for managing their diplomatic work, and through their diplomatic agents they conduct negotiations of particular interest to their respective nations.

2. Without doubt, the ways and means for implementation of foreign policy tend to diversify as a result of the breadth and complexity of the issues affecting each State. The effectiveness of diplomacy as an instrument of foreign policy implementation depends largely on that State’s efficient analysis and response capacity in all matters relating to international matters.

3. While the holding of meetings of Heads of State to resolve complex policy issues has been considered an ancient diplomatic practice, such meetings were never before done with the current frequency and the diversity of motivations as have been occurring in recent decades. Originally, these meetings searched for ways to end conflicts or disputes, and especially wars that had significant impacts politically and economically. Later, the concerns of the governments have been directed at preventing the emergence of disputes, agree on a “balance of forces” to reconcile their interests (and in some ways their ambitions). Currently, they deal primarily with financial and commercial matters, and they place special emphasis on establishing and developing cooperation mechanisms in various fields, for which the governments use dialogue at the highest level.

4. The Head of State formulates and conducts foreign policy with the assistance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs). Sometimes it is executed without intermediaries within the framework of the so-called direct diplomacy at the summit of the Heads of State which is usually called to find solutions to contemporary problems of the most diverse nature. This direct diplomacy of Heads of State deal with certain issues that only recently were generally handled by international agencies or by the governments through their diplomatic missions.

5. The responsibilities of the government in the field of international relations include, among other key actions, receiving the diplomatic missions accredited to the country, the appointment and posting abroad the members of the foreign service of the nation, and the conclusion and entry into force of treaties, which in the case of many countries have to be first given parliamentary approval.

6. Diplomacy is usually conducted through diplomatic missions (embassies or permanent missions and delegations), and also through various meetings of Heads of State during state visits, the so-called official or working visits, and summits of leaders. Such meetings coexist with the so-called ministerial summits involving Foreign Ministers and also other categories of Ministers.

7. This “ad hoc” diplomacy through the Heads of State (or Government) can produce extremely beneficial achievements most rapidly and dramatically than can be achieved through the permanent diplomatic missions. However, careful consideration should be given to the effects of the proliferation of these visits since they increase the risks of this kind of diplomacy not producing their anticipated potential benefits. In case of failure or impasse in negotiations at the highest levels of the respective States, there would be no higher authority to turn to, and this is precisely why the exercise of diplomacy through diplomatic missions remains as an advantageous factor.

8. However, there are benefits obtained as a result of visits Heads of State (or Government) to other countries, with regard to strengthening the linkages between the nations and the opening up of personal contacts between the leaders. Particularly important are the direct negotiations between Heads of State and the signing of agreements and other international instruments for closer bilateral cooperation – an essential part of the agenda of such visits. These actions result in a significant way in obtaining certain goals and targets envisaged in the framework of foreign policy of the respective States.

© by Odeen Ishmael

24. Economic and trade diplomacy

22 Mar

Economic and trade diplomacy

1. In accordance with contemporary requirements, economic issues and trade have been established in the external actions of states as consistently growing objectives which are now given greater priority. They also are regarded as key factors in the current dynamics of international politics.

2. Cooperation and the maintenance and strengthening of international peace and security have traditionally been, and remain today, essential goals of diplomacy. However, it is clear that economic and commercial aspects, particularly those related to investment, exports, protection and assistance are essential aspects of the diplomatic activity of a considerable number of countries.

3. In light of globalization and the new technological revolution, diplomacy as currently practised tends to require modification and effective adaptation of the traditional roles and responsibilities of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (and the corresponding foreign service).

4. This adaptation requires the coordination of activities that once belonged exclusively to them with other ministries that have common skills in areas related to foreign trade, and also regular consultation and cooperation with non-state actors involved in this area. Actually, economic and trade diplomacy involves joint efforts through cooperation between governments and the private and public business sector with respect to external actions to achieve economic goals linked to the national interests.

5. It is also essential to ensure greater consistency in the identification of sustained national economic interests abroad and, through careful analysis, develop a model that can effectively guide economic diplomacy in carrying out external economic action.

6. It is clear that the so-called economic and trade diplomacy has become an inseparable element of conventional diplomacy, particularly in its professional management. However, a diplomacy that specialises in economic promotion, while lacking a strong background in this field, runs the risk of having devalued its role in the modern State.

7. The implementation and development of economic and commercial diplomacy, often a key state project, should be consistent. Its executors must be up-to-date with international economic and trade issues and must be prepared to constantly update their knowledge and the rapidly evolving technical procedures in international trade and its parallel negotiations.

8. It is, therefore, essential in this exercise to actually have the technological resources in order to obtain the information necessary for the formulation of international trade policy areas. These should include the necessary “software” developed by the World Bank and UNCTAD, which facilitates the management of international databases and provides commercial information to estimate potential fiscal impacts on trade due to tariff changes and trade flows, among other essential issues.

9. In many Foreign Ministries, the department dealing with economic and trade diplomacy is usually headed by a vice-ministry, though some countries may have a separate Ministry of Foreign Trade. Where there is a separate Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Trade must remain the sole entity that sends instructions to the foreign mission on aspects of economic diplomacy.

10. Economic and trade diplomacy is gaining greater momentum internationally. For a State, its economic power, the dynamism of its trade and its presence in global markets, allow it to crystallise alliances and resolve conflicts that could not otherwise if it did not possess these clouts. But the political benefits of an active trade diplomacy is not instantaneous, nor does its economic strength guarantee lasting political friendship with other States.

11. The political force of a State does not rest solely and directly on its economic parameters. It is necessary to combine the ability to consistently trade with the operation in other fields, and all this must be coupled with greater social cohesion. It is the versatility and the synthesis of all these factors that provided the political weight of a State. Professional diplomacy is an appropriate instrument to perform this synthesis, to the extent that it can use its persuasive techniques in favour of businesses and investments and, simultaneously, prove to be politically and economically profitable to the State’s nationals overseas.

© by Odeen Ishmael


23. Essential framework of public diplomacy

17 Mar

Essential framework of public diplomacy

1. The exercise of public diplomacy has been established by a significant group of States as a foreign service responsibility. This form of diplomacy, which aims to get a proper projection of the country’s international image, and, likewise, mutual understanding among nations, has become an essential factor for achieving certain objectives of foreign policy.

2. Public diplomacy is essentially a set of initiatives aimed at influencing public opinion abroad. It breaks somewhat with the traditional framework of diplomatic practice, expanding its boundaries and contributing to the treasury of classical diplomacy.

3. Traditional diplomacy has been constantly subjected to necessary processes of renovation, which has enabled it to have a useful effect worldwide, and its long history demonstrates its effective contribution in the evolution of international society.

4. While it is true that traditional diplomacy generally deals with relations between states, public diplomacy, by proposing the promotion of country’s international image, the projection of its values and efficient dissemination of the State’s views often targets the business sector, civil society and often the general public in other countries.

5. Public diplomacy has had its greatest development in Britain and the US. As the focal point for this effort, the latter country has an Undersecretary for  Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Affairs at the Department of State By contrast the UK has established for this purpose a committee whose responsibilities include regularly to draw up new strategies and assessment of existing and effective coordination of the executors of public diplomacy within the Foreign Office.

6. Importantly, regular meetings are held in countries that have implemented the execution of public diplomacy. Clearly, this form of diplomacy must be part of any effective strategy in the international arena. The concept encompasses all those programmes – political, cultural and educational – intended for governments to publicise to promote the foreign policy and national and international image of their countries.

7. With regard to Spain, this nation has launched and developed a strategic action plan that includes the creation abroad of an “Honorary Ambassador” brand, utilising its nationals in sports, and the arts who are known internationally. This promotion of the “country brand” is now a regular action of some States which intend to achieve an appropriate positive image through such international exposure of their national personalities and this is also seen as one of the main planks of their cultural diplomacy.

 © by Odeen Ishmael

22. Coercive means of settlement of disputes

16 Mar

Coercive means of settlement of disputes

1. The greater the intensity and extent of a crisis involving two or more States, the more it imposes pressures to anticipate outcomes and give appropriate treatment. A State must be conscious of its responsibility by being willing to take calculated risks which may entail applying a globalized strategy by opening and directing its diplomatic initiatives in accordance with its political and economic interests, and also with the necessary solidarity, to work for negotiated control of the crisis. In the decisive phase of conflict, diplomacy undoubtedly can offer pathways for balance and security, on the condition that the actors are aware of their responsibility and are adequately prepared for the exercise of this function.

2. One of the great challenges of the international community is to achieve by peaceful means, including those of a coercive nature, the effective resolution of conflicts or disputes that could jeopardize peace and security. The range of possibilities of the methods of peaceful settlement includes political, diplomatic and legal means. Public international law and the UN Charter can be utilised in this process which indicate that more than one method (or a combination of methods) can be applied to solve a particular crisis. However, when these methods are exhausted in the search of a peaceful settlement, the possibility of resorting to coercive means is opened.  

3. According to Article 39 of the UN Charter, the Security Council is the body responsible for taking measures to remove threats to or breaches of peace, or to define what is an act of aggression. Articles 41 and 42 provide that agreements can result in Security Council non-military actions, all of which can be defined as coercive.  However, if these actions fail to resolved the peace-threatening dispute or crisis, the Security Council may take other radical measures involving even the use of force. On the other hand, the UN Charter recognises the competence of regional organisations in dispute settlement, and will coordinate with them, as necessary, and will only apply coercive measures with the permission of the respective regional organisation.

4. The methods that have been established as coercive nature through a collective decision include retaliation, order of reparation, closure of territorial borders, boycott, suspension or expulsion from international organisations, and the breaking of diplomatic relations.

5. Retaliation which is a limited reaction of one State against certain harmful conduct of another, may harm the State retaliated against. Even though this is contrary to international law it is justified by the previous violation of that right by the other State. In order to justify the reprisal, the following factors are taken into consideration: a prior unlawful act, the aggressor state’s refusal to repair the proportionality of the damage, and self-defence against any force that might have been used.

6. There are other methods which are considered as forms of retaliation. These are the embargo against ships or aircraft, property and even commodities of the country against which action is taken; cutting off all communication with the outside; and the boycott which is essentially the cancelling of trade and financial relations, but which excludes the trade in goods used for humanitarian and health purposes.

7. Other media also considered coercive is the severance of diplomatic relations and retaliation. The severance of diplomatic relations is enshrined in the UN Charter as a measure of punishment and coercion against States which do not comply with the resolutions and recommendations of the Security Council, in certain circumstances. This indefinite interruption of diplomatic relations may be bilateral or collective. The latter takes place when several or all Member States of an international organisation made the decision to break with a certain State.

8. Retaliation is the act by which the offended State applies, without violating international law, the same measures used against it by the offender. For instance, the raising of tariff rates can be answered with a similar decision. Similarly, the imposition of restrictions on entry visas, the summoning of the Head of the Diplomatic Mission of the offended State to the Foreign Ministry of the offending State, and the declaration of persona non grata of diplomats may be answered by similar retaliatory actions.

 © by Odeen Ishmael

21. Diplomatic relations and sovereignty

16 Mar

Diplomatic relations and sovereignty

1. International law imposes no legal obligation on a State to establish or to maintain diplomatic relations with another State. It is up to each State to assess its interests and to decide if it will establish diplomatic relations with another. This decision usually depends essentially on its needs, its capacity for openness to nations outside of its geographical proximity, and its own productive and commercial activity.

2. International agencies and inter-country meetings help to broaden the notion of diplomatic relations, provide original channels of communication between governments, and accept the participation of forces and entities other than States. Currently, the universal extension of the European concept of state, involves the widespread classical model of diplomatic relations. Traditionally, states were the only ones authorised to establish such relationships, but now its scope has expanded and can be exercised equally by international organisations and recognised “liberation movements.”

3. The establishment of diplomatic relations is by mutual consent and is based on mutual interest and on the principle of legal equality of States. The states involved must accord recognition to each other and accept each other’s right to sovereignty and self-determination.

4. The establishment of diplomatic relations is formalised by an agreement by which the States appoint plenipotentiaries to sign the relevant joint agreement comprising the determination of both countries to strengthen ties of friendship and developing cooperation on the principle of legal equality of States, mutual respect, sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs. This document will be published in both countries. This essential bond of friendship provides, among other relevant actions, negotiations (at various levels) and promotes cooperation. Similarly, the establishment of diplomatic relations is essential to obtain the corresponding international support on the various occasions when nations it.

5. The establishment of diplomatic relations involving the exchange of resident diplomatic missions. However, the law of legation does not necessarily determine that this is a primary requirement and it is optional in this regard. In deciding to establish resident diplomatic missions, States have to take into account the desirability of such exchange orders based on their economic, political, legal, cultural, science and technological needs. However, whatever decision is taken will affect the principle of reciprocity.

6. An alternative method of setting up a permanent diplomatic mission is the establishment of linkages that are agreed between States through a concurrent chief of mission, usually with the rank of ambassador. The head of mission who is accredited to two or more States, in the same region, is based in a State considered suitable for the sending State’s interests. If a State does not have a resident mission in another country, relationships are usually developed and maintained through contacts of their respective representatives at the UN.

7. Without doubt, the cessation of diplomatic relations is often more serious than the failure to establish them. Usually the rupture of diplomatic relations is bilateral, although there is also a collective mode in this context. The cessation of diplomatic relations shall be final when the if a country has ceased to exist as a sovereign state. It will be temporary due to the overthrow of government to which a sending State has an accredited Head of Mission and does not recognise the new government. In such a situation, the sending State will withdraw its diplomatic mission. With the agreement of the governments involved, in case of termination or suspension of relations between two countries a friendly country of both can handle the interests of State that has withdrawn its mission. Strictly speaking, the cessation of diplomatic relations does not determine necessarily the breaking of consular relations.

 © by Odeen Ishmael

20. First Order of Diplomacy

12 Mar

First Order of Diplomacy

1. Under the influence of an ever more pressing international agenda, the execution of foreign policy is structured around progressively global issues with strategic objectives in mind. At the same time, taking into account the existence of the new world order based on the interdependence of nations, foreign policy should establish equitable international relations in terms of trade, trade regulation, and growth of investments and in adequate assistance to developing countries.

2. Diplomacy today is an expression of policy, a privileged communication network, a process of organisation of relations between States to facilitate negotiations and development cooperation.

3. A consistent foreign policy must adapt to the multilateral nature of international relations. The balance of interest requires the State to consider the actual or potential activities of its partners in establishing priorities, bearing in mind that any change in the environment can lead to a new opportunity or a threat.

4. In pursuing its foreign policy, it is essential for certain bilateral and multilateral issues are handled in exclusive “face to face” meetings between Heads of State. It is clear that, more often than before, the Heads of State or Government are playing a greater diplomatic role of the first order and are therefore personally responsible for carrying out certain negotiations that are of particular interest to the respective nations.

5. The holding of meetings of Heads of State to resolve complex policy issues is an old diplomatic practice. Generally, they sought ways to end conflicts (or disputes) and especially the wars that had wide repercussions. Over time, mutual concerns have led governments to prevent the emergence of disputes, to agree to some extent on a balance of military forces, and to reconcile their interests (and ambitions) by calling for dialogue among all countries concerned through summit meetings at the highest level of Heads of State.

6. Until relatively recent times, many issues dealt with at these summits were the exclusive responsibility of international organisations or were handled by governments through their diplomatic missions.

7. At these summits or at other meetings referred to as official visit or working visits, personal “direct diplomacy” generally occurs when Heads of State Government negotiate without intermediaries to find solutions to contemporary problems of various kinds.

8. The diplomatic missions, in the case of the summits of Heads of State, now actively participate in the preparatory planning meetings and will provide the required support during the conclaves. Upon completion of these events, the diplomatic missions have the task to follow up and push for the implementation of the action items agreed upon, especially if those items relate to actions to be taken outside of their respective States.

© by Odeen Ishmael