Relations among Commonwealth countries form some of the longest positive unions in the modern international arena. Today, each and every single Commonwealth country maintains permanent diplomatic ties with at least one other Commonwealth country. Formal customs which originate from the time of the British Empire have remained in favour amongst member countries. Diplomatic missions between Commonwealth member countries, for instance, continue to be styled as ‘high commissions’ and not embassies, and heads of foreign missions are ‘high commissioners’. Naturally, some of the oldest Commonwealth members the United Kingdom, India, Canada, South Africa and Australia host and post the most high commissions.
Commonwealth countries have maintained lasting relationships with their regional neighbours. In Europe a dense network of embassy exchanges exists between the United Kingdom, Malta and Cyprus and their non-Commonwealth counterparts, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and many others. Now the countries to some extent exist under one common political, economic and legal formation, the Europe Union (EU). In the rest of the Commonwealth, member countries of influential regional groupings – SADC, CARICOM, EAC and PIF – exchange many embassies and high commissions. Incidentally, such groupings are almost exclusively Commonwealth in terms of composition. Such strong Commonwealth influences have been key to the membership of the Commonwealth’s newest entrants Mozambique (1995) and Rwanda (2009), countries which were never British colonies.
Many Commonwealth countries enjoy reciprocal (non-regional) diplomatic ties with the US, Germany, China, France, Japan, the EU and the rest of the world with embassies and missions in Washington DC, Paris, Beijing, Berlin, Tokyo and Brussels. There are of course many permanent missions of Commonwealth countries at the UN in New York and Geneva, Switzerland.