The Government of the Federal Democratic Republics of Framptonia decided to send a delegation to meet with the Premier Commissioner of the European Commission.
The delegation consists of
- The Right Honorable Ric Metclafe - Prime Minister;
- Flight Commander Guy Gibson - Secretary of State for Defence and Homeland Security;
- Miss Sarah Shinn - Minister of State for Foreign & International Affairs and Acting EU Councillor.The Vice President, Mr Matt Warman, was expected to attend as the representative of the the President, but he was unable to return from the Conference in Aleonoria. Miss Shinn is attending as the representative of Dr Richard Crossman, the Secretary of State for Foreign & International Affairs, who is currently indisposed having undergone surgery to relieve his haemorrhoids.
The delegation arrived in the ante room of the Premier Commissioner where they were asked to wait by an attractive young blonde female receptionist, whose figure had already attracted the attention of the Flight Commander. They were accompanied by three men in dark suits and sunglasses, who were from the Presidential Guard.
Premier Commissioner Hitchens straightened his tie and suit, and sternly walked over to his door, checking behind him whether or not his office was tidy enough to receive his guests. Seeing some rubbish in the corner, he hesitated to walk back and clean up, but he decided this was too grave an affair to do so. Instead, he opened the door to see the three Framptonian delegates, and three security guards, standing in front of his secretary's office. "Thank you, Anne", he said to the woman behind the desk. "Welcome to my office, Framptonian delegates. If you would follow me. Your guards will be able to 'guard' the door from the outside, I'm sure."
Hitchens seated the three delegates. "Drinks?", he asked. After pouring them their favourite draughts, Hitchens sat opposite the delegates and began: "Right. Well, first of all, my condolences. Even if we get Lucinda out of Teutonic hands alive, I'm sure she will not return completely unharmed. That said, we have to do all that's necessary to get her out of captivity. Do you know anything, anything at all, about her whereabouts or situation?"
Sarah Shinn began the conversation.
"Thank you Premier Councillor Hitchens on agreeing to see us so swiftly. As you can probably imagine all of Framptonia is shocked by what has passed in the last 24 hours."
"Framptonia has had no dealings whatsoever with the Teutonic States, we have no ambassador with them and they are not our near neighbours. When the civil war was in force and it was recommended that the ERF be deployed, Lucinda spoke out against the deployment, but that was on the instruction of the Government who believed the decision had been made prematurely."
"In recent days, the Department of Foreign and International Affairs had become concerned by the statements emanating from the Government of the Teutonic States as these indicated that potentially there were breaches of people's Human Rights occurring on either the instruction or the with the compliance of the new Government. Lucinda was instructed by our Government to raise this which she did."
"We have not received any contact from anyone claiming responsibility for the kidnapping. But we understand that witnesses saw the intruders drug her immediately prior to her abduction and that the Councillor for the Teutonic States, who is the brother of Lord Velles, was seen to be leaving with them."
"You need to be aware Mr Hitchens, that Framptonia is a strictly neutral and pacifist state. It has no military strength worth mentioning. Our intelligence services have reported though that Sir Eric Pickles, the former Councillor for Davishire, has been reported as missing. Lucinda always spoke highly of Sir Eric. Whether Sir Eric ... sorry, if these reports are true, we are uncertain whether Sir Eric's disappearance is linked with that of Lucinda.
"Indeed, the whereabouts of Sir Pickles are evenly disturbing. I'm not quite sure what we can do to help them both. I've heard there is already a rescue operation ongoing by the Commission for Defence and Peacekeeping, but I'm unaware how many soldiers are involved, if the situation is going to be a succes, or pretty much anything having to do with the operation whatsoever.
The Teutonic State is a mess, that's more than clear. I have, however, heard interesting reports from the governments of Inimicus and Davishire, who are actively trying to stabilise the nation by constructing military bases. Do you think you could, perhaps, ask them for assistance, or would you prefer a more pacifist route?"
Ric Metcalfe cleared his throat and looked thoughtful.
"The Constitution of Framptonia precludes us from the maintenance of standing armed forces. We have one thousand troops under arms as the Presidential Guard. They are constituted to defend the life of the President if Framptonia is ever to be invaded. They are not constituted to defend Framptonia, simply to extricate the President from danger and get him or her to a place of safety."
"The ethos of Framptonia is found in its people. Whilst we love and are proud of our homeland, our responsibility is to defend the people of Framptonia, not the physical land. We consider the best way to defend our people is by ensuring that nobody has cause to attack us and that is why we are a pacifist nation."
"This does not mean that we would not be averse to the use of force to obtain the Lucinda's freedom. But we would not welcome any use of force which might endanger her. We simply do not have the means to effect any rescue."
"Hmm, I see. Well obviously the Commission will do anything it can to rescue your Councillor. The mission ordered by my colleague from Defence and Peacekeeping is still ongoing and I do not know the outcome yet, but should it fail, the Commission does not have a standing army at its disposal. We would have to find another way."
Mr Ric Metcalfe: "Of course, I quite understand and was not advocating the use of anyone's standing Army. I was simply explaining our Country's stance."
Miss Sarah Shinn: "Mr Premier Commissioner, are you able to confirm whether you have had any contact from Davishire concerning the possible disappearance of Sir Eric Pickles?"