UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: February 8, 301 AP.

Utanians split over Ordlandic peace

When the Utanian cabinet met earlier today, few expected a statement to the Ordlandic government congratulating them on their peace initiative would split the cabinet so strongly. But, it has, and the day was followed by a series of missteps and conflicting press statements that have the opposition hooting with delight.

It began when the 52nd floor in Melanian Dream Tower & Hotel in Nova Luxa, in the Duchy of Joos, a state within the Mauretanian Empire of which Ordland is the central power, exploded in a fiery ball of flames, killing 200. It was the rebel "religious" group commanded by former General Chief of Staff of the Master's Army, who claimed responsibility, as part of a vicious rebellion in Ordland. The rebels, members of a sun-and-moon-cult, are seeking an independent theocratic state within Ordland.

After the tower explosion, the Duke of Joos demanded the Ordlandic government settle its dispute with the "Master's Army" or face Joos' secession from the Empire. Ordland complied, granting the rebels an independent state within Ordland, focused on the city of Copernicus.

Utanian Minister for Diplomatic Relations Robert Talin put forward a letter to cabinet which he would send to the Ordlandic government congratulating them on their peace initiative and a peaceful end to the month-long rebellion. However, moderate right-wing cabinet members apparently objected - wasn't Ordland the initiator of the Anti-Terrorism Organisation, leading the charge against terrorists? How then could it congratulated for complying with the wishes of terrorists who used force and secession to get their desires? It was against the very principles of the ATO, and Utania should immediately withdraw from the ATO in protest. Beside which, the new "theocracy" was a cultic religion, not worthy of official recognition.

So repeated Minister for Attorney General, Jurgen Hoff, who made a statement immediately after the cabinet meeting to waiting press, telling the arguments as above. Samual Sorama, Minister for Water Infrastructure, agreed, standing by the Attorney General as he fumed to the press. Hoff has never been one to stay silent and tow the "party line", but he is one of the President's staunchest allies.

Insiders say that the President agreed with several of the arguments by the right-wingers, and asked Mr Talin to draft a revised letter expressing concern at Ordland's helming the ATO. The Burovians were not without their own internal conflicts, with Naahi Bennett supporting the peace, yet Max Boornal being reticent to effectively support terrorism.

Before the cabinet meeting, Robert Talin made comments to the press indicating that the cabinet was "strongly supporting" the peace in Ordland. Afterwards, and after the Attorney General's comments, he was forced to moderate his statements. A press release from the Attorney General's Office stated that Utania was concerned that Ordland had "done a deal with the devil".

The final letter has not been released, but President Okarvits said, in his own press release, that it would emphasise Utania's joy with Ordland's peace, but dismay that the government "caved in" to threats, intimidation and terrorism.

Opposition figures are said to be very concerned that such a confused message could be issued by cabinet, which represents the President, but also privately "laughing hysterically".

While the government is essentially a centre-left government, the Peoples Party is broad, having both socialists and moderate conservatives as factions, all united by their dedication to a "Cruistian-principled" Utania.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)