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in international law the aggregate of acts connected with the appointment of, and the assumption of duties by, a head of diplomatic representation or of a permanent representative of a state to an international organization.
The process of accreditation involves the following steps: the promulgation by a competent state organ of a home document concerning the appointment of a given person as its diplomatic representative; the obtaining of an agreement (agrément) to his acceptance by the foreign state; and the presentation by the newly appointed representative of his credentials to the competent organ of the host state. Depending on the practice in effect in a given country, a head of diplomatic representation is considered to have entered upon his duties either from the moment of the presentation of his credentials or from the moment of the notification of his arrival and presentation of sworn copies of his credentials to the minister of foreign affairs of the host state. A permanent representative of a state to an international organization is considered to have entered upon his duties from the moment of presenting his credentials to the competent organ of the international organization—for instance, to the secretary general of the UN.