Restoring the ties
Peace summit following the Second Inimician-Rimrothian War
After having promised not to kidnap the Rimrothian dignitaries, Minister for Defence and Nuclear Development Basil Lawson, and Brigadier-General Lethbridge-Stewart (who had left his forces in Rimroth for this conference) were waiting on Telum Imperial Aerodrome to recieve Rimrothian peace talkers and the Commissioner for Internal Affairs. The Inimicians had fought their second war with the Rimrothians, the first one dating from the ninteenth century, when the concept of the European Union had not even developed into a dream. Lethbridge-Stewart had been in Rimroth City for the entire war, which was now five days ago. A large contrast with the First Inimician-Rimrothian war, which lasted for over three years and involved multiple major naval confrontations, the Second War was the shorted Inimicus had ever fought so far.
It was the Basil Lawson's first ever peace summit, therefore he was rather anxious to get it over with: ...Let's hope the Rimrothians will be compliant... he thought ...we've only deployed a fourth of the 1st Inimician Army Group so far, and I'm not keen on getting more men into the breach....
Time seemed to go by incredibly slowly, until the two men saw a small dot appear on the sky, which gradually became bigger and grew wings and a tail. It was one of the two planes.
Rimrothian Minister of Defense, Diederik Lindholm, peeked out of the airplane's window. He saw the airport, and the city of Telum in the background. He looked to the right, and he saw Military Advisor Patrick Pertwee putting a phone away. "It was the Baron," he said, "he wishes us the best."
The plane landed, and the door opened. Minister Lindholm and Advisor Pertwee were blinded by a bright sunlight. They stepped on the stairs, and walked downwards. "I'm a bit peckish." said Pertwee to Lindholm. They stepped on the tarmac and were receive by two Inimician men.
Eric Pickles was sat comfortably in the private jet as it approached to land in Inimicus.
He was slightly nervous as this was the first major conference he had attended, especially after being left out of the issue in Western Sahara.
The aircraft landed smoothly and before stepping off the plane the commissioner took a last sip of his strong drink.
"Wish me luck" he said to his aides as he stepped off the plane to the two men waiting to greet him.
"sorry, i'm not late am I?"
"Welcome, gentlemen, welcome. May I introduce His Majesty's Minister for Defence, Basil Lawson", Lethbridge-Stewart said as the men had gathered.
"Thank you, Alistair", Basil Lawson answered, "Now, shall we go?"
Press greeted the peace diplomats as they proceeded through the Aerodrome to the motorcade waiting outside. Security barely managed to keep journalists and reporters away, who had gathered en masse to get a glimpse of the first peace talks ever hosted in the Empire. The former Republic had engaged in several wars, none of which it won. The Brigadier-General was thinking of this while the motorcade was making its way to the Imperial Palace, where every summit hosted in Inimicus takes place. Would this war be any different? The Inimicians surely taught Rimroth a lesson not to mess with their Emperor. It proved the Empire was willing and able to go to war for their monarch. This is a historically-rooted sentiment, as Inimicians were promised long ago to be protected by their monarch, and the monarchs usually lived up to their promises, gaining the trust of the Inimician people. This trust has passed on from generation to generation, and the trust was reinstated when Inimicus became a monarchy once more. As a result, the people's resolve to protect their Majesty is extremely fierce, too.
"Gentlemen, welcome to the Imperial Palace. Normally, only His Majesty is allowed to recieve international guests, but you will understand this is a special occasion". Minister Lawson seemed to give the Rimrothian delegation a glance while saying this. The delegation entered the palace, and even the Brigadier-General, who had never visited the building before, was impressed by the splendour and magnificence of the Emperor's Palace. The delegation seated themselves in comfortable armchairs and put their briefcases and documents on the large, low table before them.
"Now, gentlemen, shall we begin?", the Minister said.
Lindholm and Pertwee entered the palace, walking behind Minister Lawson. Eric Pickles from Davishire walked beside Lethbridge-Stewart. Lindholm looked up to the beautiful decorated ceiling. "It's magnificent!" said Pertwee to Lindholm.
Lindholm and Pertwee took their seats at the table were the talking would take place. Pertwee was a bit nervous. Lindholm took a couple of documents from his briefcase and layed them on the table before them.
"Firstly I would like to thank you for allowing me to attend this meeting. I would like to say that I feel that dialogue is of vital importance in resolving issues peacefully and successfully."
"Well, let's get started then, shall we?", Lethridge-Stewart proposed, "I would like to ask the Rimrothian delegation to propose peace terms, and then we can get the discussion started."
"Well," minister of defense Lindholm said, "our peaceterms. First of all, we would like that the remaining Inimician troops will be going back to Inimicus, and that we can access the occupied part of Rimroth-City. Second, we would like that Inimicus gives compensation for any damage they have caused to the City. And last, we don't think it is out of place if the Inimician government makes an apology, because they invaded Rimroth on the basis of something that isn't true. Namely that Rimroth would cooperate with terrorists." He sat back and nipped a bit of his tea, and looked at minister of Defense and the Brigadier.
During the Rimrothian delegate's proposal, both Inimicians stared in disbelief at their foreign counterpart. When Pertwee had finished, the Brigadier-General gave his Minister a kick under the coffee table to shake him from his state of disbelief. The Minister said: "Sorry about that, I was so surprised, outraged and downright offended I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Apologies? Wasn't it that on a benevolent business trip to YOUR country that our head-of-state was kidnapped and captured? Were it not YOUR authorities that failed to respond to repeated calls for help from His Majesty's security? Were it not YOUR special forces that claimed they found Emperor Artabanos without even performing the basic identity tests, and lastly, wasn't it YOUR media outlet that immediately broadcast this false news? If anyone should offer an apolody, it would be you. But I am not someone who would ask for fake, meaningless gestures like apologies, I am not asking you for any. But I am not giving any, either.
As for our terms: we do not ask for compensation, we do not ask for promises that cannot be kept: all we ask is an Inimician military base somewhere in Rimroth. If things like this happen again, we want to be able to rely on rapid military aid, and you have proven you cannot provide in this field."
The Brigadier-General allowed himself to add a comment: "And remember, we have the status quo. We have half your capital in our hands..."
It was at this point the commissioner decided to intervene,
"Gentlemen, Gentlemen please try to keep this debate as calm as possible.
Both sides will need to compromises on this issue.Now is not the time to be refusing anything or threatening a continuation of this conflict, nor is it constructive to make unreasonable demands.
Is there anyway that both countries will be able to compromise to find an acceptable solution? If not then I feel that this may end up becoming a waste of time.
Both countries have in one way or another done wrong in this conflict, purposely or accidentally. Not lets try to get a solution in place."
The commissioner paused looked at his briefing notes and then passed a sheet of paper to both side.
"as you can see I have a proposal for you. As it is not my place to force either country take it more as a suggestion.
I believe that a total withdraw of Inimican forces from Rimroth. A statement from the government of Rimroth that they got it wrong when they claimed to have found the emperor. At which point both sides issue a joint statement which is agreed that the conflict is over and diplomatic relations are restored and that the conflict was a sad result of a series of unfortunate events.
Like I said it is not for me to tell either of you what to do , but it is a suggestion which will mean that both sides are able to avoid losing face. "
Military Advisor Patrick Pertwee nodded when Comissioner Pickles finished. "Allright" said Lindholm, "I agree with you Comissioner. And yes, we were wrong when we got the wrong person out of the terrorists lair. But we also have stated that in The Voice of Rimroth. And for you Lethbrige-Stewart, we do not allow an Inimician Military Base in Rimroth. If one of the Inimician leaders decides to visit Rimroth again, we will allow them to bring more security personell, because you clearly do not trust us. But no, forget your Military Base. I admit the Rimrothians were wrong on some points, but we are also not going to apologize. You have occupied half of our city, and that is something we cannot forgive lightly."
After having listened to the Commissioner and the Rimrothian speaker, Brigadier-General Lethbridge-Stewart took a sip of the finest Inimician coffee blend, dipped his biscuit and took a bite, before placing his saucer back onto the table and speaking:
"Commissioner, you have to realise that we Inimicians are deeply concerned for our officials's health should they visit Rimroth in the future. We are willing to retreat from Rimroth City and even employ our armed forces to help rebuild wrecked buildings and other material goods. But we are deeply concerned for our digitaries in Rimroth."
Turning to Pertwee and Lindholm, he said: "Gentlemen, I understand you hair-trigger sensitivity to foreign military bases in your country. I therefore would like to water the proposal down a little: why don't we both establish a Secret Service Office in one another's countries, which employs a sufficient amount of paramilitary forces which have the authority to act immediately, unconditionally, whenever an official of our countries gets into real trouble in the other country. We do not apoligise to one another, but make a joint statement in which we say all the usual mumbo-jumbo of "we regret the bloodshed", "we wish the wounded and the veterans well" and "we will make sure this doesn't happen again". I think that's very reasonable, don't you?"
"Although I do not disagree with your concerns, I am puzzled as to why you would want a long term military presence in Rimroth. I think personally it would be better for both countries to avoid a military presence that is permanent. Even in your proposal of a small paramilitary force it still brings huge risk of possible future conflict. Just my opinion"
"We do not wish to spark another war, Commissioner. All we wish is to be able to securely send our delegates to Rimroth, and the Rimrothians have proven they cannot provide the necesarry protection. That is why I made this proposal. As a counterweight, we will allow the same kind of base in Inimicus. The forces present there will not be able to take on either of our armies, not at all."
Lindholm and Pertwee looked at the Inimicians and the Commissioner. "Of course we can learn a lesson from these events, that happened over the last days." said Lindholm. "So we are maybe a bit more prepared and so on. But we don't want a permanent Inimician military presence in Rimroth, and we also don't think it's necesarry to have a permanent Rimrothian military presence in Inimicus. I agree with the Commissioner, I don't think this is a good idea. However if an Imician Official decides to visit Rimroth again, we could allow them to bring a sufficient number of security personell. This doesn't mean we allow the Inimicians to seal of the whole city, but maybe you feel safer with a sufficient number of Inimician security personell around."
"As shown in the events leading to this war, security personel brought by the visitor is not merely enough. His Majesty brought his entire security crew, as he always does, to this meeting.", Basil Lawon replied.
After sipping his coffee again, Lethbridge-Stewart continued: "As His Majesty's Chief Military Advisor, I will have to strongly discourage the Emperor to ever visit Rimroth again if a service like this will not come into existence. But, it is as you want it. I am willing to make concessions. Let's call it a white peace, then. No one gains or loses anything. We let others decide who has guilt in this war, but because of this deal you make sure our Emperors (or at least the current one) will most likely never visit Rimroth again, and I find it highly doubtable any high Inimician official will. We need the guarantee of security for our dignitaries."
"I do hope you know this situation was quite exceptional," said Pertwee, "Rimroth-City is one of the safest cities of the country, and we haven't had terrorist attacks for a couple of years. It isn't sure that the terrorists are Rimrothian. The terrorist organisation will be exterminated. I think that if the terrorists are exterminated, that the city will be very safe again. But we are not going to beg for another Inimician visit. We had a very good relationship over the years. This brought us both a lot of benefits. But if Inimicus doesn't trust Rimroth, this can't be reinstated."
"There's a very simple answer to that: we don't trust Rimroth.", Lethbridge-Stewart replied.
Following a couple of seconds of awkward silence, Minister Lawson continued: "At least not when it comes to military matters.
Now, let's get this over with. Neither of us are keen on making concessions and admitting anyone on our side was wrong, so this isn't going to work out anyway."
"Yes, we already knew that you don't trust us." said Pertwee. Lindholm kicked him under the table.
"So, let's think towards a solution shall we? Otherwise we'll be here all day."
Clearly getting annoyed, the Inimician dignitaries were just as keen as their Rimrothian colleagues to get this meeting over with. The Brigadier-General then said:
"Right. So we will get our forces out of your country, we will declare a white peace, and the war will be hailed through Inimicus as a minor victory, unlike the First Inimician-Rimrothian War. I don't know if you've studied history, but that war ended in a catastrophe for both sides."
"Quit the patriotism, Alistair", the Minister interrupted, "I would like to invite the Commissioner to draw the final peace agreement, so we can all sign it as soon as possible. What say you, Commissioner Pickles?"