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The Political Department serves to forge, monitor and promote sound relationships between eSwatini and the rest of the world.  It also focuses on establishing and cementing relations between eSwatini and other states. The Department is mandated to monitor activities in the international arena that impact, or have the potential to impact on the Kingdom’s prospects for development.

The department is also active in the upkeep and maintenance of the Kingdoms relations on bilateral and multilateral levels. This is done through constant communication with other States on a bilateral level and also through representation in the numerous multilateral institutions that exist in the furtherance of international cooperation.

The department has several officers whose duty it is to monitor and communicate within particular regions, divided along the following lines:

  • The United Nations Desk; the officer responsible is tasked with monitoring activities under the United Nations (UN), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as well as bilateral relations with all the Countries in the America’s and the Caribbean;
  • The Asia/ Pacific Desk; the officer is responsible for monitoring activities under the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP). The officer also maintains bilateral relations with countries in Asia and the Pacific;
  • The Africa Desk; the officer is responsible for the maintenance of multilateral relations in the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Commission for Africa, as well as relations with the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS). This is in addition to bilateral relations with all African countries;
  • The European Desk; the officer is responsible for interactions with the European Union (EU), Eastern and Western European states and the Commonwealth. The officer also handles all bilateral relations with the European Countries; and
  • The Middle East Desk; the officer is responsible for interactions in the Arab-Africa meetings. The officer is also responsible for interactions on a bilateral level with Countries in the Middle East.

The Department's core-functions are:

  • To carry out and promote the Kingdom of eSwatini's Foreign Policy through bilateral and multilateral contact;
  • To handle all political and socio-economic matters of bilateral nature directly or through the different Missions abroad;
  • To promote the Kingdom of eSwatini 's standing and influence with other states; 
  • To act as a contact point for information on bilateral issues to the different government ministries and institutions, as well as the general public, the private sector, non-governmental organizations etc.
  • Informs and advises the Government on developments in the international and inter-governmental institutions such as the African Union, the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and other  regional groupings which affect the Kingdom of eSwatini's interests;
  • Informs and advises the Government on developments within other inter-governmental (European Union, MERCOSUR etc.) and non-governmental  organizations (International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam etc.) of  international scope which affect the Kingdom of eSwatini's interest;
  • Fulfils the Government's membership obligations to these organizations;
  • Co-ordinates and directs the implementation of the Kingdom of eSwatini policies through these organizations;
  • Provides specialized briefings on matters relating to Foreign Policy for the Kingdom of eSwatini's delegations to these organizations; and
  • Co-ordinates the process of assessing trends in international organizations of importance to the country and advises the Government on how best to articulate the country's specific needs and interests vis-à-vis those organisations.

In the pursuit of the Kingdoms activities in these various forums, regions and countries, the department prepares regular briefings in order to keep the Government informed on any happenings globally and to advise on current relations with other nations. The department also liaises with the Kingdom’s embassies in facilitating the disbursement and urgent action of incoming communication from the World at large.

The Ministry continues to be committed to the long term objectives to maintain, improve and establish relations through diplomatic channels with international counterparts and bodies. The Protocol department has been rigorously carrying out its duties and focusing on the development and management of sound protocol standard procedures and practices whilst advising the Government and the King’s Office on the requirements of International law; and eSwatini custom on the treatment of dignitaries of representation status and; members of the diplomatic corps resident and non-resident in the Kingdom and most particularly on State Visits, National ceremonies and every public event attended by either Their Majesties or The Head of Government. The Department of Protocol directs all State protocols, domestic and foreign.

Co-functions of the Department:

  • Facilitates and co-ordinates both domestic and international programmes of the Head of State, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other eSwatini dignitaries;
  • Processes requests for accreditation of both eSwatini and Foreign Heads of Missions and handles ceremonies of presentation of credentials by Foreign Heads of Missions;
  • Organizes ceremonies of commissioning of eSwatini Heads of Missions;
  • Facilitates the conduct of relations between the Government and the Diplomatic and Consular Missions located in and accredited to the Kingdom of eSwatini;
  • Ensures that members of the diplomatic and consular corps understand and comply with local laws and regulations,
  • Develops and implements protocol policies and procedures in line with the Government's policies and with international practice,
  • Advises eSwatini Missions abroad on matters related to eSwatini protocol and diplomatic privileges, immunity and protection;
  • Ensures that eMaswati at posts abroad display the same standard of conduct as is expected of Foreign Missions in the Kingdom of eSwatini;
  • Co-ordinates the practical arrangements for conferences held in the Kingdom of eSwatini when required, and advises the Ministry of its conference commitments.

The Protocol Department, under the direction of the Chief of Protocol, directly advises, assists, and supports the King's Office, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Deputy Prime Minister's Office on official matters of national and international protocol, and in the planning, hosting, and officiating of related ceremonial events and activities for visiting heads of state. The Protocol Department serves as the coordinator within and between the Ministry and the King's Office on all protocol matters for Their Majesties, The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister's travel abroad.

CORE FUNCTIONS

The primary purpose of the legal division is to provide in house legal expertise on specific and general questions of international law. Consistent with Legal Notice No. 1/2008, the legal division is custodian and updating of the Kingdom of eSwatin’s treaty collection. It also provides treaty and information service in particular with information on all aspects concerning international agreements such as signature, ratification, accession and entry into force of all international agreements that the Kingdom of eSwatini is a party to. It further provides legal expertise and input to the Ministry with a view to ensuring that within the domestic context, in particular in respect of departmental matters, including policy, the Ministry acts in conformity with domestic law.

PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING LEGAL ADVICE

The division requires that a written request for legal advice be submitted through the office of the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation.
A telephonic inquiry service is also provided.

SIGNATURE OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

Ministers and or Officials are sometimes required to sign international agreements that are negotiated, drafted and adopted during conferences. In such cases, an instrument of Full Powers issued by the Head of State, Head of Government or the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a Cabinet Minute will be required. A Cabinet Paper is to be submitted in this regard by the line Ministry concerned. Full powers authorize the Minister/Official to sign an agreement subject to ratification.


PROCEDURE FOR CONCLUDING INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

If the advice sought relates to an international agreement purported to be signed / ratified by the Kingdom of eSwatini, the Ministry seeking to conclude that international agreement must obtain an opinion on the agreement’s consistency with domestic law must be obtained from the Law Office in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
A memorandum is submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with hard and soft copies of a Cabinet Paper for signature by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and for transmittal to Cabinet. The requesting Ministry must also provide 60 copies of the agreement.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will then table the agreement before both houses of Parliament in terms of article 238(2) of the Constitution, 2005. The requesting ministry must provide 120 copies of the agreement. This requirement applies to all agreements that require ratification or accession (usually multilateral agreements), that have financial implications and have legislative or domestic policy implications.


Approval for ratification is required in cases where the country has signed the agreement and it provides for such an instrument. Approval for accession is required where the country has not signed an agreement but can become a party thereto through accession. Instrument of ratification/accession signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is submitted through diplomatic channels to the relevant depositary. An entry into force notification is communicated through diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


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