Talk:List of sovereign states/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

Clean up 2

This modification corrects:

  • arithmetic
  • what we say should be what we list, we should not say one thing and list another

It consists of the following 6 changes: One change that I consider obligatory:

  • The phrase "Seven additional entries are listed after the end of the list" was added, and these entries are mentioned by name. Although the number of entries in that additional list can be discussed and modified, if the additional list is present, its existence has to be mentioned. If anyone wants to remove this phrase, it goes hand in hand with removal of the list as well. (If you do, please make such a porposal - obviously it can be discussed, but beaware that's probable to generate heated difcussions.)

three minor changes:

  • "Kosovo (Serbia)" has been put into a separate sentence, since suport for such change was found in the previous discussion. I recall the argument: unlike other entries such as Puntland or Kurdistan, Kosovo has no breakaway government or authority. It is administered and controlled entirely by UN, not by a secessionist movement as in all the other.
  • Link to "Moldovan language" given, since the concept is disputable. Also corrected the name in Moldovan.
  • added "independentist-oriented local governments, or independentist movements that do not have a government with control over a defined territory" I will not seriously object if you erase this.

and tho changes that need firther discussion

  • "De facto independent states" renamed "Additional list". Please, propose and change to a better name if you know one.
Why is it better then the old version? why haven't you proposed it at the talk first (if I don't forget something, that is :)) Alæxis¿question? 20:32, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
You mean renaming "De facto independent states" into "Additional list"? Just rename it back or to a better name. I just thought "Additional list" is as neutral as it can get. (The previous 194 entries are also de facto independent, so the title did not distingushed them from the smaller list). I admit, my last two changes were a rush. I was about to undo them. But then a user corrected about Western Sahara, and also replied me shortly on my talk page. So, I did not edit more, 'cause sure people would read this (talk page has been cleared of anything but this) and will correct right away if anything. And frankly, I am not that interested in the name of the smaller list.:Dc76 22:01, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I'll return the old name then... Actually de facto tends to be used as opposed to de jure (you wouldn't call something de facto if it's also de jure) so I think there wouldn't be any confusion. Alæxis¿question? 07:50, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Western Sahara is moved to the Additional list (this perhaps was better to discuss separately; I won't object to rv this thing if a discussion can be started afterwards)

Thanks for your attention. :Dc76 15:54, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Good job all the problems have to be solved step by step.--Tones benefit 17:14, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Should the sentence on the top of the page, "This is an alphabetical list of the sovereign states of the world, including both de jure and de facto independent states.", be changed as this page now has two lists and neither matches the criteria stated in the sentence? Should the second list be dropped as it is covered in List of unrecognized countries? (I do not like the second list as it will never be seen by most users as they do not scroll down to see it. Rather it should be one list with or without the de facto independent states) -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:51, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

You are right, I did not notice the first sentence. Any ideas how to change it? The second list was already present in the article! I did not introduce it, I only mentioned it in the begining. I understand your observation, it is legitimate. But I personally would rather not rush with a solution that would be contested, so I don't know what to suggest yet. Well, the good part now is that people are aware of the problem (it is not hidden any longer), so hopefully a cool and wise mind will suggest something good. :Dc76 01:03, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Merge the lists or deleted the second list, then the sentence is easy to either not change or change by removing the de facto bit. This page had one list for a long time before it was mucked with by some people pushing a POV. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 12:41, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
The additional list can not, imho, be merged with the main list, because the main list contains the mutually recognized, fully functioning and daily interacting states of the world, whose sovereigny and independence is insrined in the whole body of international law and international customary diplomatic practice. Such a state could not be created or cease to exist in a local event - it would be always a major story. On the other hand, if Sawahari Republic would be dissolved or South Ossetia rejoin Georgia, those would be news of local importance, like if Sealand would ceese. Nothing in the world will change if such an entity appears or disappears, it can not provoke war or setting of govrnments in exile, the rest of the world would simply observe, if notice at all. If on the other hand, Albania or Kenia or Burma or Kuweit, if annexed by someone, that is a different story. So, at least as I understand the things, the additional list contains entities of a totally diffenent nature than the main list.
But the list includes Republic of China which it not a recognized state. List all the unrecognized states or non of them. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:16, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is that Republic of China (Taiwan) has to be in the list, b/c it is recognized by many states, and it was once recognized as the only legal China (until early 1970),etc. The problem with PRC and ROC is one country-two systmes formula, which is specific case, not simmilar to any other case. In the case of Hong Kong and Macao this system is employed by making the two SAR of PRC, so they are autonomous dependences without being sovereign states. In the case of ROC, there was no UK or Portugal as colonial power, ROC was the legal independent government of China. And it remains so: PRC is the legal government for the part of China that follows communsim, ROC is the legal government for the part of China that followes capitalism and democracy. So one country-two sovereign states. Again, this is a unique case. And it must be added, that because there is a huge territorial and population disparity between PRC and ROC, and because PRC is a nuclear power, only one of them can be allowed to represent China as a country in diplomatic relations. Hence you can have diplomatic relations only with PRC, but economic relations with both. You can visit Taiwan, and you can discuss anything, from economy to politics, but you can not call ROC the exponent of the whole people of China. On the contrary, you go to Beijing, criticize them as much as you can, but you have to recognize them as the representatives of China as a whole/country. In time this will be solved by democratising the mainland. Until then, we have 1 country - 2 states. (IMHO):Dc76 12:45, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
When you say There was no colonial power for the ROC, you miss the fact taht the ROC is pretty much limited to Taiwan these days. Both China and Japan were important colonial powers there. The "one-country two-systems" formulation by the PRC isn't relevant because it isn't accepted by the ROC. Readin (talk) 16:04, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I would support creating a separate article for the additional list (or merge it in a different article), if such an idea would find support in the talk page. :Dc76 12:16, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
It already exists. It is List of unrecognized countries -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:16, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

English vs local names

There are two problems with the "The names in English are the short official names (e.g. Afghanistan) followed by the (long) official name (e.g. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)." The entries for Ivory Coast and Burma, either the names need changing or description needs changing to "used by the United Nations in their English publications". There is no way that Côte d'Ivoire is English and the Official British Government position is to use Burma until a internationally reconised democratically elected Burmese government asks to be known by a different name, which is the position taken by most of the British media.[1][2][3] Burma also seems to be the name used by the United States government.[4]--Philip Baird Shearer

Who defines what a countries name is in English. Certainly it is not you, the British Government, or the media. If Côte d'Ivoire wants to be called that, that is why the UN lists it as such, then we should honor their request. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:55, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
How about Ivory Coast/Côte d'Ivoire - Republic of Côte d'Ivoire ? :Dc76 01:04, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
I would do something like Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) - Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. The same should be done for North/South Korea and the China. They look very wrong now as they are not quite alphabetical. See List of countries on how the Koreas and Chinas are done correctly and how Côte d'Ivoire is treated. But note that Timor-Leste is not done correctly on List of countries - I love the inconsistencies in one Wikipedia article much less the inconsistencies between articles. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 12:39, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Of course it is not me who defines the names of articles, that is done through common usage (See WP:NC). Do yo know how sill it sounds if you argue that the English speaking media, and the governments of English speaking countries do not define the name names of countries in English? But please note what I wrote "names need changing or description needs changing to "used by the United Nations in their English publications"." --Philip Baird Shearer 17:55, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Could one (or both) of you, please, take your time and go through the list in order to list here all instances with name problem, so we can address them consistently. I have the same feeling about inconsistences, but we have to treat them in a way to solve them, so when someone rv we can with good arguments explain why it shouldn't be rv, e.g. point to this discussion about inconsistency.:Dc76 12:21, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
The states that have name issues are Côte d'Ivoire, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste. Also the two Chinas, the two Congos, and the two Koreas have a similar but different name issue. There is not much that can be done for them as someone will eventually change the back based on Conventional wisdom rather than by fact. Even if this page is correct the error will be on other pages. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:26, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I find it rather odd that people should see a distinction between "English" and "local names" in cases where there are virtually no distinction between the two (if such a distinction is even important in itself). Just how "English" is the word "Afghanistan", for instance? Is "Burma" more "English" than "Myanmar", when both are borrowed words? What we should be concentrating our focus on is the question of common usage versus official usage in English publications, and not over the "Englishness" of loanwords.--Huaiwei 18:39, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Loanwords change over time (i.e. Peking to Beijing and Calcutta to Kolkata) and the basis for names listed here should be based on what the place in question wants to be called. -- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 00:26, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
And I believe you will recognise that it is precisely one of the possible viewpoints I stated above. The other is common usage, which I actually tend not to favour, for if so, we will probably be perpertually the last major publication on the internet which keeps using old names until they fade into obscurity.--Huaiwei 14:30, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The ROC is a sovereign state

Corticopia has argued that the ROC does not claim independence, and so should not be on this list. In fact, the ROC does claim independence. It has claimed independence ever since it was a major government on the mainland. It never ceased to claim independence. It does not claim the independence of Taiwan from the rest of China, but that is an entirely different issue. Both the ROC and the PRC claim independence from other nations. Both the ROC and the PRC claim to be the rightful government of all of China. Both the ROC and the PRC have de facto control of territory. Both the ROC and the PRC make treaties with other sovereign nations. Both the ROC and the PRC are subjects of international law. Both the ROC and PRC are sovereign states. Lexicon (talk) 21:35, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Spot on. sephia karta 21:38, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry: I'm seeing spots. I see argumentation in support of this viewpoint, but little/no sourced matter to justify it. And 'the entirely different issue' of independence L. alludes to is part-and-parcel of the problem to begin with, so much so that the ROC is arguably limited in its capacity to enter into relations with other states and (per the constitutive theory of statehood, not invalid) is recognised as such by few. Even Western Sahara is recognised by more states, yet it is categorised as a de facto state only. The current ROC entry is far more impartial regarding this than previous (e.g., listing of various names regarding that entity). Taiwan/ROC is indisputably a country or nation. A state? Perhaps. A sovereign state? Perhaps not. Before anyone contemplates changes, please provide evidence we can verify (e.g., indicating 'Taiwan is a sovereign state'). Thanks. Corticopia 02:14, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Then we must abandon the list. The Republic of China is no different in principle than the People's Republic of China. They're both recognized by states, but not all states. The only difference is degree of recognition. I would not accept that the ROC has any less capacity than any other state to enter into relations with other states. It can enter into relations, which is what capacity means. Whether other states do enter into relations with it (either officially, as with several nations, or unofficially, as with many others), is, again, a different issue. But no, I don't have sourced matter that proves that the ROC is a sovereign state. But then, I don't have anything that proves that the PRC is, either. Lexicon (talk) 03:53, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you've nailed it on the head; also see below. 'In principle' is rather different than 'in fact', and the 'different issue' is in fact inextricably linked to the current one. Perhaps we should abandon the list: above all, it is not our place to make assertions that are rather contestable and partial to one viewpoint (as was previously the case). Turkey acknowledges the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (rather a result of its own actions). After all, it also has territory and a government. Do we include it? No. Some may assert that the ROC is a sovereign state (I acknowledge this perspective, most of all made by the Taiwanese president), but others definitely do not. [5] [6] [7] And perhaps the China Post put it best, which to me solidifies the reasoning for why it cannot be in the list above: "Taiwan is already a de facto sovereign state, but its status as a normal state has not been achieved yet." Corticopia 12:58, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
A state can only have the capacity to enter into relations with other states, if other states are willing to enter into relations with it. In the case of ROC there are no doubts about it [8]. --Philip Baird Shearer 07:45, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Au contraire: You are both commenting in absolutes, even when they do not exist. Many things a sovereign state must have, de jure and de facto; see above. A capacity to enter into relations with other states may be moot if it is not recognised: I have added a cited reference for this; also, [9] Even the legal basis for its participation may thus be at issue, thereby casting doubt on the other qualifications of statehood. PBS, the article you have provided (in one perspective, perhaps a realist one) demonstrates the opposite point you are trying to make: that Costa Rica is a state, and that it no longer acknowledges the ROC as one. You're going to have to do much better than that. Corticopia 12:58, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes I agree that as Costa Rica no longer acknowledges the ROC as one, but other states do, so ROC can and does in fact have relations with other states. --Philip Baird Shearer 15:25, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Explain then why the TRNC and Western Sahara are not included in the top list: both also have a capacity to conduct foregin relations -- many territories, hell, even the province of Quebec in Canada has the capacity to do so. None are considered herein bona fide states, but that is not to deny they may be or other things. Corticopia 17:26, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
The capacity to enter into diplomatic relations is not affected by the actual presence or absence of such diplomatic relations. To dispute this is analogous to claiming that sugar lacks the capacity to dissolve in water whenever there is no water present. sephia karta 15:36, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I use saccharin; anyhow, again, to dismiss international recognition is analogous to assuming that the world is comprised only of water and sugar. Your assertion may in fact be true, but my concern is much more the neutrality of making this assertion, even when various sources and bodies clearly dispute it and say exactly the opposite. None of you have challenged the reputable sources I have provided, nor have you provided clear, reputable sources to support your assertion. Get back to me when you do. Corticopia 17:26, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
While you are hurling Wikipedia guideline links all over the place, please point out to me the references that you cited. The Taipei Times article seems totally irrelevant here, it does not at all touch upon the question of whether a state can have the capacity to enter into deiplomatic relations if it has none. sephia karta 20:09, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
While a substantial component, it's not merely about the capacity of a state to enter into relations with others. I have provided a number of references (e.g., reiterating the positions of the UN and WTO that the ROC is not a sovereign state), including in the article itself, while you have still provided none and have defaulted to polemicism. The only source provided in this discussion is the one provided by PBS about Costa Rica: is that really the crutch of your argument? The burden of proof to include content which may be challenged is on you, not on me. If this cannot or will not be done, I will assume that its inclusion is merely to push a particular viewpoint despite contra-sources and perhaps to make a political statement. And, yes, I take double sugar, no cream. Corticopia 20:37, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Well no, all I was talking about was the capacity of states to enter into relations with others, and you calimed to have provided relevant sources, which apparently though, you have not. sephia karta 21:07, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm talking about more than just one criteria -- see here, for example. One may argue that all three qualifications do not apply: for instance, that the ROC government is illegitimate and cannot maintain effective control over its domain given the persistent position of the PRC and the threats of force. Corticopia 22:31, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

This conversation yet again points out again that the only NPOV solution to sovereignty is to list who recognizes whose de iure sovereignty, as there is no unanimity among nations. Nevertheless, that is still the key: who is recognized as the legal de iure authority over territory and population? Sovereignty cannot exist without recognized legality. (Plenty of sources; I deal with the "constitutive theory" article shortly.)
    As a full list of who recognizes who is a rather complex exercise, I might perhaps suggest this interim solution:

  • If A and B and C and D recognize each other as sovereign but are not recognized by any country, E, which is sovereign by a NPOV standard requiring NO INTERPRETATION (e.g, "E" has (1) territory, (2) population, and (3) is a member of the U.N.), then none of A, B, C, or D are sovereign (e.g., South Ossetia recognizes Transnistria).
  • If A and B claim sovereignty over territory X and there is a "split" among the "NPOV-sovereign" nations as to who is "more" sovereign over X, then we note who is in the majority and who is in the minority and quantify. So, with reference to this particular discussion, PRC in the majority, ROC in the minority; note that ROC largely lost recognition as sovereign Chinese authority as the result of the one China policy adopted by multiple nations.
  • Other majority/minority/abstaining recognitions dealt with similarly.

    "Capacity to enter into relations", Montevideo, etc. are all WP:OR mechanisms of attributing sovereignty and do not belong in an encyclopedia article. The constitutive theory of statehood Wiki article, if you read it, essentially rejecting that who recognizes who has any meaning (the only pragmatic means of ascribing sovereignty!), is based on a single source. Further, its description as "pure theory" was inserted by a single-purpose account pushing Transnistrian "sovereignty." Bottom line, the application of either "constitutive" or "declarative" theories of statehood to forming a list of sovereign countries is also WP:OR. —  Pēters J. Vecrumba 21:28, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Are you joking? You reject applying Montevideo (or Badinter, which is easier still) on the ground that it would mean OR and seriously suggest that chosing and applying this intricate algorythm is not purpose built and OR?
Recognition is not a straightforward matter. I challenge you to find me a source that tells us whether the United States recognise North Korea. sephia karta 21:49, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Pēters J. Vecrumba got it right. Applying the Montevideo convention ourselves is Original Research. It wouldn't be so bad if people were capable of being objective on the matter. But time and again I've seen that it just isn't possible where Taiwan is concerned. There are 5 billion Chinese and more of them learn English everyday. And they're willing to twist a definition as much as necessary to make sure no one says Taiwan is a sovereign nation, country, state, etc.. That's one reason the constitutive theory of statehood is gaining so much traction around the world - it gives nations an excuse to ignore the reality of Taiwan's sovereignty and make statements in accordance with powerful China's fantasies.
Trying to apply simple logic in the face of such numbers and power isn't going to get us far, especially since we're supposed to source everything and most entities large enough to count as sources tend to be large enough to get China's attention and pressure. Readin (talk) 16:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Some modifcations

I've made some modifications, based on the introduction of the term states claiming sovereignty (the de facto entities) and added some more information. I am planning to add some information on the extent of sovereignty for states where part of the sovereignty is disputed. Electionworld Talk? 19:35, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

"de facto states" doesn't read very elegantly, and I'm not sure what the de facto signifies here. How about de facto independent states claiming sovereignty? sephia karta 10:04, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I use now States claiming sovereignty. Electionworld Talk? 11:49, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


This entry includes links to flags of sovereign states. It is not an article about flags and there is also a Gallery of sovereign-state flags. I do not see any reason to have links to the entries on the flags (the same way as it doens't include links to entries on coats of arms or national anthems.). I suggest to delete these links, marked in the article with Flag. Electionworld Talk? 12:59, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Since there until now no objections, I will delete this links soon. Electionworld Talk? 09:47, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
For reasons stated, I see no problem in removing the links to the flags -- i.e., 'Flag/of' in superscript at end of entries -- but we should retain the actual flag images which precede each entry: flags are important identifiers for states, and these images break up what is/would be an excess of text. Quizimodo 10:00, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
I want to keep the flag images in, just only remove the links to flag entries, so we agree. Electionworld Talk? 11:40, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, agreed. (At first, I misinterpreted your comments, and then I corrected myself.) :) Quizimodo 11:48, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Now that we have the flags, what is the stance on the flags showing local vs. sovereign flags. Take France, for example. The list of territories show each one associated with the French flag, except for French Polynesia. Would it be out of order to show the flags of Wallis and Futuna, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin? What is the difference between these and showing the flags of the American, British, and Dutch territories? --Paploo 14:02, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


I started a new layout for the native names in non-latin script and their romanizations. One can see how it will be at Algeria. I will further update this in the upcoming days. Electionworld Talk? 09:47, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

More information and change in layout

The present intro says it gives information on the extent of the sovereignty of the included entities, but it does not really do that. I plan a revision of the entry by putting the list in a table. This table will have in the ledt colomn (nearly) the same info as the present list, but in a second colomn information will be included on the extent of sovereignty. I am working on that new list in user:Electionworld/List of sovereign states and plan to include recent improvements of the present list as much as possible. You are welcome to visit the new version. Electionworld Talk? 12:06, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

The proposal will be carried out in some minutes. One important difference is the addition of Palestine, the entity having observer status at UNO. For the rest the same entities are included. Electionworld Talk? 20:32, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Good work. Some comments, though:
(1) Individual entries appear difficult to distinguish: perhaps they can be separated by lines or alternating shades?
(2) The formatting is somewhat tortuous: for example, I simply tried to remove what appears to be a parasite entry for the Republic of Cameroon (in bold beneath main entry), and it appears to screw up the formatting. This only appears the case when editing an individual section (i.e., C), as opposed to the entire article. In any event, perhaps it would be better to use a proper (read: readily editable) table to store and organise all of this information?
(3) There are appear to be a number of </ref> instances, presumably without accompanying <ref> instances to create proper references/notes.
Quizimodo 23:48, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Good work on recent changes; as you can see, I added a table and lines for better viewing. (I also apologise if I inadvertently eliminated other edits made at the same time.)
One comment, though: I have added the prior name for Democratic Republic of the Congo (AKA Congo-Kinshasa) – Zaire – because, despite the change of name, it is still often referred to by its former name and (importantly) to promote clarity, i.e., to better distinguish it from the other (Republic of the) Congo (AKA Congo-Brazzaville). For instance, in my fairly recent volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, the main country's entry is under Zaire. I don't believe there is similar confusion with Benin, but perhaps with the name of Burkina Faso (AKA Burkina, Upper Volta), so I'm unsure why prior names are being added for those entities. Thoughts? Quizimodo 07:23, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

After Kabila seized power in Zaire, the country was renamed into Congo. Zaire is an outdated name. None of my present atlases uses the name Zaire (I collect atlases). I don't know why OED still uses Zaire, but it is just wrong. I am not aware of any other sources still refering to the country as Zaire, so to say often is just not right. What is the edition year of your OED, that might explain it? I do not mind giving the former name, but than the same goes for Benin and Burkina. Electionworld Talk? 14:17, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Understood; writing this remotely, I believe the year of my edition of the OED is 2002. I also collect atlases, and can corroborate your understanding. Please note: I only think it prudent to include 'Zaire' as an alternate/prior name to clarify/better distinguish the Congos ... in case a visitor is trapped in the 1990s. :) Quizimodo 15:52, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I noticed the border in the table and must admit, I don't really like all the borders. I think horinzontal lines would be enough. I will think about how to do that. Electionworld Talk? 14:35, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I think the table borders help more than hinder, and represent an improvement over the original table: it otherwise looked light a jumble of text without much structure, and to retrofit the table with borders was easy enough. However, I think it enough to only include horizontal lines too, but was not sure how to do this in a timely way, thus ... Quizimodo 15:52, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
See Talk:List of sovereign states/Test for a test version of a part of the list. Electionworld Talk? 07:41, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Great -- boldly, I've retrofitted the table with these changes. Enjoy! Quizimodo 10:13, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I like what I see, good work! Two things you may want to add: how many states the SADR is recognised by and that it is a member of the African Union, and how many states the ROC is recognised by and that it not only additionally claims these islands, but also the whole of the PRC, and possibly (I am not sure) Mongolia. sephia karta 03:05, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Edits to US blurb

Here are the edits i've made to the US section of the article:

The article described Guam, the USVI, etc. as US "overseas territories". This term is incorrect. A list of terms used when talking about the insular areas is here: [10]. The term "overseas territory" is not on the list. I have replaced it with "territories and commonwealths" which seems to be preferred by the Interior Dept: [11]. Second, I have removed this sentence:

Most of the overseas posessions in the Pacific Ocean, with the exception of Wake Island form part of the United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges.

This is correct, but misleading. The "United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges" is a CIA term to refer to seven National Wildlife Refuges in the Pacific, which happen to match seven of eight minor territories in the Pacific. It should not be used for the minor outlying islands as a whole; instead I have used "United States Minor Outlying Islands", which the ISO uses. - Thanks, Hoshie 04:04, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Local flags vs. National flags

Again I ask:

Now that we have the flags, what is the stance on the flags showing local vs. sovereign flags. Take France, for example. The list of territories show each one associated with the French flag, except for French Polynesia. Would it be out of order to show the flags of Wallis and Futuna, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin? What is the difference between these and showing the flags of the American, British, and Dutch territories? --Paploo 23:54, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

It depends on the status of the fal. If it is the official flag, I do not see any problem whowing these flags. Often it is a inoffical flag, then it shouldn't be listed. Electionworld Talk? 10:07, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

SADR, the Arab league, and the OIC

The 'A' in "SADR" means Arab, so its relation to the Arab League of states is worth mentionning. The SADR claims to represent a population 100% muslim, one of the rare groups on earth that have no other religious minorities. All muslim-majority states, or even partly-muslim, are members or observers of the OIC, the SADR is not. So that merits to be mentionned especially when the Asian African partership which is not a union/league/organisation/.. is mentionned. The Arab League and the OIC are thus the most relevant organizations to be mentionned. How can then Koavf revert and comment that they are "superfluous organizations *not* associated"?.--A Jalil 08:27, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Have you noticed the title of this article? List of sovereign states: a list, a list, a list!. So, if you possess important informations about SADR, I suggest you to complete Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic if need be, and to drop the SADR part in this article. --Juiced lemon 17:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Entities claiming sovereignty

So based on the list's logic, if the list was compiled before 1971, the People's Republic of China would be merely an entity that was merely claiming sovereignty and the Republic of China would be considered a sovereign state. After 1971, the People's Republic of China suddenly became a sovreign state and the Republic of China suddenly became an entity that merely claims sovereignty. The Wikipedia now sounds like the US State Department because this is exactly what the US State Department did before and after 1979. There is also the danger of saying that the Wikipedia downgraded the Republic of China from a sovereign state into a mere wanna-be state entity effective August 2007. Therefore Wikimania Taipei was hosted at an entity rather than a sovereign state. Then several months later, a different group of maintainers think otherwise, and have the Wikipedia upgrade the Republic of China back as a sovereign state. That would make a great uncyclopedia article I must sarcastically say. 16:27, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

The lead to the article says the Montevideo convention is used to determine inclusion in the list. According to this article, the convention uses "capacity to enter into relations with the other states", the number of such relations. Since Taiwan has at least one such relation, it has demonstrated the "capacity". That other nations have not chosen to do so isn't relevant. Not including Taiwan in the list of sovereign states is violating NPOV. Either Taiwan needs to be included or the introductory paragraphs need correcting. Why not ditch the word "sovereign" and the Montevideo convention and frankly say that this is a list of nations with wide recognition by other nations? Readin (talk) 16:12, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
There are provisions in the article which rightly allow for grey areas. Explain your rationale to the folks at the UN, WHO, EU, and many other bodies which do NOT recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state. Also, the ROC's dominion over Taiwan may be tenuous, since its territory is under constant threat from the PRC. Your insistence on indicating that it is a sovereign state, given the body of contra-evidence, is as partial as saying that it is not. Fixation on this also curious, given (as pointed out above) the exclusion of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara, which also may have capacities to enter into relations with other states. Corticopia (talk) 17:40, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I'll explain my to the UN and WHO that Taiwan is a sovereign state after you explain to the big tobacco companies that tobacco causes lung cancer and explain to Al Qaeda how evolution leads to biodiversity. The ROC's dominion over Taiwan may be threatened, but the threats have not yet materialized. The ROC's dominion over Taiwan is as real as French Third Republic's dominion over France was in 1938. Predicting the future of ROC's dominion would truly be original research. You say my insistence on saying Taiwan is sovereign is as impartial as saying it is not is good reason that this article's claim to be a "list of sovereign states" is problematic. I don't know enough about Northern Cyprus or Western Sahara to answer your questions. I know almost nothing about Western Sahara. What little I know of Northern Cyprus leads me to believe that a good argument could be made that it's relations with Turkey aren't truly foreign relations because it is in fact part of Turkey (a bit like the republics of the USSR having their own UN representatives), but I'll admit that I could be way off on that. Perhaps Northern Cyprus is sovereign. I don't know. But I know Taiwan, and other than a heavy reliance on the United States (not unusual for a modern state), it is as sovereign as any other nation. Readin (talk) 18:16, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is to be a statement of the UN/WHO/EU's POV (or more generally, a statement of general diplomatic stances by large organizations) it should be labeled as such, rather than pretending to be a list of sovereign states under the Montevideo convention. Otherwise, this whole article is just POV pushing and should be deleted. Readin (talk) 18:29, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm considering proposing deletion of this article because because it contains "# Article information that cannot possibly be attributed to reliable sources". But maybe I'm wrong. What reliable sources are there for saying which nations are sovereign under the Montevideo convention (which is what this article claims to be about). The UN doesn't use that convention to qualify members, nor do most other organizations. So what reliable sources are there? And what makes those sources reliable? Readin (talk) 18:36, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Everything you have mentioned has been discussed beforehand. Please provide sources that the ROC is a sovereign state -- I'm sure you can, no? Self-insinuations from the Taiwanese government are not sufficient without corroboration. And, of course, they must be deemed reliable too. Good luck.
There are a number of statements that provide for the content, particularly notions regarding international recognition and "The list includes all states that satisfy these criteria and claim independence; however, the aforementioned qualifications are not absolute and permit variations." Aside from that, if you take issue with the first sentence or rationale, then it may be changed to allow more wiggle-room. But warnings to nominate the article/list for deletion because you are not satisfied with Taiwan's placement in it ring rather false. Please help build the article; if not, advocate for Taiwan's political independence elsewhere, please. Corticopia (talk) 18:52, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Oops, my bad, just noticed the first list is "Internationally recognized" states, not "sovereign states. I misread and thought Taiwan was not included in list of sovereign nations meeting the four Montevideo criteria. Now I see it was. My apologies (blush). Someone told me Taiwan had been demoted from "sovereign" on this page and I jumped in without reading carefully enough. I should know better. Sorry to cause such a ruckus. Readin (talk) 15:27, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I modified a couple headers so the next person won't get confused like I did. If we're going to say "This list derives its definition of a sovereign state from Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933.", and then say "The list includes all states that satisfy these criteria and claim independence;", then if a country is on the list, mustn't it satisfy the conditions to be a "sovereign state"? The question then is whether it is "internationally" recognized. I modified headers to make the distinction clearer. Readin (talk) 15:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Was just looking at the Montevideo Convention page and noticed this (emphasis added):

The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Furthermore, the first sentence of article 3 explicitly states that "The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states." This is known as the declarative theory of statehood.

So why do we have some states in a separate list? Readin (talk) 18:22, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Fortunately, nothing exists in isolation: your assumption is that the declarative theory of statehood is the only one to consider. Of course, that isn't so, with there also being constitutive theory of statehood. Also note that the Montevideo Convention was signed by only 16 states, though in principle it applies to and others. As well, sources have been provided that note the importance of international recognition, so not so easily can that be cast aside. In the article regarding the Convention, I believe the position of Switzerland describes the situation best:
  • "neither a political unit needs to be recognized to become a state, nor does a state have the obligation to recognize another one. At the same time, neither recognition is enough to create a state, nor does its absence abolish it."[1]
And, in this respect, Taiwan is no different from Western Sahara, the TRNC, Palestine, et al. Besides, there is a list of countries that include entities that may or may not be bona fide sovereign states. This article should be no different regarding states for which there is contention and a lack of general recognition, and I believe it deals with this ambiguity fairly well. So that's that. Corticopia (talk) 18:38, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The beginning of the article says the criteria for inclusion is Montevideo Convention. So why not apply the convention equally? Readin (talk) 19:10, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Why? The article says a number of things, one of which is that it isn't applied equally, nor should it be given the reality and contra-evidence. Corticopia (talk) 19:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Kingdom of the Netherlands

I think the entry about the Netherlands is ambiguous: the link in the first column is to the country of the Netherlands itself, but in the second column this is taken as synonymous with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands officially have an equal status, so should either be included each seperately, or under the name "Kingdom of the Netherlands" in the first column. I'll change it in the beginning of February, according to reactions. Twerbrou (talk) 08:35, 17 January 2008 (UTC)


Ought we discuss this? john k (talk) 17:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Good question. :) My suggestion: Let's refrain from editing the article for about 2 weeks. In the meantime, we will see:
  1. who recognises Kosovo
  2. what oppinions/sources we users have about Kosovo being sovereign (as opposed to dependent of the UN/EU/whatever)
What do you say? Dpotop (talk) 18:08, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Nice plan )) We'll ask anyone who will want to add it for sources. I'm pretty sure it'll end up in the 'Other states' sub-list though. Alæxis¿question? 20:19, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
It ought to go immediately into "Other states," I think. It is just as relevant as South Ossetia, or whatever. john k (talk) 21:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

We could include Kosovo in the list in the "other states" questions with a hidden comment to discourage people form edit waring (other states is about as neutral as we can get, leaving it out could support one side of the argument). I will make this change, feel free to discuss and edit/revert if necessary)Dn9ahx (talk) 22:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't see how we can exclude it from "other states" when we include Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and so forth. john k (talk) 23:38, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with JohnK. It's a matter of fairness w.r.t. the "Other States". Dpotop (talk) 15:37, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I have added it to other states with a disclaimer Dn9ahx (talk) 23:39, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Just a note: with multi-state recognition I think it deserves to be in the same section, but now in the sub-list with Palestine, Taiwan and the SADR; I've moved it to there but am willing to listen to objections. --Pretty Green (talk) 19:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
What is the current state of formal recognitions? john k (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Hot off the presses: [12]. This at least puts it a step above Taiwan and Palestine. I agree that we should wait before making any changes to the article, though.—Chowbok 21:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Recognised by at least seven or as many as about twelve states, depending on your sources; states such as France have sent formal letters of recognition; I think the 'minority of UN members' phrase will cover us for a while, maybe even permanently. --Pretty Green (talk) 07:56, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

My feeling is that Kosovo will end with lots of recognition (USA, most EU states), but without UN and other international organizations. However, I am highly skeptical regarding the ability of the new "state" to function as such. For instance, the EU will ensure for some time (at least in part) the police and judicial function of the new state. I thought sovereignty included the ability to police and judge your people. So, from this POV, I'd say there's no comparison between Kosovo and Taiwan, and even the comparison with the Palestinian territories is not exaggerated. Dpotop (talk) 10:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Well there's little agreement as to what makes something 'sovereign' - hence the current diplomatic situation and Wikipedia's numerous lists and caveats. In the mjaortiy of cases, entites are clearly sovereign or not, but its the border cases which become contentious.
In practice, each case is individual and comparisons are difficult to make. For exmaple, Iraq didn't control its own police and judicial system from 2002-2006/7 and is only slowly having these things returned to its control - yet the nation's sovereignty was not questioned. Taiwan is not oficially viewed as sovereign by most nations, but as it has the capability to act on the intenational stage, it is arguably a de facto sovereign entity. Somalia is often given as a classic example as a sovereign state which has no control over its territroy; and what about the TNC, which operates internally as a sovereign state but basically not at all externally?
The list on this page seems to be classified by recognition, which is probably the best way as it is more easily quantifiable and understandable than control/security issues, which are often much more complex. In that sense, Kosovo is in the sub-group with Taiwan, SADR and Palestine as recognised by more than one sovereign; but to state that this means these four entities have anything else in common would indeed be wrong - however the article does not make that claim. --Pretty Green (talk) 12:30, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
PS, I agree with your assesment on what will probably happen to Kosovo. Barring a war with Serbia, I would have thought it would slowy develop its own police/army forces, but UN/EU troops could be there for decades. There are many soveriegn entities, however, who have external forces controlling their security. --Pretty Green (talk) 12:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
To be frank, I'm quite pessimistic regarding the situation in that region. A realistic scenario will have Kosovo at the center of a continuing "Greater Albania" movement, fueling terrorism in Europe. Not to mention lawlessness (traficking of all kinds, which is probably as important as an argument for "independence" as the ethnic problems). Dpotop (talk) 14:02, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Question on official languages of Afghanistan

The Afghanistan page says that the official languages of Afghanistan are Pashto and Persian, in that order. Why is there no Pashto short and long form names for it? Paploo (talk) 19:29, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Western Sahara case

SADR isn't a sovereign state. It must be deleted from the list. It could be added as "an auto-proclamed republic backed in Tindouf south Algeria to claim indepence in Western Sahara". SADR has no currency. SADR has no nationality. There are no people who have SADR passport !!! SADR isn't recognized by the UN. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Moroccansahraoui (talkcontribs) 17:11, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Note that the SADR is listed in the annex, which is a list of "states that claim sovereignty and have control over (part of) its claimed territory, but due to disputes over their legitimacy, do not have normal diplomatic relations with the majority of sovereign states", which seems perfectly fine to me. A footnote even explains the situation in detail. If you want to take out the entire annex, removing not only the SADR but also Abkhazia, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabach, Northern Cyprus, Palestinian territories, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Taiwan and Transnistria, that's another question altogether, but leaving some of them in while removing others would just be arbitrary. -- Jao (talk) 13:55, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Exactly Let me also say that there are such things as Sahrawi pesetas, Sahrawi passports, and the Sahrawi people. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 19:37, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
MS:The problem is to associate Western Sahara to "SADR". "SADR" isn't sovereign in Western Sahara. Western Sahara is a non self-governing territory and not a country and it's actually adminitrated by the kingdom of Morocco (UN resolution). People living in Western Sahara have moroccan IDs because of the administrative power of the kingdom of Morocco in the region. Nevertheless, Western Sahara is claimed by Polisario Front backed in Tindouf camps south Algeria. It's the same debate we have on the list of countries. "SADR" is quite different from the others. "SADR" isn't present in the ground according to the UN MINURSO documents. All is about Polisario Front. In all UN resolutions, the mention is about Polisario Front. The maximum I can tolerate is to get rid of Western Sahara from the entry. There were a consensus on putting the flag in front of "SADR" but someone makes this changement. isn't it Justin. --Moroccansahraoui (talk) 20:20, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Not again The SADR does administer part of Western Sahara. The Republic of China administers part of China as well (a much smaller portion of their declared territory, I might add.) Some Sahrawis have Moroccan ids. Others have SADR ids. As you noted, this is a redundant discussion. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 21:13, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
MS:Just to inform some of you who are not aware of the western sahara issue. In the report of the secretary general S/2001/398 par. 19 of April 14 2001 on Western Sahara issue, you can read this :...I do believe, however, that substantial progress has been made towards determining whether the Government of Morocco as the administrative power in Western Sahara is prepared to offer or support some devolution of authority for all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of the Territory that is genuine, substantial and keeping with international norms.--Moroccansahraoui (talk) 11:51, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
The name of this republic is "SADR" and not "Western Sahara - SADR". you have to get rid of the mention of the teritory "Western Sahara". We are talking here about the supposed republic. Why don't we put the country or the territory in front of each supposed republic? I think there is no personal point of view on saying that. Isn't it?--Moroccansahraoui (talk) 15:28, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Criteria of Inclusion

In this section, there is a little mistake : "SADR" shouldn't be among Taiwan, Kosovo and Palestine. The three cases are definitely different from "SADR" case. In Taiwan, the government is present in the territory and has the administrative power as well as Kosovo and Palestine. In "SADR" case, the government is taking place outside of Western Sahara, in Tindouf south Algeria. My proposal is to put "SADR" in the second line. We would get 3 in the first point and 7 in the second.--Moroccansahraoui (talk) 15:37, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Please see

Here And discuss it there. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 06:28, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

RoC formal claims to PRC and Mongolia

"has not formally renounced claims over the territory of the PRC and Mongolia". According to the new citation, President Ma said under the ROC Constitution, the ROC “definitely is an independent sovereign state, and mainland [sic] China is also part of the territory of the ROC.” Basically, what Ma said is that the RoC still hasn't formally renounced claims of sovereignty because those claims are still in the Constitution. However, it makes no mention of him wanting to do anything about those claims. He's not planning to build missiles to intimidate China or Mongolia into surrender. He's not demanding that other countries stop recognizing China or Mongolia. He's not trying to keep China or Mongolia out of international organizations. In fact, according to the cited article, "The ultimate goal is to end hostility with Beijing, sign a peace agreement with China and march down the road of sustainable peace and prosperity, he (Ma) said." The word "formally" still belongs. Readin (talk) 15:53, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

The act of him mentioning that mainland China is part of the territory of the Republic of China is an assertion of claim. Therefore, I don't think we can say "the ROC hasn't formally renounced the claim". Ma's assertion means the ROC hasn't renounced the claim in practice either. The claim is pursued, just subtly.

Sovereignty claims don't have to be pursued by way of weapons or other more aggressive ways that you mentioned. They are more practical ways to make sure that the claims aren't just merely claims, but aggression is not a requirement.

We can say that "the claims are no longer actively pursued, although they have been recently reasserted" if you like.--pyl (talk) 16:04, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Niue and Cook Islands

I really do not think Niue an Cook Islands meet the required status to be included on this list as a Sovereign State. Surely they should be placed next to New Zealand like Crown Dependencies are placed next to the United Kingdom? BritishWatcher (talk) 17:37, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't know. I think they do, but I guess the crucial question is whether they consider themselves independent. On the other hand I think it is a bit doubtful to say that they are generally recognised. sephia karta | di mi 17:43, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
At the moment their exteneral affairs and defence are still the responsibility of New Zealand. They have a choice to leave and become independent any time they want but thats exactly the same as the Crown dependencies. I dont see the justification for including them on this list as Sovereign States. Just because they take part in a couple of UN organisations doesnt entitle them to such status. (unlike the vatican which is actually an observer). BritishWatcher (talk) 17:58, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec) This is a separate grey area from that surrounding those states with general recognition though, since the states we've defined as being without general recognition are those involved in some kind of dispute, whereas the status of the Cook Islands and Niue is not disputed - rather, it does not fit nicely into a box. Adding to the awkwardness is the status of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the FS Micronesia. These are UN members that are formally associated with the United States, in a similar way to that by which the Cook Islands and Niue are associated with New Zealand. I believe the UN also recognises a similar status for the Crown Dependencies, though I cannot prove it.
So, the question seems to me to be, where do we draw the line? We could say that if a dependent territory can be verified as an "associated state" it can be included - or we could rely on, say, formal recognition by 80% or 90% of UN members for the "generally recognised". I suggest these merely as a discussion point - what do people think? Pfainuk talk 18:20, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm interesting point, whilst the relationship between Palau etc an the USA may be similiar to that of New Zealand and the Cook Islands / Niue i think their recognition at UN level is the key factor here. Palau etc are offical members of the United Nations, the Cook islands / Niue hold no such status despite being involved with a couple of UN agencies. BritishWatcher (talk) 18:34, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
But UN membership is not the key, the question is, could they if they wanted? And what are they calling themselves? Are they saying that they are independent? sephia karta | di mi 21:09, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The associated state article says they are not independent, but that article could of course be wrong. sephia karta | di mi 21:29, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The CIA world factbook lists them but states they are dependent on New Zealand for external affairs and defence. This seems very much like the situation with the British crown dependencies (which are also listed on the CIA world factbook) but appear next to the UK. The justifaction for moving the Cook islands/niue was this list is based on the UN members list and as the two are part of some UN organisations they should be included. But they are NOT recognized UN members like the american examples given previously. The two places had been under New Zealand for a long time with out problem, so i think it should be restored until justification is given for them to be listed as a sovereign state.
I am going to undo all the other pages which were changed today by the same person for the time being so there isnt further edits making it harder to reverse. I wont make the change back on this page yet until more comments and agreement is reached. BritishWatcher (talk) 22:15, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The UN regards Niue and the Cook Islands as non-member states, not as dependent territories. [13] Near as I can tell they're the only areas in the world that have this status. (Holy See is called a permanent observer.)
The United States is responsible for the defense of its associated states as well, [14] [15] [16] so I don't think that's really relevant one way or the other.
I don't know. This is complicated. I think there could be a good case to be made for Niue and the Cook Islands being sovereign. Orange Tuesday (talk) 22:55, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Well i have now reverted all other changes made to different pages in relation to the cook islands/niue, the implications of keeping them on this list as Sovereign States is that it will impact on dozens of other lists so agreement should be reached here before a change to a countries status is made.
The only justification i could see for the change was because they are recognized by the United Nations. There is a huge difference between being a member of the United Nations, being an observer state of the United Nations and just being given a different "title" so they can sit on a couple of UN organisations. In my opinion dependencies / autonomous areas are the closest thing to describe these two places, they are not sovereign states otherwise Jersey and other crown dependencies could be listed as such.
The 3 states with connections to the USA may depend on defence by the USA and similiar issues but they are offical members of the United Nations, unlike the cook islands/niue which make them more like crown dependencies. BritishWatcher (talk) 23:30, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I think there are enough differences between the associated states and the crown dependencies that we can consider them independently. Niue does not necessarily have to have the same status on this list as Jersey does. Orange Tuesday (talk) 00:09, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

(ec) I don't think membership of the United Nations is the significant point. We already have a list of United Nations member states and there seems little reason to make this list into another one. And we do already include 9 states (in the second part of the list) that are not UN members.

Some extracts from the Cook Islands constitution:

  • There shall be a sovereign Parliament for the Cook Islands, to be called the Parliament of the Cook Islands.
  • Except as provided by Act of the Parliament of the Cook Islands, no Act, and no provision of any Act, of the Parliament of New Zealand passed after the commencement of this Article shall extend or he deemed to extend to the Cook Islands as part of the law of the Cook Islands.

Note that this means that the Cook Islands parliament is sovereign (has full control over Cook Islands territory) and holds the right of veto over New Zealand law. I read this as meaning that if the Cook Islands choose to disassociate themselves from New Zealand, New Zealand cannot stop them. The Niue constitution provides similar rules, and both legislatures have the sole right to affect constitutional change.

We define a sovereign state as one that has a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and capacity to enter into relations with the other states. The first three criteria are obviously met, and I would suggest that membership of UN organisations by the Cook Islands and Niue is sufficient to cover the fourth.

So, in my view, these states as sovereign as the three American associated states . If it means putting the Crown Dependencies in (and I don't know whether it would or not), then so be it. I would term these, rather OR-ishly, as non-independent sovereign states. Pfainuk talk 00:19, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

I have returned cook islands / Niue to their original positions (they have been there a long time and only got changed today). This needs an agreement before putting them on the list as a sovereign state as i honestly see no reason why the crown dependencies wouldnt then have to be included as sovereign states as well as others. Whilst this isnt just a list of UN members it is strongly based on it (atleast the main section) and those 3 american states are offical members of the United Nations which is very different to being involved with a couple of UN organisations. I dont have a problem with them being placed underneath the main list (if people feel strongly about this) under another header but they should not be in the main list. They could also be worded better next to New Zealand to make it clear they have far more autonomy than normal dependencies etc.
"and has sovereignty over the associated states of " could be changed to something like and currently responsible for Defence and International Relations of Cook Islands and Niue. BritishWatcher (talk) 00:30, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Foreign Affairs/Defence is a pretty common rule for powers reserved for those administering dependent territories - UK overseas territories are all independent other than in defence and foreign affairs.
I'd like to ask: why does it make such a difference if a country is a member of the UN? Bear in mind that these two are recognised (as "non-member states") by the UN, and that:
  • The Vatican is not a member of the UN
  • Switzerland was not a member of the UN from 1945 to 2002
  • Kiribati became independent in 1979, but was not a UN member state for 20 years
  • Nauru became independent in 1968, but was not a UN member state for 31 years
  • Tonga became independent in 1970, but was not a UN member state for 28 years
  • Tuvalu became independent in 1978, but was not a UN member state for 22 years
  • Mongolia was not a member of the UN from 1945 to 1961 (when Taiwan - sitting as China - finally withdrew its veto)
  • Countries such as Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Finland and Hungary were not members from 1945 to 1955
  • The other way around, Belarus and the Ukraine were UN members from 1945-91 even though they were not sovereign states.
At various times in history, an otherwise-generally-recognised sovereign state has been denied entry due to some political dispute - notably the ROC's refusal to admit Mongolia. At the same time, for most of its existence, the UN has had two non-sovereign states a members. Many states have simply not bothered to join for some time after independence, possibly due to the financial costs of membership or concerns over official neutrality. So I don't think that UN membership (or lack thereof) should, generally speaking, form part of our decision as to whether a state should be included. Pfainuk talk 01:07, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
The United Nations members is the core part of this list, with very few exceptions. There is a difference between independent countries not being able to join the UN, not wanting to join the UN or holding observer status (as Switerzland did before 2002) and those that despite having the option do not have full control of their affairs. "Foreign Affairs/Defence is a pretty common rule for powers reserved for those administering dependent territories " that is very true and this is what makes a dependency, special administritive region or free association different from a true Sovereign State. Is there any country currently listed in the sovereign state main list that doesnt have control of its own military / international affairs except for the 3 states linked with the USA who only get listed because they are offical United Nations member states. If they were not listed as independent member states by the United nations then i would want them next to the United States like Puerto rico. If Cook Islands/Nuie is mentioned as a sovereign state then we will have no choice but to list the Crown Dependencies, and some other territories as sovereign states too and end up with a list far more problematic like the previous list of countries page was. BritishWatcher (talk) 01:39, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Can we put aside the crown dependencies please? They're not the same as the associated states in question, even if there are similarities. We can consider them on their own merits. The crown dependencies aren't considered non-member states by the United Nations, for example. Orange Tuesday (talk) 01:55, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Also, a state does not even have to be an observer state at the UN to be sovereign. Holy See didn't have observer status before 1964, Switzerland didn't have it before 1948, and South Korea didn't have it before 1951. Before then, these were all non-member states, like the Cook Islands and Niue are today. Orange Tuesday (talk) 02:05, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
The crown dependencies have the autonomy to request such status if they wanted. The UK is responsible for the Crown Dependencies foreign affairs and defence which sounds very similiar to the situation with New zealand and the two nations. But it also sounds similiar to dozens of other territories, be it Greenland or Hong Kong. Cook Islands could be a sovereign state tomorrow morning if it chose to, but at present it doesnt. Again the words used to describe the relationship between New Zealand and the nations could be much better worded to clear up how much more independent they are than other territories but if they have to be listed individually, they should be in their own section on this page as they are "non member states" in between the main list an the disputed sovereign states.
The definition of country has been so undermined on wikipedia it is now impossible to have a clear list of countries without having to go into extensive detail about who should be included and who shouldnt. Sovereign States must NOT be allowed to follow the same path into the history books. If they are listed as Sovereign States on this page, then there are over 100 aritlces that need changing. Definitions of what makes a country and state go back through history, especially before the United Nations or league of nations was established. Switzerland was recognized as a country by nations all around the world before 1948, There is not similiar recognition for Niue. Switzerland in 1948 had complete sovereignty, with complete control of its own international affairs and its military, something neither the Cook Islands or Niue have as of today. BritishWatcher (talk) 02:48, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

I think we can all agree that of the two Cook Island / Niue, Cook islands have more claim to the term sovereign state than niue as Cook islands does have limited international recognition, where as niue appears to leave it almost entirely up to New Zealand.

I found this page on the Cook Islands government website, which is fairly interesting and nothing better than hearing it from the horses mouth as they say. BritishWatcher (talk) 03:12, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

A few points here.
Every list we have should define what is included and what is not. This may be self-evident in some cases but in the case of countries it is not. All questions of whether a country is included or not must be framed in terms of the inclusion criteria set out in the article: we should not use any means that is not explicitly stated in the article distinguish between two situations.
I dispute the notion that this list is based on UN membership. It is not. That the vast majority of generally-recognised sovereign states are members of the UN is not entirely a coincidence, but unless we are to define this as a list of UN member states it should be treated as a coincidence. If UN recognition was a defining characteristic for this list then these two would belong on this list anyway, given that the UN considers them to be "non-member states". But given that this list is not based on UN membership, we should not use UN membership as a reason to include Palau but to exclude the Cook Islands.
The major difference between the Cook Islands and Niue, and other cases such as Hong Kong and Greenland is that the Cook Islands and Niue have the right to independence without the assent of the New Zealand government. However freely (or otherwise) assent would be given, Hong Kong and Greenland would require the assent of the Chinese and Danish governments to become independent. However, these states have decided to give New Zealand the right to run their foreign affairs and defence.
You ask: Is there any country currently listed in the sovereign state main list that doesn't have control of its own military / international affairs except for the 3 states linked with the USA who only get listed because they are official United Nations member states?
First, as I say, I dispute the premise of the question. Those three states are not included based on their UN membership, they are included because they meet the criteria for inclusion for this list. These criteria do not guarantee inclusion for UN member states. Historically speaking, UN membership is not limited to sovereign states: Ukraine and Belarus were both non-sovereign member states of the UN for 46 years (1945-91).
Second, yes there are other examples of countries listed that do not control, or have limited control over their defence and/or foreign affairs. Liechtenstein is the obvious example. Famously, the last time the Liechtenstein army went to war before it was disbanded, it arrived back in Liechtenstein with more soldiers than it had left with, having made a friend in Italy. Nowadays, Liechtenstein's defence is the responsibility of Switzerland. Similarly, Andorra's defence is handled by Spain and France. Iceland relies entirely on NATO for its defence. We actually have a list of countries without armed forces which goes through all the countries which have no armed forces.
In terms of foreign affairs, many smaller countries only really have relationships with their neighbours and other influential states internationally, and it is pretty common for a country to represent another in its overseas relationships. A sovereign state as defined by the Montevideo Convention (and therefore as defined by this list) has to have the capacity to enter into relationships with other states. It does not have to actually do so. The Cook Islands clearly do have the capacity to do so - indeed they have done so with individual states. And since the two have the same status it seems fair to consider the two equally.
The Crown Dependencies should be considered separately on their merits. Their situation is not directly equivalent to that of the Cook Islands and Niue and it is entirely plausible that they would not be included while the Cook Islands and Niue are. That said, there should be no reason why we should be unwilling to include them if it can be demonstrated that, in their own particular situation, they meet the Montevideo Convention criteria which define this list. Pfainuk talk 12:29, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
The list may not be based on the UN member states but that is how the criteria is set out. All members of the United Nations + any others that have a right to be considered exceptions and get included on this list. It is for nations, Countries or other entities to prove they are sovereign states rather than having to prove they are not. I accept Cook Islands / Niue have the ability to freely leave their association with New Zealand and if they chose to do that then yes they would be full Sovereign States. However the crown dependencies have just as much ability to become Sovereign States as the cook islands, if the people of Jersey voted to no longer be a crown dependency it would be respected, we just do not have a similiar constitutional agreement as they do.
The cook island government website makes it VERY clear they are not a full sovereign state. "Some legal purists may find this arrangement untidy. Complete sovereign independence or complete dependence are clear and simple concepts and this is neither one thing nor the other." They accept they do not have "Complete Sovereign independence" and they clearly currently have no intention of changing that situation.
""The Cook Islands people, because of their many natural links with New Zealand, have determined to exercise their right of self-government or self-rule or independence -- call it what you will -- but not at this time as a separate, sovereign State." This is clear justification for not allowing the Cook Islands to be considered a Sovereign state. BritishWatcher (talk) 12:54, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, in the Rand McNally Goode's Atlas, the entries in their list of countries are classified as either (A) independent countries, (B) internally independent political entities which are under the protection of another country in matters of defense and foreign affairs, and (C) colonies and other dependent political units. The entries listed under (B) are: Andorra, Anguilla, Aruba, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Netherlands Antilles, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Puero Rico. --Polaron | Talk 14:07, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Sure, and that contains one UN member. I would dispute its accuracy though (why Anguilla but not other BOT's, why not the three UN member states that are associated with the UN).
Looking at this again:

This list derives its definition of a sovereign state from Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933. According to the Convention, a sovereign state should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population, (b) a defined territory, (c) government, and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states. In respect of the last qualification, the role of recognition by other states can often be crucial since it implies acceptance into the international community. The list includes all states that satisfy these criteria and claim independence; however, the aforementioned qualifications are not absolute and permit variations.

(emphasis mine). Now, you've provided evidence that these two do not claim independence from New Zealand, so I suppose really that's the end of it. The issue being not that they are not UN member states (because if they met the other criteria we would have to include them, just as we include the Vatican), but that they do not claim independence. On the other hand, it would appear that the three US associated states do claim independence. Regardless of their UN status (as I say, I would be arguing against including Ukraine and Belarus on this list from 1945-91 when they were UN member states from within the USSR), the claim of independence is the crucial factor. Pfainuk talk 09:56, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you Pfainuk the key factor is if they claim full independence and if they are widely recognised, rather than the point i was trying to make before about their status in the United Nations. That was before i found the website which laid out their position on this issue. I will add a reference to that government website next to their entry so people can easily find it in the future if its questioned again. Sorry for going on a bit before, i get worried about the knock on effect a change on here will have on dozens of the other lists. BritishWatcher (talk) 10:20, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
It is not just a claim independence that is needed it is also recognition by other states. Kalevi Jaakko Holsti Taming the Sovereigns p. 128 makes the point that in 1815 only 39 states were recognised in the European diplomatic system at the end of the Congress of Vienna, and that this firmly established that in future new states would have to be recognised by other powers, meaning primarily the great powers of the day. So this is now close to a 200 year old custom in international relations. --PBS (talk) 11:00, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
The Montevideo Convention - which we cite as the basis for this list - requires capacity for relations with other states, not necessarily actual relations with other states. It also states that statehood is independent of recognition by other states. This list does contain two states that are entirely unrecognised (Somaliland and Nagorno-Karabakh). Pfainuk talk 11:29, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Those "39 states" were only in the German Confederation. Orange Tuesday (talk) 14:16, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Two points I would like to make: First, I agree with Pfainuk that the list does not depend on the UN. Even the UN's is just an opinion, and we want objective criteria. Second: there is a subtle difference between dependencies which have the right to declare independence whenever they want without the consent of their parent state, and actually independent states. The former is what sovereignty meant in the Soviet context, and I think this is the situation that the Cook Islands and Niue are in now.sephia karta | di mi 21:07, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I accept your point about the UN role not being the important factor in the makeup of the list and i agree that the two islands have far more autonomy than any other dependent territory or region but there still has to be a difference between having the ability in law to become a full sovereign state and being one. At the moment they are not a full sovereign state despite having the full rights to choose to become one. The cook islands government website clearly says they are not a fully independent sovereign state yet which seems like a justifaction to me for keeping them off the list. The wording is now also better instead of saying New Zealand has sovereignty over them it simply says it has responsibilities for the two free associated states. BritishWatcher (talk) 22:05, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
In case it was not clear: that is also what I was trying to say. :-)sephia karta | di mi 22:51, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
lol woops, sorry i misread what you said which was very clear yes. :) BritishWatcher (talk) 22:54, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Rewording of the New Zealand entry

One thing this debate has highlighted is the current error in describing New Zealands relationship with Niue, Cook islands and Tokelau. Tokelau is not an associated state like the other two, so perhaps it could be reworded to something like...

Widely recognized member of the UN. New Zealand is a Commonwealth Realm[2] and has responsibility for defence and international affairs of the two free associated states of

  •  Cook Islands. The Cook Islands have received some diplomatic recognition[3]
  •  Niue. Niue only has diplomatic relations with New Zealand.

It has sovereignty over one dependent territory which failed in referendums held in 2006 and 2007 to become the third free associated:

New Zealand also claims sovereignty over parts of Antarctica as:

It could be worded alot better but something like the above would fix the current error. BritishWatcher (talk) 11:53, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest:
...and has responsibilities for the two associated states of: (the Cooks and Niue) and the dependent territory of: (Tokelau)
It's a bit of an awkward one to word (ideally it would describe them as states in free association with New Zealand, though I'm having trouble reversing that to describe the situation from an NZ perspective). I don't strongly object to your wording (except the word failed, which I think is inadvertently POV), but I don't see the need to go into detail - the links are there for anyone who wants to know more. Pfainuk talk 12:13, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
That sounds fine to me, as you say they can read the sources for further information. How is this for the time being?

Widely recognized member of the UN. New Zealand is a Commonwealth Realm[2] and has responsibilities for the two free associated states of:

  •  Cook Islands. The Cook Islands have received some diplomatic recognition[5]
  •  Niue. Niue only has diplomatic relations with New Zealand.

And the dependent territory of:

New Zealand also claims sovereignty over parts of Antarctica as:

BritishWatcher (talk) 12:35, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

I have made the changes, please edit or undo if theres a problem with the changes i made. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:41, 8 December 2008 (UTC)


I've archived talk. The discussion on the Cook Islands and Niue appeared to have reached a natural conclusion, but if anyone has something to add, then by all means retrieve those sections from the archive. Pfainuk talk 23:14, 12 December 2008 (UTC)


Applying the discussion on Cook Islands and Niue, should this country be listed in the main part of the rather than the bottom since the UN definition (One China Policy) does not apply. The People's Republic of China was a sovereign state before 1971 so why isn't Taiwan now, it still functions as a sovereign state including membership in international organizations. Also, should "diplomtic recognition" just include formal recognition or should it also include informal diplomatic ties.--23prootie (talk) 11:17, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Taiwan belongs in the section at the bottom for states lacking general recognition. The main part of the list should only include sovereign states with widespread formal recognition, something Taiwan lacks. China trades and has talks with Taiwan but theres a big difference between that and recognizing /accpeting them. BritishWatcher (talk) 11:56, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
The reason why Taiwan doesn't have widespread recognition is not because countries do not want it to become recognized it but because they are unable to do so (due to the UN's One China Policy). The policy was first applied to the People's Republic of China until 1971 but they were still treated as sovereign at that time. Now, what I am trying to challenge is the assertion in the Cooks Islands and Niue debate that the UN alone does not define what country is sovereign and what is not because here that simply is the case. Or should I say, ignoring the UN (along with its One-China Policy) is Taiwan sovereign?--23prootie (talk) 20:11, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm editing the list of sovereign states in 1949 up to 1971 since the People's Republic of China was not a sovereign country during that period due to the One-China Policy.--23prootie (talk) 20:17, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
The situation with the Cook islands was nothing like the issue of Taiwan. Nobody is disputing if Taiwan is a sovereign state, its simply where it belongs on the list and considering the lack of formal international recognition it clearly doesnt belong in the main list, so must be in the disputed / unrecognied territories. Well done for making the changes to the other pages though, u are right that peoples republic of China shouldnt be listed as a recognized sovereign state before that date. BritishWatcher (talk) 09:44, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

The Taipei government is recognised by more than 20 sovereign states by the name 'Republic of China'. It is also having de facto recognition to many other sovereign states. It therefore do not belong to the category where it is currently placed. If it does not belong to the main category, it shall have its own category. Baksando 17:46, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Each of the states that do not qualify to be in the main sovereign state lists have their own circumstances and some clearly are more recognized and accepted than others, but it would be messy to have several countries in their own categories, far better for them all to remain in a single "other states" list. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:40, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Only states that have general international recognition - which right now is the member states of the UN plus the Vatican City - should go in the top list. Doing otherwise leads to unnecessary conflict. There are several entities on the list of "other states" that are recognised by more countries than Taiwan is - and note that only formal recognition is really useful because only formal recognition can be easily measured. Pfainuk talk 22:48, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Israel, for instance, is only recognised by perhaps half or two thirds of UN member states. Is that 'general international recognition'? Is that an 'other state' then? And what about Niue and the Cook Islands which are by any definition sovereign states despite not having UN membership, as many sovereign states did before 2002? And if formal recognition is really useful then Palestine shall be counted, although it isn't (yet) a sovereign state by any other definition. If UN membership is the best criteria why don't we put all those that are not UN member states in the 'other states' category? (Bear in mind that India was member even before becoming a dominion, and Belorussia and the Ukraine were already members at the time as Soviet republics.) Baksando 23:58, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Your assertion that Israel is only recognised by half to two thirds (so not recognised by somewhere between 64 and 96 UN member states) is simply not true. According to our List of states with limited recognition, the number is 26, comparable with the number that do not recognise the PRC.
I think you've misunderstood me on the UN. This is not a list of UN member states. It just so happens that - with the exception of the Vatican - the states with general recognition are also those with UN membership. It needn't be, but it is. If the situation from 1945-91 were still in place, I would be arguing against including Belarus and Ukraine. We do list all those states that are not generally recognised - Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the TRNC, the ROC, the State of Palestine - in the second part of this list. We have criteria by which we select which countries go in and which do not, below the list.
If the situation from 1945-91 were still in place, I would be arguing against Belarus and Ukraine being on this list, because they didn't consider themselves independent - this being one of the criteria for inclusion given below the list.
The State of Palestine is recognised by half of UN member states, and this could not reasonably be called "general recognition". Pfainuk talk 08:51, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Given the extensive recognition, either formal or de facto, that Taipei receives, I see little reason to mix it into the categories for those seccessionist in nature and enjoys recognition from no or perhaps only 1 or 2 states. Your reasoning regarding Palestine (which applies also to the SADR) fail to illustrate why only formal recognition should be counted but not de facto recognition. A compromise version would perhaps be breaking the 'other states' category into three. One for those that receives formal recognition and/or substantial de facto recognition from more than 10 or 20 sovereign states, one for those that are less or not recognised, and the third category for entities such as Palestine and the SADR. Baksando 11:02, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
My reasoning for Palestine was not intended to illustrate that. It was intended to counter your assertion that Palestine should be included as "generally recognised" based on formal recognition, when half of all states do not recognise it.
The reason why we do not use what you call de facto recognition is because it is difficult to define and even harder to quantify. You could argue that Georgia de facto recognises Abkhazia because it's not going to send troops in. Similarly Serbia and Kosovo. But that would defy common sense. Indeed, I would suggest that de facto recognition is a contradiction in terms. Recognition is a legal concept: it is the legal acceptance that a state exists. You cannot legally accept the existance of a country in practice but not in law - the notion contradicts itself.
Breaking the other states list up is asking for trouble. You argue for division based on pure numbers. Others will argue for division based on whether any member of the P5 recognises a state (this happened when one of the lists was divided at List of states with limited recognition). Others will argue based on exactly how many countries recognise - should the cut-off be one or ten? They're all states that are not recognised by a very substantial proportion of other states and it makes far more sense to put them all together. Pfainuk talk 11:18, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
I did not assert that Palestine should be included as 'generally recognised' based on formal recognition. I just used it as an example to counter your assertion that formal recognition is reliable. The de facto recognition Taipei enjoy is to the extent that other sovereign states have de facto embassies and consulates in Taipei and major cities like Kaohsiung, and the passports that Taipei issue are recognised in most countries. Abkhazians and South Ossetians, e.g., travel on Russian passports as far as I know. It is therefore not appropriate to mix entities like the 'Republic of China' and Kosovo with the rest in the list of 'other states'. Baksando 01:02, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
And I didn't say that formal recognition was reliable, I said it was useful. And I gave a reason why I thought it was useful - that it's the only measure of recognition that can be reliably measured. For example, most of the "other states" have representative offices in the major capitals of the world. Is that "de facto recognition"? What about Quebec and New Brunswick's membership of the Francophonie, and France's consulate-general in Quebec, which is formally accredited to the Quebec government? Is that "de facto recognition"? This concept is completely unquantifiable - thus, any attempt to use it is likely to be OR, and is likely to be seen by many as POV. I see no upside and rather significant downsides here. Pfainuk talk 17:35, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

New Discussion

A discussion has been started at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries/Lists of countries which could affect the inclusion criteria and title of this and other lists of countries. Editors are invited to participate. Pfainuk talk 11:10, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Positioning of EU, SMOM and so on

An anon wants me to discuss this.

At the moment this list starts off with a nice list of specific entities that are not included before the actual list. This is quite ridiculous. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to start a list of sovereign states with a list of entities that are not included in the list, before doing the list itself. It makes far more sense to put them after the list, and I made an edit to that effect. Is there any objection to this edit beyond the fact that I didn't put something on talk first (the objection in the edit summary)? Pfainuk talk 21:48, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

It's under "Criteria for inclusion", and it's out side of the list. This section is a summary, of what is included, and whats not included, EU, Antarctica and SMOM, are the few oddballs, that are hard to categorize, and need extra explanation, it would be bizare to separate it from "Criteria for inclusion" . Further more, "Other states" are not included in the list either, so "Entities not included", is not good enough. So that "Criteria for inclusion" stays consistent, it should mention the oddballs, and to have them in more detail, in there own section.-- (talk) 00:33, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

"Criteria for inclusion" Antarctica, the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta are noteworthy but unlisted, because they do not possess all the qualifications in the Montevideo Convention.

"Not included but noteworthy entities"

  • Sovereign Military Order of Malta one entity, a UN observer member, recognized by 96 states, but with extraterritorial areas within Rome is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
  • European Union The European Union, a sui generis supranational organization which currently has 27 member countries. The member countries transferred part of their legislative, executive, and judicial powers to the institutions of the EU; therefore, it has some characteristics of a sovereign state, without generally being considered a sovereign state.
  • AntarcticaParts of Antarctica are claimed by a few nations.
I agree its odd that there is a huge list of entities that are not included ABOVE the main list itself and those disputed sovereign states simply get listed again after the main list as well. The intro should make it clear what is and is not included in the main list but does not have to detail every single one of them, it should simply link to the correct section.
I also dont like the description ""Not included but noteworthy entities" BritishWatcher (talk) 11:41, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
These three are not part of the criteria for inclusion.
The point of the criteria for inclusion is that they define the purpose of the list. Entities that meet the criteria go on the list. Those that do not, do not. The EU (fails 1-2/5 criteria), Antarctica (fails 3-4/5) and SMOM (fails 1/5) unambiguously do not meet the criteria, and the fact that they do not meet the criteria is not changed by the fact that they are mentioned in the article. Those entities are not exceptions to the criteria. They are entities that do not meet the criteria that the editors of the article have decided are noteworthy. The criteria are not more consistent with these three there. If anything, they are less consistent, in that this means that the list starts off with a list of entities that the criteria say shouldn't be included on the list.
The "Other states" are not states that do not meet the criteria. They are states that meet the criteria set out but that do not meet the additional criterion for the first part of the list (general international recognition). The "other states" are part of the list, they've just been separated off.
Put them at the end of the list, in a section entitled "entities not included" or "notes", and we don't have the mad situation of starting a list with a long and detailed list of entities that are not included on the list - the EU and SMOM are hardly the only states in the world that only fail one or two of the criteria (for example, most local governments have territory, population and government and so meet 3/5). Pfainuk talk 11:56, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Like several special entities the EU is included and explained in the section "Criteria for inclusion". Moving the whole section does not make sense as this is a useful addition to the defintion of so called souvereignity. The definition and its examples come first not last. all the best Lear 21 (talk) 17:51, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Lear21 you say "Like several special entities the EU is included and explained in the section "Criteria for inclusion" " but thats the problem. The European Union is NOT meant to be included on this list, its meant to be noted as an entity NOT included, unlike the 193 sovereign states / 10 unrecognized ones.
The European Union is not a sovereign state, it could be mentioned before the list if it says "This list does not include micronations and other entities such as the European Union or it can be listed separetly underneath the main list. The European Union does not meet the criteria required to be "included" BritishWatcher (talk) 18:01, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
The European Union is a sovereign state. Its political organization is fundamentally identical to the political organization of the United States of America in 1789. It is a sovereign state comprised of sovereign states which have agreed to form a federation, a common economic bloc with common currency, and a common defense infrastructure. To say that the EU is not a state is to say that the USA is not a state. It is an absurdity. -- (talk) 02:09, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec) If that list is there to illustrate the sorts of entries that do not belong on this list, then why, out of all the non-sovereign entities in the world, use what are possibly the three least representative such entities? Africa, Niue, Oklahoma, Río Negro, Büsingen am Hochrhein, Halluin and Riccall would all illustrate the point better. And if that's the reason, why do we not tell the readers why these entries are not included on the list?
How is their inclusion a useful addition to the definition of "sovereignty" in this list? They are not part of the definition because they are separated off. They are not examples of states that don't meet the criteria because the article doesn't explain the reasoning for not including them. They are not borderline cases to be used as precedent because no credible argument could be made that any of these three entities meets the criteria that have just been given.
And how on earth does it make sense to have our readers wade through a potentially very long list of entities not included in the list before they are allowed to get at the list itself? Pfainuk talk 18:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Strongly disagree to this proposal. The reader should understand the criteria of inclusion in the list beforehand, and should not wade through the very end of the article to understand the composure of the actual list, and than wade up again to the top of the list. In context of the similar discussion regarding List of countries and outlying territories by total area, I suspect that the true agenda for this proposal is to move the EU entry out of sight to the very end of the article. The result of that potential change can be seen here: [17]. The information of the initial section of the article was moved even after the references/sources section and additionally the flags were removed - To me, that shows to true intend here. Cheers, MikeZ (talk) 11:18, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

How on earth does listing these three entities and goodness knows what else before the list aid in the reader's understanding of the criteria of inclusion? What role do they play in the criteria for inclusion? You accuse editors of agendas, but you fail to explain what exactly they're doing there. I note that whereas I am mentioning all three - because I want to move all three - you focus in on the EU.
As I said above, they are not examples of states that don't meet the criteria because the article doesn't explain the reasoning for not including them - if they were we could use far better examples than the EU, Antarctica and the SMOM. They are not borderline cases to be used as precedent because no credible argument could be made that any of these three entities meets the criteria that have just been given. You have conveniently ignored both of these points.
What I want is these three removed to below the list - like this - so that we are not in the crazy position of starting a list of sovereign states with a potentially limitless list of entities that are not sovereign states. This is not a secret. I'm not pretending that I want anything else. You say there is an agenda to move the EU entry out of sight. If the USA was listed at the top, above Afghanistan, and I tried to move it to its proper position alphabetically, would you accuse me of having an agenda to move it out of sight? What I want is for the three entities on the list of sovereign states that are not sovereign states not to be given precedence over the 200-odd entities that are sovereign states (at least de facto). Pfainuk talk 11:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Since no-one has chosen to explain how on earth these three constitute part of the inclusion criteria of this list, I can only conclude that my arguments are accepted and that they do not. Thus I am moving them back to the bottom of the list. Pfainuk talk 23:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

We alredy answered above, you are being dense.-- (talk) 20:12, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

We do not welcome personal attacks here: please withdraw. You will, I assume, be able to provide me with a diff in which you explain the specific role that you claim the EU, SMOM and Antarctica plays in defining how entities are included in this list, giving examples of entities that would have to be included or excluded assuming that the inclusion criteria as given in this version were used.
If you have not done so, and I cannot find any evidence that you have done, I would ask you also to withdraw the first part of your sentence. However, I would invite you to explain this. They are clearly not there to be given as examples of borderline cases to be left off because they all clearly fail the criteria. They are clearly not there to be given as examples of entities that fail the criteria because they are possibly the least representative such entities on the planet. So exactly what role do they play, and (given that all three clearly fail the criteria) how would the list have to be changed if this version was used?
In the absence of such explanation, the only conclusion available to us is that these entities do not form any meaningful part of the inclusion criteria - that they make no difference to the composition of the list - and that as such their only purpose is as an undefined list of entities not included in the list, given precedence over the list itself. Pfainuk talk 20:26, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

We say that these are the only special cases minignfull of mentioning. You respond that we should start adding AU +.... .We say no only these three. We say in the definition, it would be strange not to mention the border line cases in the definition. You respond, that they fail the criteria so they should be removed. You are being extreamly strict with the definition, we argue that we shouldn't. The discusion has made a full circle, we are not going to agree, simply stating that you still disagree, it's not going to change the fact that we are not going to agree. And again, no it's not how discusses the longer wins. You have nothing new to restart the discussion. For the last time, you are being extremely strict, we are not extremely strict, dead end.-- (talk) 21:22, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Curiously, there's no record of this long back-and-forth discussion on this talk page, nor in the edit history. Curiously, I cannot remember any such discussion ever having taken place. Unless you can prove it, I'm afraid I must assume it never happened. If your intention is simply to refuse to discuss but just to edit war, I'm afraid you can only expect to be blocked and for the article to be protected or semi-protected.
You say these are borderline cases. But all three entirely unambiguously fail at least one of the five criteria stated in the article.
  • Antarctica unambiguously fails three of the five criteria for inclusion (government, capacity for external relations and claim of independence), and is borderline at best on a fourth (population).
  • The European Union unambiguously fails one of the five criteria for inclusion (claim of independence) and is ambiguous on a second (capacity for external relations).
  • The SMOM unambiguously fails one of the five criteria for inclusion (territory).
If we accept that these are all borderline cases, then the list of borderline cases can include every inhabited island, city, town, village, farmhouse, organisation, company or club on the planet. All fifty US states, all 13 provinces and territories of Canada, and so on, are as close or closer to the borderline than the EU (since they are ambiguous on capacity for external relations and do not claim independence).
You have given no basis to say that, say, Louisiana is less meaningful to mention than the EU, and you've given us no reason to assume that this is not based solely on your own prejudices. In which case, why shouldn't the fifty states of the US, the countries of the UK or wherever else be included based on someone else's prejudices? Wikipedia does not work according to its editors' prejudices, it works - as far as possible - to objectively verifiable criteria. Yes, the inclusion criteria should be applied strictly, because the only line we can objectively draw is by interpreting the inclusion criteria - that is the whole point in having inclusion criteria. You say that we shouldn't be strict - but you do not say why we shouldn't. Again, I can only assume it's because you want the EU listed as a "sovereign state", regardless of what the inclusion criteria say.
Nonetheless, I note that I am willing to keep these three in the article. But these are not borderline cases as you claim, and therefore your argument that "it would be strange not to mention the border line cases in the definition" is irrelevant to this discussion. I note that you have still not given specific examples of entities that would, or would not, have to be included on the list assuming this version. Is it fair to assume that this is because it makes no difference? Pfainuk talk 22:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

This is your straw man again. Antartica, only territory that belongs to no one. EU is suigeneris. SMOM has no teritory, but is sovereign. Your examples are just administrative divisions.-- (talk) 02:15, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

In your response, you do not appear to dispute the fact that these three fail the inclusion criteria quite unambiguously - and thus that they are not borderline cases in any way. You have not given any example of how you assert the list would be different based on inclusion criteria that exclude the EU, SMOM and Antarctica - presumably because it would be exactly the same and because the list-before-the-list forms no meaningful part of the inclusion criteria. Given that I am willing to accept these three on the article (below the main lists), this is the more important part of the discussion and one you entirely fail.
Nonetheless, I will point out that you have not given any objective justification as to why these particular entities that fail the inclusion criteria should be included in the list-before-the-list while others that fail the inclusion criteria are not. You say that "[y]our examples are just administrative divisions". So what? In terms of the five inclusion criteria listed in the article, the EU meets three and is ambiguous on a fourth. Louisiana also meets three and is ambiguous on a fourth. Quebec meets three and is ambiguous on a fourth. The UN meets three and is ambiguous on a fourth. The three criteria met are the same in each case, and the fourth that is ambiguous is also the same for each entity.
Finally, your notion that Antarctica belongs to no-one is POV. Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the UK all claim territory on Antarctica, and several of these states recognise one another's claims. In the context of this list, including Antarctica is like including Africa or Asia - except that, given that they have permanent populations, Africa and Asia meet more of the criteria. Pfainuk talk 12:30, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

EU, SMOM and Antarctica, are not administrative divisions, theres something pathological with all three. This is why they are included. As you pointed out in your arguments, it's not immediately obvious why they fail the criteria, this is why they are mentioned in the inclusion criteria, all other entities fail in a standard way. It is miningfull to mention the very anomalous situations. The three are anomalous, all the rest fail in a standard way, this is why they get included and all the rest no. This is the argument. EU suigeneris, by definition, the only one in the class, SMOM sovereign but with no teritory, Antartica, they are claims but they are frozen, they don't press ahaid anymore with the claims, but didn't abandon them ither, only teritory in the world that has this status, even one peace, no one is claiming it. I'm really getting tired with your POV pushing, because what you are doing is just that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The European Union is not a sovereign state and its not an unrecognized / disputed sovereign state there for it does NOT belong on this article at all. Please get over this, no justification has even been made for the EUs inclusion other than a debate had a year ago on this issue which is no longer valid. This article has strict criteria, the EU doesnt meat it there for it doesnt belong on the list.. it really is that simple. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
EU is suigeneris, and is mentioned as such in the definition, there is no new counsesus 3 editors wan't status quo, 3 wan't to change.-- (talk) 19:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The European Union is not a sovereign state and its not a disputed / unrecognized sovereign state. I am sorry but i have yet to see a single reason why it belongs on the article AT ALL. Inclusion underneath the main list seemed like a good compromise, but placing it above the list is clearly strongly opposed by some editors here. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:56, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
What part of suigeneris you don't understand?-- (talk) 19:59, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The part which says suigeneris or the European Union is a sovereign state or disputed / unrecognized sovereign state. Im sorry but it really is that simply. Now when it comes to "country lists" this EU issue is more acceptable and i agree it can remain underneath the main list. However this isnt a list of countries it is a list of SOVEREIGN STATES again please explain to me where the EU is a sovereign state? BritishWatcher (talk) 20:02, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
You appear to have entirely misinterpreted my comments. It is obvious that the EU, SMOM and Antarctica fail the inclusion critiera. The EU does not claim to be an independent sovereign state. So it fails. Antarctica has no government. So it fails. The SMOM has no territory. So it fails. None of this is controversial.
The only one of the three that is truly anomalous in terms of the inclusion criteria is the SMOM. The only difference - based on the inclusion criteria - between the EU and (say) the UN is the degree to which there is capacity for relations with other states. Both have this capacity - but in both cases it could be argued that the capacity derives solely from the member states acting together rather than in concert. Since neither claims to be an independent sovereign state, this is not relevant in determining whether the EU belongs on this list or not in any case.
Antarctica is a continent. The inclusion criteria don't mention the Antarctic Treaty. They mention population, government, territory, capacity to enter into relations with other states and a claim of independence. Based on the inclusion criteria, the Antarctic Treaty is irrelevant. Based on the inclusion criteria, the only difference between Antarctica and Africa is that the existence of a permanent population on Antarctica is arguable.
You keep saying the EU is sui generis, but this is irrelevant. Indeed, that it is sui generis is a good argument against inclusion because that means that - among other things - it is not a sovereign state. Note that you are, as I have said several times before, welcome to come up with a reliable source (such as an EU treaty) that defines the EU as a single sovereign state.
I finally note that you accuse me of POV pushing. This is ironic, because you're the one whose sole purpose on Wikipedia appears to be to try and make it look like the EU is a sovereign state. I would hold the same position if it were only the SMOM or Antarctica. The only difference appears to be that if it were only the SMOM or Antarctica, no-one would have argued. Pfainuk talk 00:24, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Ok, this is enough,i alredy said my view, these three are the oddballs and should be mentioned in the definition, they are always oddballs in everything. 3 editors are of my opinion, and 3 editors are of your opinion, this is not a new consensus, so old consensus remains. You can not change the article. Convince first Lear 21 and Michael Zimmermann.-- (talk) 07:10, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

It's impossible to communicate with people who don't respond. But that's OK, because silence implies consent. Despite your canvassing, Michael's last comment here was 4 January, and Lear's was 29 December. I don't mind discussing things with them if they choose to return - asking once again what practical difference you and they contend these three make to the inclusion criteria. But you can't use people who are not active in the discussion as a filibuster. It doesn't work like that.
Why do you think that "oddballs and should be mentioned in the definition"? You haven't justified this position in any way, you've just stated it. And in any case, those sovereign states that don't meet the inclusion criteria - and there are fifty fairly prominent examples - surely have rather more claim to oddball status on a list of sovereign states than those entities that are not sovereign states but that users happen to like. Pfainuk talk 11:40, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not willing to accept the precise version proposed by 217.112 last night because I think it needs to be much clearer that these are not sovereign states and do not claim to be sovereign states. We must not imply that the EU, Antarctica and the SMOM are sovereign states. Particularly in the case of the EU, this is necessary to maintain NPOV. That's not to say we can't work something out on a similar basis, but it should be clear almost without reading the text that the EU, SMOM and Antarctica are not sovereign states for the purposes of this list.
We also need to define how it is decided what entries go on to this small list at the bottom and which do not. The reasoning must be stated in the article. The vague comment I've left isn't really good enough because without some reasonably concrete definition of "noteworthy" and "significant measure of sovereignty" these are far from the only three entities that could be included - and in any case, Antarctica doesn't have a "significant measure of sovereignty" - it has less sovereignty than most villages.
My second issue is that the EU entry gave a bit of an essay on the precise extent of EU policy. IMO this went into far too much detail - we have the article European Union and people are quite able to refer to it. We only have entries that long on the main list when dealing with dependent territories, and the EU entry did not include any such list. Pfainuk talk 13:17, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't have time to fully engage in this discussion, but I agree with Pfainuk and Britishwatcher that no good reason has been provided why the European Union should not be placed towards the bottom of this list together with Antartica, the SMOM etc. And for the record, I'm not British. sephia karta | di mi 14:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

What about removing "Other states" and "Unlisted noteworthy entities"? They all fail the criteria.-- (talk) 17:12, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The "other states" generally do meet the criteria. They all have governments, populations, territories, capacity for relations with other states (indeed, most have some recognition) and all claim indepedence. They tick all the boxes. They just don't meet the sixth criterion at the top of the "Internationally recognized sovereign states" - that of general international recognition.
I have no problem with removing the "unlisted noteworthy entities", which do fail the criteria. Pfainuk talk 17:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
So, "Other states" fail the criteria. This is what you just said.-- (talk) 22:06, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
No, I said the opposite. According to the article, an entity must meet all of the following five criteria to be included:
  • Population
  • Territory
  • Government
  • Capacity to enter into relations with other states (international recognition being a useful, but not essential, indicator of this)
  • Declaration of independence
All of the "other states" meet these criteria, with the possible exception of the Palestinian Territories as discussed in a section above.
Now, the list does split those entities with general international recognition from those without. But that isn't mentioned in the criteria for inclusion because it isn't used to determine whether an entity is included, only to determine which side of the division of the list the entity belongs on.
But if we're going to discuss this, let's discuss this. Your new version does not solve the issues I raised - the essay on the EU, the lack of definition of what is included. It does make it clearer that these are not sovereign states, but in a way that fails MOS standards WP:MOSBOLD and WP:HEAD - and generally looks rather unprofessional. I've removed that section altogether per your earlier suggestion. Pfainuk talk 00:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Pfainuk, sephia karta et al. These three are better placed in a section at the bottom. --PBS (talk) 09:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Mount Athos

Is there any particular reason why Mount Athos is not mentioned at the Greece entry? The List of autonomous areas by country article does mention it. Kószab (talk) 02:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Abkhazia & S. Ossetia

Abkhazia and S. Ossetia do not fit the qualification to be under the sovereign state section, they, like Kosovo, Transinistira, etc. should be listed under the other state column.


Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdneistr and Kosovo are all treated in the same way - as de facto sovereign states that do not have general recognition. There are pointers to them in the first list, but their main entries are in the second. Pfainuk talk 22:14, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Orphaned references in List of sovereign states

Resolved: Antarctica reference has been fixed. Pfainuk talk 13:21, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of List of sovereign states's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "cia":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 02:43, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Israeli occupations

Jayjg was right when he writes in the edit history "um, actually, the occupations are indeed "internationally recognized" - it's Israel that insists it is not occupying" of this edit. The occupations are internationally recognised as military occupations the community does not recognise Israel's unilateral annexation of some of the areas. see Military occupation#Disputed to be a military occupation by the nation of military dominance in an area for more on this. --PBS (talk) 14:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Move "Criteria for inclusion" to below the two lists

Moved from the section [#Positioning of EU, SMOM and so on]]

I agree with Pfainuk, sephia karta et al. These three are better placed in a section at the bottom. I would go further and move the "criteria for inclusion" to the bottom as well and make the "Unlisted noteworthy entities" a sub section of that. The criteria for inclusion is not much more than a large footnote, and If I were printing this out or linking to it from another site then I would not want that information cluttering up the head of the list because I would have followed the URL to see a list of sovereign states, and not a list of what are not sovereign states! As is at the moment, I would have a page and a half of hard copy at the start of the article which contains information of marginal interest to those who want a list of sovereign states. --PBS (talk) 09:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I'll go for that. The MOS says that inclusion criteria have to go in the lead (per WP:STAND#Lead and selection criteria), but I think in practice that, provided that a basic outline goes in the lead, we aren't IAR-ing too much by putting the detail below the list. The sort of basic outline I was thinking of is something like "sovereign states that claim independence, whether internationally recognised or not, based on the criteria outlined in the section #Criteria for inclusion". Pfainuk talk 10:19, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
The section is not the lead, but there is no reason why there should not be an internal link at the start of the list

see the section "criteria for inclusion" for the criteria used to determine the contents of this list.

I would also move the sentence "The listing or placement of any entity in this article is not meant to imply an official position in any dispute." from the section "criteria for inclusion" to below the above wording at the start of the list.
Any objections to theses changes? --PBS (talk) 18:25, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
No objections - sounds sensible. sephia karta | di mi 19:22, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
OK. Pfainuk talk 19:33, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Sovereign states within the United States

I know this idea is nonsensical, but a number of states with republican majorities are declaring themselves one of these entities, which appears to be a half step towards outright seccession, or the Articles of Confederation, depending upon your point of view. Palin was apparently not joking when she said this the other day in response to the North Korean missile launch. How should we deal with this topic within wikipedia? A separate article perhaps? Thegreatdr (talk) 10:54, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Palin, who sez she don't need no stinkin' forin polisee, she kin see Rusha from hur front porch? I'm sorry, but this does not deserve an article, let's not propagate pulpiteering polemics as having basis in fact. States and commonwealths have always had particular sovereign rights within the United States, that's nothing new or worthy of a separate article for speculation that it's more than it is. PetersV       TALK 15:29, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
While I would otherwise agree, a total of 28 states have passed bills lately that, on the face of it, appear to support the 10th amendment to the Constitution, with Alaska passing their version only a few days ago. However, the wording regarding their individual interpretation of the tenth amendment makes this idea of a sovereign state within the US lead towards a route of secession. I did a little research earlier, and there is enough information for an article on this disturbing trend. Thegreatdr (talk) 03:55, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
All constitutent states of a federation are by definition sovereign within the constraints of the federation. That does not make them "sovereign states" within the meaning of that term in international law. The crucial difference is that their sovereignty is by law partly ceded in part to the nation-state, a cession which they cannot at their own liberty undo. If Alaska was in free association with the United States, it would be able to unquestionably and legally secede from the union at any time - which it cannot do. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 07:04, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
For the purposes of this list we go a little further than that - more than a theoretical right to secession, this list requires that a state actually considers itself to be an independent state. So, for example, Niue and the Cook Islands are both in free association with New Zealand but consider themselves dependent on New Zealand, so they are not included.
Defining right to secession as a defining characteristic of a sovereign state leads to counterintuitive results. Here we list Austria, Ethiopia, France, Singapore and St. Kitts and Nevis as including the right to secession either explicitly or implicitly in their constitutions. Historically, they are not the only ones. And of course a de jure right to secession does not necessarily imply that secession is likely to any easier to achieve in practice - compare the experiences of Slovakia (with no constitutional right to secession) and Croatia (which used its constitutional right as a means to secede) for example. Pfainuk talk 17:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd just like to say that this is bound to be biased as using the United Nations of Grounds of Recognizing Sovereingty is wholey political rather than factual. Also if using "international law" a different set could be defined. Likewise the issue of micro states, and pseudo states is introduced. A clear criteria should exist and it does not. For instance I am a self recognized sovereign who hold non divisible right, and thus hold soverignty. Intracircumcordei is a soveirgn state. Most people will go but its not old and doesn't have a military to defend itself or other things we expect like passports and citizenship ids and taxes, and land that it owns. Fact is that is not what a sovereign state is, and you should instead term this Political National Governments - something wholely different then a sovereignty. Fact is most of the countries mentioned are NOT sovereignties, the are assumpitive oligacratic dictatorships that have created class divisions and do not have judges adjudicate on a case by case basis the deprivation of rights of its citizens. The idea is not that these "states" are sovereign but that groups by use of militant force oppress others. At best most of these are unorganized instances who try to legitimize use of force in oppression on grounds of right, which does not truely exist unequally. Any true sovereign state is one which is founded on the grounds of equality and truth, not abjuration lies and oppression. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:57, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

You are implying that national sovereignty has something to do with human rights, or moral obligations or whatnot. This is not the case. Wiktionary describes national sovereignty as The state of making laws and controlling resources without the coercion of other nations. Any Country as commonly accepted follows that limitation, be it a dictatorship like Myanmar, or a democracy like Switzerland or the United States, or even a kingdom like Saudi Arabia. Sovereignty is not a moral issue, but a political one. While your point, that it is wrong for most nations to operate the way they do, may be valid, this list is not the correct place to argue this. --Astrofreak92 (talk) 20:59, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Scrap this list too

Why don't we scrap this list too and rely on the List of UN member states, given that there have been endless quarrels around which are qualified as countries or as sovereign states and which are not? Baksando 00:01, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

We have a list of United Nations member states We could merge the two list, but at the moment this one also covers territories over which the state has suzerainty which are details that a reader looking for a simple list of UN member state does not want to see by default. --PBS (talk) 08:41, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
If I look at the List of UN member states, I'd expect to see when the member states join the UN. But I'd also want to see which territories they are taking care of, because it lets me know in what way these territories are part of the UN. For those sovereign states with 'debatable' status and lacking UN membership, there are already many other lists on Wikipedia, e.g., List of states with limited recognition. 'List of sovereign states' can be a redirect to List of UN member states and those many other lists. Baksando 10:55, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
I really don't think we need to go too deep into the constitutional relationship between The Crown and the Commonwealth realms and the Crown dependencies, in an article on the United Nations. That way leads to brain freeze because the simple working model of the world as sovereign nations, like Newtonian physics, works well providing one does not look too deeply, but like the theory of relativity the real working model is much more complicated (and is not needed for most practical applications). Consequently I think it is better if the UN list is kept as simple as possible. --PBS (talk) 19:27, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
There are many states that could be considered sovereign not in the United Nations, most notably Vatican City, which has diplomatic recognition from almost all countries. Historically, many internationally recognized sovereign nations, like Switzerland, San Marino, and Monaco were not members of the United Nations, and situations like this could still occur in the future. A sovereign state, even when sovereignty is limited to Recognized states, is not necessarily a UN member, and scrapping this list in favor of the UN Member list is inappropriate.--Astrofreak92 (talk) 20:49, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Totally agree with Astrofreak, and the point made about Switzerland is an important one. Strongly oppose any change to the current setup of the different articles on countries / sovereign states, consensus was reached months ago and all have been stable since that point, compared to huge arguments that broke out previously. The only change that may be justified is expanding the introduction on this page a bit to mention the main alternative country lists (UN member states / unrecognized states etc). BritishWatcher (talk) 20:55, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
I also agree. There is great benefit in having a list of sovereign states, and there is a clear distinction between UN member states and sovereign states. The UN is a political body, which has a POV. Its list of member states is not a useful proxy for sovereign states, because (as Baksando has pointed out in other discussions) not all sovereign states are members (the Vatican now, Switzerland pre-2002 being good examples) and not all members have historically been sovereign states (and Belarus and Ukraine from 1945-91 are the obvious ones). Pfainuk talk 21:40, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
There were separate lists. One for countries that provides only the full names of the countries, one for sovereign states that provides further details such as constitutional relationships, etc., and one for UN member states with the joining dates and other UN-relevant details. The List of countries worked well despite tiring attempts from seccessionists in different parts of the world and disagreement on specific issues like Scotland. The criteria was also objective in the sense that it covers only recognised sovereign states, de facto sovereign states, and inhabited dependent territories. The current setup fails, however, to convey the point of view that inhabited dependent territories are almost always counted as countries and presented as such on lists of countries in and outside Wikipedia. If the List of countries should be scrapped and dependent territories can be forgotten, I see no reason not to scrap this list too. And it is indeed amusing to see that you put the flag of Hong Kong in the list of countries you have visited [18], while you insist the point of view that country = sovereign state. Baksando 00:22, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
The UN list is specifically related to the UN. This one isn't. There is, IMO, great benefit in a list of sovereign states that isn't tied to a political body that has its own political POV.
I've never insisted that "country = sovereign state". I've said that this is a common definition, sure - it is - but I've also recognised that there are others. Repeatedly.
This list is not billed as a list of countries, so many of your comments are irrelevant. The problem with the other list was that the criteria assumed one universal definition of the word "country" where such a thing simply doesn't exist. Any list of countries that purports to be a definitive list of countries will fall into that trap. But this list does not purport to be a definitive list of countries. It is a list of sovereign states.
"List of countries" redirects here, sure - that's because this is a list of entities that meets a common definition of the word "country". Not the only definition possible, but a common enough definition that redirecting is the most appropriate course of action. If it's not what people are looking for, that's what the links are for. I don't think anyone has objected to a reasonable rewording of the lead, but there is no reason at all to scrap this list.
The box on my user page does not purport to be a definitive list of countries, and I make it quite clear what criteria I use. I chose those criteria because they makes sense in the context of international travel. This discussion is not taking place in the context of international travel, thus that box is irrelevant. Pfainuk talk 18:05, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Generally agree with Astrofreak92. But I'd also work to point out that even though all UN member states after 1992 are normally recognised as sovereign states, some certain ones do not fulfill all criteria as sovereign states despite recognised as such. Those that have entered into CFAs with the US are typical examples. And Iceland was also a marginal case when it relied militarily almost entirely on the US. Baksando 00:22, 27 April 2009 (UTC)