UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: August 18, 300 AP.

Utania siezes I'ana Archipelago in military operation.

EMBARGO: 11AM, AUGUST 18.

In a shock move, Utania has seized control of the I'ana Archipelago even before the first formal round of discussions with the office of the UNVCOCN Director, Gordon Davidz, had begun!

The seizure has stunned diplomats, politicians, UNV officials and Press all around the country, and no doubt around the world, as Utania made clear that possession of the strategic island chain was not up for negotiation.

President Hope was unapologetic for the operation that saw some 5,000 soldiers storm ashore the thirty-plus islands while nineteen warships and twelve Firecat jets patrolled the area for foreign military vessels. None were found. No casualties were experienced, and no rounds of ammunition were fired in the operation.

Amid cheers from "hawk" members of parliament, lead by the Liberal Nationalists, President Hope outlined for Parliament the military exercise, Operation Deftsword, that saw the archipelago seized and swear allegiance to Utania. President Hope said that the seizure was necessary to "ensure Utania's defensive needs, not as a means to warmongering". He emphasised that the UNV Director had "overstepped the bounds of his office" in attempting to hand over "sovereign Utanian soil" to Ptica Island park, controlled by Armatirion.

"Mr Davidz has been seriously out of line in pandering to the environmentalists and other international pressure groups, and I have despatched a communique to that effect to the UNV Secretary General. Utania cannot and will not stand idly by while her territory is given away to satisfy the needs of a UNV politician attempting to prove his 'green' credentials." President Hope then announced that the island chain would be given special protection from development.

"I will pass a law for this House's consideration that will ensure that NO commercial mining of the islands will be permitted, except that already performed and managed by the island community themselves. I will personally guide this law through the House, and will implore you, honourable members, to pass such a bill." This was greeted with applause, after which the President announced: "This will allay the fears of the very movements that have sought to undermine Utanian sovereignty." Further applause.

According to President Hope, the local authorities, and a contingent of 35 local police all agreed to swear allegiance to Utania without force or coercion. The islands, would remain under local control under the Utanian flag.

The Press have been invited today to the main islands in the archipelago, I'ana and Yoma, to observe the operation, and several UPA journalists have already left for designated military airbases.

President Hope said that the overall Commander of the Operation, General Arjaat, would hold a press conference to detail the operation later today.


©UPA, 300 AP.

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©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)