Sunday, 9 November 2008 3:50 PM

SI-Iran proposed relation: a view from the gallery

That was a fair discussion regarding the legal personality of a state. But it would be a mistake to suppose that only the central government has the personality, since government is one element of a state as a person in international law. Attributing personality to the government as such differentiate it from a state. The question we are drawing therefore is; what is the difference in capacity between a 'government' and a 'state'? do they mean different things?

This is important to understand because by describing an entity as 'person' one is formulating its capacities in law. And questions that follow from there thus may include 'do the rules of international law establish that this claimant to capacity has the capacity which it claims?' What exactly is the capacity which it claims and which is allowed to it, or in other words, just what sort of relations may this entity enter into?

However, where personality is settled, it will be, of course less significant to adduce the rule of international law on the subject at all until it appears otherwise, whereupon there arises a question. Nonetheless, the personality argument helps to explain the legality or otherwise of pursing such decision or intention by Solomon islands.

But reading closely the posting of concern citizens, they are not questioning the capacity or 'legal personality' of Solomon Islands as a state to make any such decision. The point of concern here is 'security'. And the discussion of legal personality, to them, only answers part of their concern. This point is not just a concern for 'public ordinary readers' but is also a legal question.

The friendly ties between Solomon Islands and Iran can be in that perspective useful to examine. In terms of international diplomatic relationship between states, security must be a top priority especially in view of the rise in terrorism around the globe. The UN Charter refers to this as 'collective security'. This means if Solomon Islands enter into diplomatic ties with a country that is labeled as a haven for terrorists, than the question of international security is a perfectly valid consideration as well.

The discussion on legal personality qualifying a country to enter into diplomatic relationship with another state therefore does not negate (and must not negate) the security consideration.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Ilan Kiloe and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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