What are the consequences of recalling ambassadors?

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Two days ago there were rumors Britain and France may recall their ambassadors from Israel. Why is that a political action? Wouldn’t that rather harm the citizens of these countries in Israel?

fuxia

Posted 2012-12-04T22:24:56.403

Reputation: 293

Regarding the title, not the question content: As I understand wikipedia's article "Letter of credence", the most common consequence of recalling an ambassador is that this person is reassigned elsewhere and a new ambassador is named.

– arne.b – 2012-12-05T08:34:40.180

An example from 1970s Europe illustrates the correct answer given by @Sven. In 1972, Ireland withdrew the ambassador to London, in protest at shootings by troops in Northern Ireland. Refs:- http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/the-south-is-in-the-mood-for-violence-bloody-sunday-1972/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/events/widgery_tribunal_and_aftermath_of_bloody_sunday http://historyhub.ie/the-evolution-of-anglo-irish-relations

– MikeRoger – 2016-11-15T15:49:16.727

Answers

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Given that while an Ambassador is the formal representative of a State to a foreign government, if he is recalled the delegation (embassy staff et al) can remain at their post.

Thus it is a purely political signal to show the discontent of a government with a foreign government. Citizens are not harmed as the representations (embassies and consulates) will remain working until they are explicitly closed. But this is independent of the recall of an ambassador.

In former times recalling the ambassador was a way to guarantee that he could be briefed on current issues and go back on his post with new directions which were too sensitive to entrust to postal services. Nowadays this doesn't hold true anymore, so in consequence it is purely a political statement.

Sven Clement

Posted 2012-12-04T22:24:56.403

Reputation: 5 095