The emergence and development of parliamentary diplomacy

I'm an image! 2020 / 05 / Oct

The legislative institution was not limited to exercising its traditional functions, such as legislating laws and monitoring the performance of the executive authority, but rather it began to perform new tasks in diplomatic life, especially in democratic systems. It came to occupy the political priorities of states compared to various forms of diplomacy, because parliamentary diplomacy is represented by the representatives of the people and those expressing their will, and the activity increased. Parliamentary diplomacy in the regional and international environment should be parallel to the official diplomacy undertaken by the state in its external sphere.

In order to understand the true meaning of parliamentary diplomacy, we must first explain the term diplomacy in general. Diplomacy has its origins in the Greek word (Diploma), which is derived from the verb diplon, which means to apply or fold something in two folds (1).

The word diploma means the official documents that were issued by the rulers of Greek cities to grant those who carried them immunities and privileges while traveling in those cities. They were folded in two folds for ease of carrying and storing (2).

Then it moved to the Romans to call passports and passage permits after the emperor, and its meaning expanded to include official papers and documents that included agreements and treaties concluded by the Roman Empire with countries, and the situation continued until the eighteenth century, when the term diplomacy changed from being concerned only with preserving correspondence and agreements to directing and managing International relations since the Vienna Conference in 1815, and this term has been established in official dealings since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and from there the Arab countries took this term (diplomacy) and introduced it into the Arabic language (3). Diplomacy, in its modern sense, means a set of international concepts, rules, procedures, ceremonies, institutions, and customs that regulate relations between states, international organizations, and diplomatic representatives with the aim of serving the higher interests of security, economics, and public policies, and to strengthen the interests of states through communication, exchange, conducting political negotiations, and concluding international agreements and treaties (4).

The idea of parliamentary diplomacy was not alien to political practice, but rather dates back to the pre-Christian era, and then crystallized and developed until it became part of the core of parliamentary work, and its emergence in today’s world is based on two axes: The first concerns the axis of actors in political action, the most prominent of whom are legislators, political parties, national and regional parliaments, and international parliamentary groupings such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The second axis relates to the nature of practice, which may be formal or informal and at all levels. Participation is local when It is related to scrutinizing the government’s foreign policy, or its participation in the public policy cycle and legitimizing it (5). Opinions differ regarding the interpretation of the term parliamentary diplomacy, as is the case in social science terminology. It is defined from the perspective of international parliamentary activities, which represents the full range of international activities practiced by parliamentarians with the intention of raising levels of mutual understanding between countries, and strengthening these countries with each other in order to enhance oversight. on governments and representatives of the people, as well as increasing democratic legitimacy within government institutions (6). Parliamentary diplomacy is defined as “a group of parliamentary interventions organized according to a specific strategy by foreign bodies, to stop the influence or obstruction of what is not compatible with national goals” (7).

Parliament plays a reinforcing role in demonstrating compatibility with official diplomacy. Here, Parliament expresses the will of the state, which is based on legitimacy and the sovereignty of the people at the international level. In the other direction, parliamentary diplomacy exerts influence on the formulation and drawing of policies and decision-making centers by exploiting the margin of freedom of representatives and their independence, as it represents These practices are the will of the people whom these representatives represent (8)0

Countries work to achieve the goals of their foreign policies in their relations with others by using their various tools, and among the most prominent of these tools is diplomacy, which is the most effective tool in implementing foreign policy and organizing the state’s relationship with different countries, which has led to an increase in diplomatic work and the emergence of patterns New and different from traditional official diplomacy, and among these patterns is parliamentary diplomacy, which represents a response to the developments that have emerged in international relations and the increase in mutual dependence between peoples (9).

Several factors helped increase the importance of parliamentary diplomacy, such as the changes that occurred in the international system after the end of the Cold War, and among the most prominent of these changes was the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and the United States of America’s exclusive leadership of the world after that event, which allowed the dissemination of the Western values and principles that it embraced. The capitalist camp built democracy around the world, and this is what helped crystallize the importance of the role of Parliament as one of the indicators of democracy and development, and thus integration into globalization, which has become a feature of the new change in the world (10).

Parliamentary diplomacy is a new path for parallel diplomacy and provides government diplomatic work. Its objectives are defined as follows:

First: Parliamentary diplomacy is one of Parliament's third tasks after legislation and oversight.

Second: Working to strengthen international peace and security. The United Nations Charter included in one of its clauses, “The United Nations shall play an important role in preventing conflict by using diplomacy, good offices and mediation offices. Special envoys and political missions in the field are among the means used by the organization in spreading Peace” (11). Parliamentary diplomacy does not constitute a substitute for official diplomacy, but rather it is complementary to it by taking advantage of the capabilities available to Parliament and its relations with various parliaments in the world, which ultimately leads to the formation of a network of good relations through parliamentary committees that are formed to carry out the tasks of developing and strengthening Friendly relations with others around the world.


1_Bilal Noura, The Impact of Parliamentary Diplomacy on Algeria’s Foreign Policy, Master’s Thesis, Algeria, Mohamed Kheidar University, Faculty of Law and Political Science, 2016, p. 10.

2_Ali Youssef Al-Shukri, Diplomacy in a Changing World, Itrak Printing, Publishing and Distribution, Cairo, 1st edition, 2004, p. 7.

3_Bilal Noura, previously mentioned source, p. 11.

4_Saeed Muhammad Abu Abah, Diplomacy: Its History, Institutions, Types, and Laws, Dar Al-Shaimaa for Publishing and Distribution, 1st edition, 2009, p. 13.

5_Imad Sheikh Dawoud, Parliamentary Diplomacy (Meaning, Objectives, How to Work), Journal of Political and Strategic Studies, House of Wisdom, Baghdad, Issue 37, 2018, p. 152.

6_Youssef Azrawal, Parliamentary Diplomacy: A Study of the Role of the Algerian Parliament, Journal of Legal and Political Studies, Ammar Thilighi University, Algeria, Issue 6, 2017, p. 191.

7_Iss Boureguiba, Parliamentary Diplomacy and its Contributions to Resolving Global and National Disagreements, Master’s Thesis, Algeria, University of Oran, 2015, p. 43.

8_Sobha Baghoura, Parliamentary Diplomacy, available at the following electronic link:

9_Parliamentary Diplomacy, available at the following electronic link:

10_Rashed Ahmed Al-Rasheed, Parliamentary Diplomacy: Objectives, Mechanisms, and Roles, Case Study of the Bahraini Parliament, Bahrain Institute for Political Development, 2017, p. 18.

11_Imad Sheikh Daoud, previously mentioned source, p. 153.