Skipping Stones (Attn - Zhorya)

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Tyskonia, Oct 1, 2019.

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  1. Tyskonia

    Tyskonia Well-Known Member

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    It was still relatively warm during the day. The nights were getting chilly though, and so everyone had a sweater with them. The meeting would take place outside of the Royal Palace by the Low Gallian Landscape garden, a large curated grassy knoll with a small temple and beautiful pond. A small greenhouse could be seen nearby. The purpose of this meeting was get a feel for the Zhoryan people via their delegation and come to some agreements for a better working relationship. It was a priority that the Federal Council felt on the foreign relations front as only secondary to the relationship with the Anti-State.

    It was at this moment that a carriage pulled by horses could be heard in the distance. Even today, distinguished guests were brought to the Royal Palace via horse drawn carriage, unlike the more uncivilized countries about the globe which felt that a motorized vehicle was best. Speed is only important over large distance. Anything in a city was not a large distance. Federal Councilor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Michel Laurent did not know who the Zhoryans planned to send to meet him. He did have a trick up his sleeve though, just in case the Zhoryans brought along someone special. They would be arriving at the Royal Palace after all. As the carriage came into view, the individuals inside which had access to the finest Gallian wine and food, could see the individuals ready to help them down from the carriage dressed in exquisite light blue suit uniforms.

    They would sit in the enclosure of the temple which was at the top of the grass lawned hill and overlooked the swan pond. There is where Michel Laurent stood, as he waited for his guests to be escorted up to the hill to him. They arrived promptly and they all took a seat at the table which had more wine available, but also cognac and an assortment of cakes and macarons. The meeting here was informal in some ways, to not be the sort of meeting of formality that suffocated visitors in ceremony as so many others normally did.
     
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  2. Zhola

    Zhola Member

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    The invitation from the government of the Petites Pays had been a breath of fresh air for the zhoryan government, has it had spent the last months being accosted by resurgent urodoah nationalism in Mazagan and by the opposition, which aimed to take something out of the current situation, wether it was simply rising in the polls or, however unlikely it was to happen, to split the governing coalition, with the Moderate Party attempting to form a coalition government of their own, and if not, to force early elections. While of course any positive outcome from the meeting would be good in itself, the government hoped that any agreement with the Petites Pays could perhaps divert the attention from the issues at home, even if just during an evening news broadcast.

    The diplomatic mission was led by Ziaeddin Sarkis, First Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Accompanying him were Zola Nuri-beg, the Secretary of International Trade, who had brought with her a variety of zhoryan businessmen, representing the interests of the shipping magnates, the state oil company, and lesser representatives of other industries, and also, of course, Sarkis's own staff, led by Pirman Vosough, nepehw to the current Premier. The meeting was preceded by the usual meeting with the local embassy staff, followed by the usual representatives of the local zhoryan community, though, it seemed, that even here the Zhoryan government could not be rid of the accosting of oppositionists, as the Sarkis and his comitive were met by a small group protesting the ongoing struggle of the urodoah peoples in Mazagan.

    When the zhoryan comitive finally arrived at the royal palace for the meeting Sarkis led the way. He took an adorned letter in his hands as he climbed up the hill to meet his counterpart, and after the customary greetings and shaking of hands he gave the letter to Michel Laurent - " Enclosed in this envelope is a poem written by his Soverign Majesty himself, an expression of his, and our national sorrow. I ask that you deliver it to her Royal Highness, Queen Marie-Charlotte, as it was personally adressed to her. " - he understood that such a gesture was perhaps old-fashioned, if not strange, so he advanced an explanation - " It is an old tradition for friends and family members to express their sorrow by the sharing of poems, adressed to the closest family of the deceased. " - the poem could be an original or not, and the adressed was usually the spouse, and while it couldn't be said that the nearly eighty year old Zadar and the teenager Marie-Charlotte were friends, it was supposed to be taken as a sign of good will and hope towards the building of a new friendship if not between monarchs, between peoples.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  3. Tyskonia

    Tyskonia Well-Known Member

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    Michel shook Monsieur Sarkis’ hand. “Thank you so much for your generosity. I will deliver this letter to her personally.” He felt the Zhoryans were a slightly different type of culture, but immensely polite and he respected that. He gave the letter to an aide of his who set it down on a silver dish near the table for safe keeping.

    Inviting his guests to take a seat in the open air temple which overlooked the gardens they were all offered sparkling water, wine, and the finest Low Gallian cheese platter. He was not sure if they would appreciate the Gallian sampler and he was not sure if they’d enjoy the alcohol due to the possibility of Islamic faith among his guests. Either way, he would press on the only way he knew how: the Gallian way. He would do his best to imitate the politeness of his guests though. “I am most apologetic if our food and drink offerings do not well suit your faith. I have done my best to offer what my country has to offer, while trying not to be off complete offense.”

    He cleared his throat and continued. “I have brought you here to observe the natural beauty of our Low Gallian gardens, but also to represent something for the future. You see there is a pond over there and as a youth we often have the desire to skip stones along the water. Perhaps a boy may just wish to show his strength and skip as many as times as possible, but it requires both a good stone and a great deal of finesse to skip a stone many times. Skill rather than brute strength, which is why a young girl may often best a grown man at this task. A skilled person may create a great design on the water as the many ripples spread across a pond. Our first meeting here I believe is the first bounce of the stone to touch the water. It is my hope our design can be just as beautiful as a young girl may skip such a stone.” His introduction in a form of succinct parable he hoped would be understandable as to the goals of the Smallanders. He wanted to make sure he caught their attention, but also to ensure that this was a relationship he hoped would continue forward.

    “It is my belief that we have many opportunities before us. I have many areas of concern that I believe we may find helpful for each other. As such, I hope to soon make my own proposals on economics, culture, and even discussing the basis for the beginnings of joint defense. Yet, I first would like to hear what you all wish to gain from this meeting.”
     
  4. Zhola

    Zhola Member

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    " We appreciate your willingness to accomodate our own peculliar palate, but you'll find that most of us here are more than willing to appreciate a good wine, though I must admit, I'm not greatest appreciator of cheese. " - Sarkis let out a polite, short and almost sillent laugh - " But I'm sure they would be quite enjoyable otherwise. Thank you for your kindness. " - Most members of the zhoyran comitive weren't followers of the islamic faith, Sarkis himself was irreligious, while most other members of the diplomatic mission he led were either followers of caernism or equally irreligious, and thus were not beholden any rule about drinking alcohol. The lone muslim member of the comitive, a business representative, was otherwise enjoying the other assortments of gallic appetizers their hosts had to offer and who, being accustomed to live in a country that was hostile to the idea of what different and disparing religions could mean, he was desensitized to any offense that their host's costumes could cause to his religious beliefs.

    Sarkis appreciated Laurent's words, he was a man who appreciated metaphors, perhaps something common to all zhoryans. Perhaps if he was a young boy he would feel compelled to grab a stone and throw it at the lake, which would simply sink once it reached the water. " Perhaps, in due time, the stone can reach the other side of the pond in due time. " - he added, and further answered Laurent's question - " I am at liberty to say that I have been given considerable leeway in what I can discuss, present and affirm that the zhoryan goverment will stand by any agreement. "

    He paused, trying to ascertain what those present would hope he would say next. " Our principal goal here is to lay the foundations of future agreements, the first time a skipping stone would touch the water. " - he hoped he would not appear too blunt, but he believed bluntness was also what the gallics wanted in this case - " For a first agreement we would look forward to discuss matters of trade and economic cooperation, granting special status for goods from our two countries, and seeking the technical expertise that in some areas we suffer from. Afterall, history has thought us that good trade relations are a stepping, if not skipping stone, towards good diplomatic relations. " - his appropriation of Laurent's earlier words amused him, but perhaps this was either too jovial or too corny for the meeting - " But we are of course willing to discuss a more ambitious future for both our countries, if that is what your government, Mr Laurent, so wishes. "
     
  5. Tyskonia

    Tyskonia Well-Known Member

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    Michel nodded. For Sarkis it was not so purposeful a meeting so much as the fact that they were invited and amicable to the idea of increased cooperation. He decided that he’d start with economics. “Let us start with what you consider most important to you then. As you know Monsieur Sarkis, we are a developed economy. It is my belief that in utilizing the cheaper wages of Zhorya, we can export jobs to Zhorya and in return offer cheaper finished goods to both Smallanders and the world. In attempt to facilitate this we can also agree to a process in which lower tariffs be implemented over time. This in return will allow our products to be shipped to Zhoryans at lower costs. Imagine! Cheaper wine, automobiles, kitchen goods, and more!”

    Perhaps he was a bit too excited, but he wanted to convey this excitement as a great step forward for the economic integration of the two nations. He paused to signal a slight change in direction for his proposal. “It is my hope that this relationship can lead to better cooperation and stronger ties. To continue to foster this I wish to have our top three universities conduct regular exchange for studies abroad that may bring cultural enrichment to our peoples.”
     
  6. Zhola

    Zhola Member

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    " We look forward to inviting smallander enterprises to invest and establish themselves in Zhorya. The president of our national automobile manufactors association has accompanied me here and has voiced support for an agreement that would see automobile parts plants being transferred to our country as a joint venture, though, of course, this could just be one arrangement out of many. "

    Sarkis took a sip from a his glass of wine when Laurent mentioned cheaper wine, as if to signal he couldn't wait for smallander wine to be cheaply available in Zhorya, as if he had any problem ordering it straight from the winery. " Certainly we look forward to cooperation and exchanges between our countries education institutes. However a more pressing matter in our view, and which I think your country would be very apt in amelliorating, is our country's current lack of technical specialists in such branches as civil and chemical engineering, for which I would like to see cooperation in training students in these areas, as our education system simply does not have the capacity to train as many as our country's developement effors and infrastructures demand. "
     
  7. Tyskonia

    Tyskonia Well-Known Member

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    Michel nodded, “Are you suggesting students come to our universities via exchange? Or would you like your students to have a more full access to our education system? As you may be aware, currently full-time students in Petites-Pays do not have to pay for tuition at university; meanwhile, students from abroad would. It is possible that we could create some kind of quota in which a certain amount of Zhoryan students could be treated as domestic students. I believe that such a program would require some degree of reciprocation in return though.”

    He did not want to upset his guests, but to allow for foreigners to study for free he would need something in return to please the rest of the Federal Council and the Federal Assembly.

    In the distance he could see a young girl walking over to the hill from the a palace. He was certain that it was not the Queen. He stopped speaking and waited for a response from the Monsieur Sarkis. Certainly by the time Sarkis responded the young woman would have made her way to their meeting.
     
  8. Zhola

    Zhola Member

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    " And what sort of reciprocity would be welcomed? " Sarkis was open to hear whatever the smallander had to propose, to him, everything was open to discussion even if it wasn't in the end possible to come to an agreement about something in particular " In the end our government would be willing to cover tuition fees for these students with credit lines provided to them, though what would be necessary would be to agree that a certain ammount of vacancies in your universities would be reserved for zhoryan students. Though otherwise we'd also welcome having teachers and technical experts come teach in Zhorya if the inverse is not agreeable. Whichever solution meets both our countries needs. "
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  9. Tyskonia

    Tyskonia Well-Known Member

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    It was a bit like being given a blank cheque. He had expected some resistance and received none. What to do? What to ask for? Michel decided something that would make some sense. “Perhaps we can agree to something where we have a return on our investment. Where the students that pursue this program are required to work in our industry after graduation for a period of time equal to their education years in Petites-Pays?”

    At this moment the girl had made it up the hill. The young Princess Louise introduced herself to the delegation. “I am the Louise, the younger sister of Queen Marie-Charlotte. I would like to greet the wonderful Zhoryan delegation to my home. I wish to convey the wishes of my sister that you all join her for refreshments when your meeting has concluded.” It seemed calculated to some degree by the Queen to send her younger sister. She was only 15 and thus not really the best representative, but perhaps gave a sense of the genuineness of the invitation.
     

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