Agreement Diplomats

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Sometimes a former official position holder engages in informal diplomatic activity even after retirement. In some cases, governments welcome such activities, for example as a means of establishing first contact with a hostile group state without being formally engaged. However, in other cases, these informal diplomats are trying to promote a different political agenda than the current government. Such informal diplomacy is practised by former US President Jimmy Carter and (to a lesser extent) Bill Clinton and former Israeli diplomat and minister Yossi Beilin (see the Geneva initiative). International agreements on diplomatic immunity are included in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. For example, the host state is not authorized to prosecute diplomats and must protect them with their families and property. The main objective of the convention is to allow diplomats to carry out their work freely in the host state. They can only do so if they do not risk re-representing the government of the latter state. The untouchability of diplomats has long been observed, which underlies the modern concept of diplomatic immunity. Although there have been a number of cases where diplomats have been killed, this is generally considered a great violation of honor. Genghis Khan and the Mongols were known to have strongly insisted on the rights of diplomats, and they would often take terrible revenge on any state that violated those rights. The Vienna Convention allows Dutch diplomats to pursue the interests of Dutch citizens and businesses abroad as effectively as possible, even if there are doubts about legal security. Dutch diplomats can also use their influence to remind host countries of their international obligations, such as respect for human rights.

The Vienna Convention does not give diplomats carte blanche for wrongdoing. Diplomatic immunity does not place diplomats above the law and diplomats are required to behave in accordance with the laws of the host state.

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