Wikipedia mentions 12 UN members not yet explicitly recognizing Montenegro, and 7 UN members not having diplomatic relationship with Croatia. At first, I thought this is something about Montenegro and Croatia themselves, but Bhutan, appearing in both list, deliberately isolates themselves to the point of their PM saying they don't need formal relationship with the USA, Germany, and France.

I can see the reason for not recognizing a country due to political pressure, such as Taiwan, Israel, and Cyprus. But when there's no political quarrel and over a decade has passed since the declaration of independence and cessation of violence, why don't some countries still haven't recognize the other? If it's about the financial cost, one of the world's poorest, Burundi managed to establish diplomatic relations with both Montenegro and Croatia (though it doesn't include recognition, or is that implicit?). In Croatia-Burundi case it seems that both countries UN representatives can just sign a document, no shuttling people back and forth required, yet it only happened last May, two decades after the end of Yugoslav War. Are there complex legal procedures they need to tackle in-between?

1 Answer 1


Two different issues here, making a declaration of recognition and opening diplomatic relations. The recognition is an unilateral declaration. Each country must define how it does that, but it could be as easy as a press release by the foreign office and a congratulary telegram to the other country. Nobody has to meet and sign anything. Opening diplomatic relations involves greater expense and bilateral agreements. Establishing an embassy or consulate costs even more.

  • So for the recognition part, it's mostly those countries can't be bothered to do it? Is recognition an implicit part of diplomatic relations, or is it separated? Like how most countries have some sort of relationship with Taiwan, is that a special case each country is making in their agreement, or without explicitly saying "oh I recognize your sovereignty" then it means there's no recognition involved?
    – Martheen
    Nov 26, 2021 at 6:13
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    @Martheen formal diplomatic relations imply recognition (setting up an embassy means that the visiting country believes the host is "country-like") but it may not be recognition to send a "trade delegation" or similar. De facto recognition can be as simple as a tax officer using a name like a country in a postal address, de jure recognition depends on individual countries constitutional procedures, which can get extremely complicated, but as o.m. points out is unilateral (i.e a decision purely of the recognising party).
    – origimbo
    Nov 26, 2021 at 10:20
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    @Martheen, diplomatic relations without recognition are difficult but possible, it leads to face-saving compromises like "permanent representative accorded diplomatic immunity" rather than "ambassador."
    – o.m.
    Nov 26, 2021 at 11:05
  • Presumably there are some costs involved in adding a country to your list of countries used in official business. Guidelines on things like trade, travel, and immigration will have to be rewritten to include the new country. Software will have to be updated. Not a huge expense but does require some time and effort (and better to wait and do a bunch of countries at the same time.)
    – Stuart F
    Nov 26, 2021 at 11:39

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