Wikipedia:Formatting bilateral relations articles

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All bilateral relations articles should have a standard format when it comes to article presentation. The article content in itself such as the title of section headings can vary, but for the information, templates, categories, and images, all must be relevant to the topic at hand. While the latter is clearly obvious when it comes to basic editing and manual of style, what isn't mentioned for bilateral relations is the style of presentation can be beneficial for editing and reading providing an easier way to obtain information.

Every bilateral relations article should pass basic notability. Basic notability for foreign relations articles is mainly whether the two countries have recognition of one another. Form of recognition is through countries having diplomatic posts such as Embassies, Consulates, and representatives known as ambassadors established and/or appointed. If the countries have or are going to establish relations, then notability passes. If relations don't exist, there are no diplomatic missions, ambassadors, or direct exchanges between leaders of the two nations, then it doesn't pass notability. However, notability can pass if two countries don't have relations. There are two ways notability can pass with this factor. Countries that don't have official relations, but maintain contact and have held direct talks (e.g. Bhutan–United States relations). Another is the history between two nations whether positive or negative, usually negative, as in the case of articles such as Armenia–Turkey relations or Israel's relationship with mostly Arab and Muslim majority countries (e.g. Afghanistan–Israel relations, Israel–Yemen relations).

Once notability is established or met, then formating the article begins. This essay and its content is not about information relating to bilateral relations, just the formatting that displays the basic information relating to it.

The first thing to remember is that every bilateral relations article is titled in alphabetical format. The first country's name is followed by the em dash (–), then the second country's name, followed by "relations" at the end.


At the very top when editing or creating the article should be the infobox, Infobox bilateral relations. Now the infobox is not the standard infobox seen across many articles. The infobox is in the following format using the example of Bahrain–United States relations:

Two left curly brackets, then the words Infobox bilateral relations. Using the example of Bahrain and the United States, Bahrain–United States, which automatically displays the article title above the infobox, followed by the names of both countries separated by the vertical bar (|), Bahrain then United States. The names of the countries will automatically display the flags of the countries. Lastly, the map should be the full name of the file and what type of file it is, JPEG, SVG, etc. The image file will automatically highlight the countries and their location on the map if a map exists. If a map doesn't exist, it is still okay to have the map section of the infobox in case a map was to be created. Now, if the countries have embassies, regardless if the articles exist or not it should be displayed as mission1=Embassy of Bahrain, Washington, D.C., then mission2=Embassy of the United States, Manama. A link to the article should be added and should be the name of the article. Then the infobox is closed with two right curly brackets. Remember to separate each section of the infobox with a vertical pipe, otherwise, the infobox will not display properly. The infobox using the specific example will be as shown below when editing the article.

{{Infobox bilateral relations|Bahrain–United States|Bahrain|United States|map=Bahrain USA Locator.svg|mission1=[[Embassy of Bahrain, Washington, D.C.]]|mission2=[[Embassy of the United States, Manama]]}}

If there are no formal relations between the countries, then there is no need for the mission section since it's redundant.


Once the infobox is set up, the next step is what goes at the very top of the article. A short description about the relationship between both countries. It could be how close or how hostile the relationship is, when both countries established relations, or the dynamic of the relations and how it impacts both countries and global relations. It should always be relevant to the subject. Something that could sum up the relations in a sentence. The rest of the article will be about the subject. Editors should avoid bolding the names of the countries and stating "Kenya–Mozambique relations refers to the bilateral relations between Kenya and Mozambique." This type of sentence is non-informative and blatantly obvious to what the article is about.

After relevant information is added under the respective sections including images. Now begins on how to format the end of the article.

See also section[edit]

A "See also" section should be added containing links in a bulleted list to articles about both countries' respective foreign relations articles, embassies of the countries, and the list of ambassadors for each country. Another article related to the overall relations can be added. Above the bulleted list are links to portals for each topic. Portals should be added if they exist for the relevant subject. Not all portals exist for a country. The last portal to be included is the Politics portal. The "See also" section will be as follows using the Bahrain–United States relations example:

{{Portal|Bahrain|United States|Politics}} * [[Foreign relations of Bahrain]] * [[Foreign relations of the United States]] * [[Embassy of Bahrain, Washington, D.C.]] * [[Embassy of the United States, Manama]] * [[List of ambassadors of Bahrain to the United States|Ambassadors of Bahrain to the United States]] * [[List of ambassadors of the United States to Bahrain|Ambassadors of the United States to Bahrain]] * [[United States foreign policy in the Middle East]]

References and External links[edit]

References are a must and under the references sections, references are displayed using the reflist template, {{reflist}}.

External links could contain a link to the Commons category using the Commons template where relevant files are located. If a Commons category doesn't exist, then there is no need. Now not all relations articles will have relevant links. In most cases for U.S. relations articles, a link to a State Department fact sheet will be included.


Navboxes for the articles will be mainly the Foreign relations at the bottom below the external links section and above the categories. If a separate navbox exists for the relations article such as Template:Russia–United States relations, then it must be included. Not all bilateral relations articles are deserving of an individual navbox as not much information is available for the creation of multiple articles that would require such a template for a specific relations topic. The main navboxes that usually are used are the Foreign relations templates of both countries listed alphabetically on top of each other, not next to each other:

{{Bahrain–United States relations}} {{Foreign relations of Bahrain}} {{Foreign relations of the United States}}


Lastly, are the categories. Each relations article must have a minimum of three categories classified under. The main category with a blank sort with a space separating the double right brackets from the category text. The second and third categories are the bilateral relations categories for both countries in alphabetical order. It's important for a specific sort key to be used normally for the country listed first in alphabetical order. In the case of Bahrain–United States relations, Bahrain's bilateral relations category will have the sort key separated by the vertical pipe (|) and the words "United States" so the article under the bilateral relations category is properly found under the letter U. Other foreign relations categories, such as for one country's relations with countries in a specific region, and the main "Foreign relations of" categories are to be avoided. The former is to be used for the main category making it a subcat for organizing categories and articles in those categories as subcategories. And the latter category is for broader articles such as the main foreign relations article for a specific country.

The DefaultSort template will be added on top of the categories and in this example will be stylized as {{DEFAULTSORT:Bahrain–United States relations}}.

The categories will look like:

{{DEFAULTSORT:Bahrain–United States relations}} [[Category:Bahrain–United States relations| ]] [[Category:Bilateral relations of Bahrain|United States]] [[Category:Bilateral relations of the United States]]

See also[edit]