Do all countries have diplomatic relations with all other countries?

Do all countries on earth have diplomatic relations with all other countries on earth? There are some obvious exceptions (e.g., the US does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, etc.), but for the most part, does every nation on earth have an embassy in every other country?

If so, that’s a heck of a large collective number of diplomats and embassies! :slight_smile:


No, that would be a huge strain on some smaller countries. Some countries have agreements with others to aid in looking after their interests in other countries. And it’s probably not that vital to Benin to have direct representation in Nepal (now somebody’s going to post the address of Benin’s embassy in Kathmandu).

The OP’s question is somewhat circular, based on Cecil’s answer in the column How do I go about starting my own country?:

“Diplomatic relations” need not imply that each nation maintains an embassy or even an ambassador to the other. Two nations can enter into diplomatic relations simply by mutually recognizing each other’s sovereignty and maintaining a channel for communication between their governments whenever necessary.

Having flown State Department missions to over 100 countries, I myself wondered how countries like Lesotho could manage to maintain an embassy in, say, Thailand. The answer is that they don’t.

“Embassy Row” in most “Third World” countries is comprised almost exclusively of the major world powers (think permanent UN Security Council Members) and the countries’ immediate neighbors or historical allies/enemies. If the country was a former colony, expect to see an embassy from it’s former sovereign country.

Maintaining embassies around the world is a HUGE logistical and financial burden. Very few countries can afford to support this network, so most just maintain embassies with countries that they actually border or do business with regularly.

Yeah brian, you’re right. I let myself answer the (not asked, but implied) question of: Do all countries maintain a diplomatic presence in all other countries.

Benin and Nepal can probably get along just fine for decades with a letter of acknowledgement.

Most countries have diplomatic relationships with other countries. Here is a map of which countries Israel has diplomatic relations with, and which they have only ‘interests’ with.

Although we (America) don’t have direct, normal relations with Iraq, we are (or were, until the embassy was shut down in the past week) represented via the Polish embassy in Baghdad. Just as we have a US Interest section in the Swiss embassy in Havana, or have the Embassy of Sweden, act as the U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea.