UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: October 19, 300 AP.

Okarvits' first press conference

Newly-elected President Okarvits today held his first Press Conference to address the issues surrounding Utania at this time.

Striding into the conference room, before some eighty or ninety journalists, a dozen or more TV cameras, and three dozen photographers, the imposing figure of George Okarvits surveyed the room quickly before launching into his speech at the podium on the stage at the front of the room. His voice is deep and can be quite booming, like that of a Shakespearean actor. Okarvits junior had to prove to the country that HE was in control, now, that he COULD bring the country into the era of prosperity without unfairly burdening one segment or another.

His speech was light in detail, but heavy in philosophy, the principles by which the new Utania would be run. It would be open, and fair. It would seek to ensure that ALL Utanians had the basic rights to education, health and minimum wages, but would not impose a lifestyle or values upon the traditional Utani people. Indeed, it would celebrate that essence, those core values of the Utanian people, above and beyond those imported by their former masters.

Journalists, quick to seize upon the lack of detail in that outline, demanded to know more: did that mean the "New Utania would not be western capitalist"? It would be capitalist, he said, but Utanian-style. Did he intend to enforce corporation law upon the agricultural cooperatives in rural Utania, such as a minimum wage? No, the traditional tribal system of communal ownership would be strengthened, with all tribal members considered shareholders. Would these cooperatives be forced to pay corporate tax just like Belson Corporation? No, he repeated, there would be special Cooperative Laws passed to protect them, and have them pay a tax rate "commensurate with their aggregate income".

Then, journalists fired questions about international relations: Would the President retain the current three-tier system of relations? He did not feel that needed changing right now, but it would "obviously have a different value system, now". How would the President deal to rumours of troops being sent to Dignania by President Hope? The President drew breath slowly and deliberately before answering - he would ask the Military's General Arjaat to report what he knew. If it was true, the reasons why the troops were sent would be reviewed in detail.

He was asked for opinion on the UNVCOCN, and he replied that it had not changed: the UNVCOCN mission had performed exemplary work in Utania, and ought to be praised. The opinions expressed by one individual, or distorted opinions by one individual should not damage the positive role of the organisation. Would that mean he would not seek to have UNVCOCN mission chief Gordon Davidz brought up for discipline? Okarvits replied he believed the UNV-version that the Zeitgeist-published memo differed from the one sent to Christianshaven, and would direct police to assist in investigating the true author of the memo.

The burning question in everyone's mind pertained to Armatirion: How would the President deal with the region's superpower, especially since it was a socialist state, opposed to the very way of Utanian life?

President Okarvits said he was unconvinced that Armatirion had any desire to see Utania turn to socialism, and being a member of the ANNV would pose no direct threat to Utania. His Administration would immediately begin talks with the superpower to ensure that peace and mutual respect were the foundation of the two nations' relationship. In his statements he sought to placate the populace about the so-called "pink menace" to the north-west, a populace that had been driven to fear by the nationalist element in Utania during the course of the election campaign. He said that he believed that Utania "has nothing to fear from Armatirion", but that he would remain vigilant until a mutual treaty had been established.

"We will give no quarter to elements within this nation who would seek to divide the world into those who are for Utania and those who are against. The simple fact is that no nation has expressed any opposition to the state of Utania, nor has any state taken any action that could be interpreted as opposition. Therefore, it should be possible, in the attitude of respect for our fellow men and women of every nation, tribe and people, to establish friendly discourse with all nations, espousing our views freely, but with respect for all nations."

In this statement, Okarvits denied the dreams of hardline nationalists across the country who earnestly hoped for Utania's opposition to all forms of international socialism. He effectively said he would not be following the credo of the Liberal Nationalists who would see Utania side with nations, such as the Zartanian Empire, to actively oppose communism.

However, President Okarvits then sought to placate those nationalists fearful of attack from all corners of the globe.

"However, neither will we give quarter to any nation in Vexillium that stands against Utania's peaceful approach, against Utania's insistence for international neutrality, or against Utania herself. Utania shall not be afraid to defend herself, her interests and her people against anyone. No terrorist nation shall be exempted from our wrath should they turn against this nation."

President Okarvits is not only attempting to appear strong, like his predecessor, but appear conciliatory, more ready to dialogue than to direct confrontational action as his predecessor had over the I'ana archipelago.

The breath of change is pouring through Utan Krysaror. Indeed, Utania is born anew.

©UPA, 300 AP.

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