UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Friday, August 3rd, 301 AP.

Commander in Chief of Zartanian Forces in Utan Krysaror

Utania's President has been playing host to what some might regard the second-most
powerful man in the Zartanian Empire: High General Erik Vun Orcton.

Grand Admiral High General Erik vun Orcton, Commander-in-Chief, Royal Armed
Forces, and commander of the King's Special Forces. That's the official title of the
second-most powerful man in the Zartanian Empire, the commander the entire -- and
quite large -- Imperial Armed Forces of the Zartanian Empire. And, the General was in
Utan Krysaror for some "high level" talks with Utania's President and cabinet members.

The meeting has been deliberately low key, since the General arrived on Thursday,
admitted the President, because while the General was in the country officially,
defence discussions were at an advanced and delicate stage. Critics have a different
reasoning.

"The Zartanian butchers are afraid to come out and face their Utanian critics", declared
the leader of the Red-Green Alliance, a leftist group who accuse the Zartanian Empire
of human rights abuses in Dignania and elsewhere. "This is not a country we should
be doing deals with", said another. Several MPs said they would refuse to speak or
attend any meeting with Vun Orcton, including former cabinet minister and
Democratic-Socialist MP John Stirling, as have some Republican MPs and the three
Yannists.

President Okarvits has been slowly pushing the country closer and closer to the
Empire in terms of defence, as one analyst put it, "slowly, but deliberately". While
leftist groups oppose any connection with the Zartanians, accusing them of
"Imperialist tendancies", general popular opinion is less opposed to Zartanian defence
links. Many still see the Zartanians in light of their role in the liberation from the
collapsing Guwimithian Empire.

Vun Orcton has refused, so far, to speak with the Press, but the President has
confirmed that the substance of discussions is with regard to "furthering discovery
of mutual defence objectives", politick for furthering defence ties. While not officially
announced by the President's office, Utania is said to have ordered an aircraft carrier
from the Zartanians, as well as entered three major mutual developments, including
an attack helicopter development. The total cost of the developments is said to exceed
Û30 billion, and will take over five years.

The General will be in the country until Monday. Over the weekend, he will the
President's guest touring various sightseeing and cultural destinations. On Sunday
night he will be touring the UPIA (Utanian Protection and Intelligence Agency)
operations centre. Security has been very tight around the General.


©UPA, 301 AP.

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