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authenticating and approving an international agreement in a preliminary manner by the affixing of the initials of those who drafted the agreement. The initials are put on each page of the agreed-upon text of the draft agreement.
Initialing is an optional stage in concluding an international agreement and is done at the discretion of the parties involved. The legal significance of initialing is that it obligates the initialers to regard negotiations on specific parts of the text or on the text as a whole as concluded and forbids them to depart from wording that has been agreed to. Initialing does not, however, create a legally binding text. After considering part or all of the draft of the initialed agreement, the governments of the states involved may introduce changes or make additions as they see fit. An initialed agreement is similar in significance to an agreement signed ad referendum (before a final decision), which also does not bind the contracting parties.