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Diplomatic recognition

From Academic Kids

Diplomatic recognition is an act by which one state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government, thereby according it a degree of legitimacy and expressing its intent to bring into force the legal consequences of recognition. Things which can be recognized include: belligerent rights of a party in a conflict, the occupation or annexation of territory, or maritime flags. Most importantly a state can recognize another state or the government of a state. Recognition can be accorded de facto or de jure.

Recognition of a government implies recognition of the state it governs, but not vice versa. Recognition of states de facto, rather than de jure is rare, and questions center around recognition of governments. De jure recognition is of course stronger, while de facto recognition is more tentative and more connected with effective control of the recognized state over its territory, as when the United Kingdom recognized the Soviet Union de facto in 1921, but de jure only in 1924. Another example is the state of Israel in 1948, whose government was immediately recognized de facto by the United States (and later Britain), and "one-upped" 3 days later by Soviet de jure recognition. Recognition is not necessary when a government changes in a normal, constitutional way, but is in the case of a coup d'etat or revolution, and can become particularly important for the permanence of the new government then. For instance, the Taliban government of Afghanistan was recognized by only three countries, while far more recognized the government of ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani, and it lasted only from 1996 to 2001.

Recognition can be implied by other acts, like the visit of the head of state, or the signing of a bilateral treaty. If implicit recognition is possible, a state may feel the need to explicitly proclaim that its acts do not constitute diplomatic recognition, as when the United States commenced its dialogue with the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1988.

The doctrine of non-recognition of illegal or immoral factual situations is called the Stimson Doctrine, and has become more important since the Second World War, especially in the United Nations as a method of ensuring compliance with international law, for instance in the case of Rhodesia in 1965. Withdrawal of recognition is an even more severe act of disapproval of another state than the breaking of diplomatic relations.

Another example is the United States non-recognition of the WWII annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union. It continued to recognize the independence of these three states until surprisingly with the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, these states once more came into being in fact, rather than just on paper.

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