2 The concept of a state
Under the Westphalian system, states are the principal actors and the primary subjects of international law. There are around 200 states of which some 193 are members of the UN. Under international law states are regarded as having equal status. Article 2(1) of the UN Charter provides that ‘the organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members’. This is regardless of the huge variations in size, population and economic wealth of different states, and the disparities in political and diplomatic power wielded by different states.