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Diplomacy

diplomatic ambassador missions diplomats

Diplomacy, conduct of negotiations and maintenance of relations in time of peace between sovereign states. A diplomatic mission is generally headed by an ambassador, supported by attachés, chargés d'affaires, and other officials specializing in economic, political, cultural, administrative, and military matters. An embassy building is considered to have extraterritoriality (to be outside the jurisdiction of the receiving state). Accredited diplomats are immune from prosecution and customs regulations. Abuse of this privileged diplomatic immunity can lead to a diplomat being asked to quit the host country as persona non grata. The most common abuse is espionage. The whole body of diplomats in a capital is known as the diplomatic corps, and its spokesperson is the longest-serving ambassador. The first permanent residential missions were established by the Italian city-states c.1400. Diplomatic protocol and the forms of accreditation owed much to the practice of papal missions from the Vatican. Latin was the official language of diplomacy until the 17th century, when it was superseded by French, later joined by English. The Congress of Vienna (1815) further clarified diplomatic procedure. The traditional formulas of diplomatic exchange allow sharp expressions of protest without ruptures in international dealing. Improved communications have strengthened direct links between governments, and diplomacy is now often conducted at summit conferences between heads of state.

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