43. Importance of the Foreign Ministry

13 Sep

Importance of the Foreign Ministry

1. The Foreign Ministry is a specialised institution for the implementation of foreign policy. It also has the responsibility to help in the direction of the policy and be a key factor in its formulation.

2. For the relevance of its actions, consistent with the level and importance of its responsibility, it is essential to professionalise this Ministry. Throughout the year, the Ministry diversifies and expands the expression of the interests of the State.

3. The contemporary Foreign Ministry must develop an annual business plan with broad coverage, consistent with the permanent interests of the State. This must include the programmes, including the specific objectives, of every aspect of its responsibility and jurisdiction. With respect to the objectives, the plan must specify the means of achieving them.

4. The Ministry is the political-administrative organ of the State officially recognised by the international community for the assumption of obligations between States and with other subjects of international law. Consequently, the conclusion of any form of international commitments made under the direction, control or knowledge of Ministry concerned, must ensure the fundamental principle of unity of action outside the State.

5. One of the essential roles of the Foreign Ministry is to act as a management centre for establishing and maintaining effective relationships with other States. This essential bond of friendship provides, among other relevant actions, negotiations and the promotion of cooperation.

6. Equally essential for the Foreign Ministry is its role in getting support from friendly States in cases of applications to international agencies and other nations when international backing is of vital importance.

7. Historically, the Byzantine Empire was the first state to organise within its administration a foreign affairs department, which trained its agents in diplomatic methods. Much of this training, apparently inherited from the Venetians, was not necessarily lawful according to current standards, but the primary task of those “diplomatic agents” was to obtain information that Empire needed to maintain and strengthen its power.

8. In those times, the Empire’s requirements involved developing plans and strategies, including the use of espionage and conspiracy, to achieve the objectives of its foreign policy. The Empire’s goals obviously were not limited by conventions regulating its excesses in the ten existing international community.

9. Although such actions are proscribed in the course of the current open diplomacy, recent history records instances of diplomats (and international staff) who have been declared persona non grata, justified by accusations of espionage or interference in the internal politics of receiving States.

10. However, it is valid to qualify what is termed “correct reporting” by a diplomat in accordance with the exercise of the functions of observation and information, as defined by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which specify lawful means for such reporting within the limits permitted by international law. This work, if done efficiently, will significantly assist the respective Foreign Ministry to make its foreign policy decisions in a transparent manner. 

 © by Odeen Ishmael

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