UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Friday, June 21st, 302 AP.

Opposition finds political points to score

The opposition finally has some political points to score out of almost a month
of the parliamentary Special Defence Funding Committee, with the revelation
that Zartanian troops may also train at the new Û80 million Tokape training

The victory comes in the form of a letter from the Department of Defence,
though indirectly from General Kovacs himself, answering a question about
whether foreign troops, particularly Zartanian troops, would also train in the
fifteen specialist training grounds, which were built at a cost of Û80 million.

The letter replies that a "joint Utanian-Zartanian training advisory and
facilitation agreement", announced by President Okarvits in late August (see
"Utania this week", September 3rd, 301ap), makes Zartanian troops training at
the Tokape fields, in Utania, "a definite possibility".

The affirmative answer has the opposition crowing.

"That specialist or otherwise soldiers of the brutal and oppressive Zartanian
Imperial regime could possibly be trained using facilities developed by Utanian
personnel, using the taxes of everyday Utanians is not only offensive, but a
slap in the face for every human rights organisation on Vexillium!" Thomas
Kemp, the federal opposition leader, declared in the Parliament.

Kemp has demanded that the government "withdraw immediately" from the agreement
that allows the murderers of peaceful Gronkian liberation campaigners to train
in Utanian funded camps.

The government has been a little embarassed by the revelation, and yet Defence
Minister Artos was unfazed on a nightly news programme defending the agreement
and rejecting any suggestion it should be cancelled.

"We have members of the Tokape Brigade regularly training with Zartanian
special forces in Zartania. The Zartanians have very good training facilities;
indeed they advised us in the creation of the Tokape facilities everyone is so
concerned about. What puzzles me is why Mr Kemp takes such offence now, as
opposed to in September?"

Did the Minister agree that Zartania was a "brutal regime" that should not be
supported by Utanian taxes.

The minister laughed. "There is no doubt in my mind that Utania has benefitted
more from the presence of Zartanian advisors and our troops training in
Zartania, with their special forces, than could possibly be gained from their
training at Utanian facilities."

The Minister was also quick to point out that the Zartanians were not already
in Utania, that it was only a "possibility".

©UPA, 302 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2002. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)