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Reaching Out Across the Atlantic


JEDCJT
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"Are you ready for the journey of your time, ladies and gentlemen?" Grand Duke Mikhail Ivanovich Romanov asked conversationally as he walked across the tarmac of Romanov AFB, located near Moscow, toward a specially modified Antonov An-230 jetliner. 
 
"As ready as I'll ever be," Foreign Minister Vladimir Lavrov replied sardonically. 
 
"I'm so excited about this," Duchess Tatiana Romanova remarked dryly as she walked alongside her husband. The rest of the delegation, consisting mainly of translators, mumbled their enthusiastic agreements.
 
"Oh come on, this is our first trip outside the country." Julius exclaimed as he began to ascend the stairway into the jetliner. "And this is a great opportunity to make great friends as well."
 
Vladimir shrugged. "I guess this is quite an opportunity."
 
"The Northlands, it's in....Scandinavia, right?" Tatiana asked.
 
Mikhail chuckled. "No, it's in western Europe, specifically Benelux."
 
"Oh, right." Tatiana face-palmed. "I don't know why I keep thinking of it being in northern Europe."
 
"Must be the nation name," Vladimir said as he took a seat adjacent to the Imperial couple. "Though you gotta admit, the Northlands is a pretty cool name."
 
"The name of their capital is even cooler," Mikhail grinned. Tatiana rolled her eyes at her husband's pun. "Noordenwind. Wish I could change the name of the capital, but then we can't have everything we want," the Duke finished.
 
"Yeah, the people would revolt the instant you changed Moscow's name," Tatiana remarked. "And hang you upside down by the balls in Red Square." 
 
Mikhail winced, while Vladimir laughed. "Thanks for that wonderful image," the Duke muttered.
 
"You're welcome, my dear husband," Tatiana ginned cheekily.
 
At this time, the aircraft began to taxi into the runway, where it began picking up speed, going faster until it lifted off into the air, heading westwards.
 
Several hours later, the jetliner would arrive at Noordenwind.
 
OOC: Edited
Edited by JEDCJT
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As the first head of state to arrive in the Northlands, the Grand Duke, his wife, and the Foreign Minister were the guests of honor to a prodigal, ornate display of custom and ceremony at the capital. Upon touching down, the delegation would walk down a red carpet where an honor military band played the anthems of both nations. Representatives of the King led the Muscovians to the waiting limousine and chauffeured them through the city to the King's place of residence. Looking outside, they could see a lively city that was very much growing in influence and wealth. Glittering skyscrapers, populated markets, and the machinations of factories in the distances gave a distinctive uplifting feel to the place.

 

At the palace, the Grand Duke and others were lead to the room where the the king was waiting. King William IV stood up and greeted his guests, shaking the men's hands firmly with a nod, "Grand Duke Romanov, Minister Lavrov." "Duchess Romanov," he added, giving a slight bow and kissing her hand. He gestured for them to sit in the gilded, silk and mahogany chairs which were in the room and poured each member a drink as they continued with introductions.

 

"I am honored to have you here today, it's about time we begun forming relations with the other new states of this world. I trust your flight went well? Tell me, how are things in Muscovy, how has the formation and consolidation of your new state been progressing?"

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The Duke, Duchess, and Foreign Minister certainly appreciated the customs and ceremony, especially the anthem played by the honor military band ("They play our anthem better than ours do!" The Duke whispered to his wife), and they told the King's representatives as such. As the Muscovians entered the spacious limousine, they took in the view of the beautiful city and made comments about it from time to time ("Hey, I think I see one of them marijuana shops", the Duke pointed out). Upon arrival at the Palace, the Duke and his delegation marveled at its beauty ("That's where the King lives in?" the Duke breathed out in amazement).
 
Upon meeting King William IV, the Duke appreciated the firm handshake and reciprocated in kind, and so did Minister Lavrov. Duchess Tatiana Romanova smiled at the King's gesture. As Mikhail, Tatiana, and Vladimir took seats, they found that they liked the softness of the seats, something which was somewhat of a rarity in Muscovy, and were heartened that the host had taken the time and effort to procure Russian vodka. As the Duke sipped the vodka, he opened his mouth to reply:
 
"It is a honor to visit your beautiful country, and we would like to extend you the honor of visiting Muscovy in the near-future. With that said, things are progressing pretty well in Muscovy so far. We are currently in the process of demobilizing former Novgorodian soldiers that complied with my order, and are beginning the preliminary evacuation of our citizens from the city of Novgorod. It is a tragedy that the city and its people had to suffer such a terrible fate, and it will take a long time before the city is operational, much less inhabitable." The Duke paused to take a sip. "We are currently working to integrate and streamline the various administrative and operational structures of Moscow and the other regions into an unified system. The civil service is in the works, a cabinet is being formed, and elections for the State Duma are planned for the future. In other words, we have much to do."
 
After another sip, the Duke continued: "How are things in the Northlands? And how did you come up with a great name for the capital?"
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"I would of course be honored to visit Muscovy, I have unfortunately never traveled to the region before and feel it would be amiss to not visit, especially with the development and progress being made in your country. The war between Sverige and Novgorod was a dreadful affair but I'm glad to hear efforts are underway to help the affected peoples and land. It sounds like you very much have everything in order, which is quite welcome in our world filled with disorder."

 

"As for the Northlands, things are progressing smoothly. As you'll no doubt have heard by now, the recent crisis brought on by the collapse of the fledgling German government was handled amicably. The Northlands was able to secure a vast majority of the state and plans to maintain it as an autonomous protectorate for the time being, to allow the people the right of self-government if that is what they seek. 

 

For our homeland, recent trade agreements with Ubersteinia and Babylonia have accelerated economic growth. We've been restoring critical infrastructure, and our ports in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Bruges are bustling with activity. Noordenwind's origins start out as a small commune of refugees after the Great War. During the early days, the name Noordenwind was chosen to represent the optimism and hope these people had for a brighter future. I think that same spirit is still evident as it has turned into the teeming metropolis seen today, and current construction plans put it on a path to soon match the splendor seen in the Athenian Netherlands."

 

An assistant came in with some light appetizers, one of which the King took after offering some to his guests. He refilled drinks as the talk of introductions started to turn to the talk of business.

 

"Beyond the distinct pleasure of getting to meet your acquaintance, I'm excited for this meeting because I think there is a very bright future ahead for our nations. The Northlands and Muscovy stand to gain much by increasing the level of economic, and possibly security cooperation, between our states. The Northlands economic and industrial output is being ramped up and we are very much interested in a trade agreement with Muscovy. 

 

Additionally, we have recently concluded an optional defense pact with your neighbors the Baltic Union and have been consistently impressed with the level of professionalism and respect found in your region of Europe. With such good relations in the region we would be willing to engage in a security agreement with your nation as well to increase cooperation, although I'm interested to hear your thoughts on these matters and degree to which you propose."

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The Grand Duke, Duchess, and Foreign Minister listened to the King speak, absorbing his words. When appetizers were offered, they would gracefully accept them and savor their exotic tastes.
 
"I am in agreement with you in that both our nations can greatly benefit from increased economic and security cooperation on issues of national interest," Duke Romanov said as he drained the rest of his vodka. "Stability and prosperity is paramount in this world, especially after an event as devastating as the Great Apocalypse, and a trade and a security agreement would be a good start to achieving that mutually beneficial goal."
 
"As for the trade agreement, I believe that our nations should take steps to reduce existing tariffs and other barriers, with some exceptions for certain industries, as a way to promote and facilitate increased trade between our nations. Given the distance between our countries, this would make it easier for peoples, products, and resources to cross our boundaries, and further our burgeoning industries. And as you stated, such agreements have led to increased economic growth," Foreign Minister Lavrov said. 
 
"And speaking of crossing boundaries, may we propose a culture exchange program, or something of a similar nature? Our governments could take appropriate steps to encourage increased interaction between our peoples and their cultures, such as implementing study-abroad programs. This would help our respective people understand and appreciate our respective cultures. What are your thoughts on this?
 
"In regards to security agreements, our governments could share intelligence that directly pertains to us. That way, we would be able to more accurately assess potential threats and effectively deal with them than we would be able to do otherwise. With this said, I propose a mutual defense treaty. I'm sure that were we in the prewar world, this would probably be perceived as a...how do you say this....a step too far, too fast. But given the world we now live in, this would go far in enabling our nations to defend each other in event of war, allow us to contribute to the security of Europe as well, and solidify our relations."
 
"This could not apply to war only," the Duke spoke up. "In events of natural disasters and similar circumstances in peacetime, our nations could speedily provide emergency aid and provisions."
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"I think the proposals you've outlined would form a solid foundation for our relationship. The trade agreement seems agreeable enough, and I do think a cultural exchange program would be beneficial. We're both European nations but our history and geography still have not made us as close as I believe our nations can and should be. We can include such a cultural clause in our agreement and I will make sure my education and culture ministers promote such action with Muscovy.

 

As far as security arrangements, the shared intelligence clause seems standard enough these days. The Northlands, too, has been hesitant with signing binding agreements, preferring optional assistance so far. However, recent incidents have made me pause to reconsider this. There's obvious incidents like Alvonia continuing to fight German ultranationalists next to our protectorate and France attempting to colonize everything under the sun. But there's also actions such as Sverige claiming all of Scandinavia and Italy subtly attempting to interfere with our settlement of the Azores and Madeira that have given us reason to question the motives of some of our neighbors. Hopefully these issues remain minor and ultimately not significant, but there's no harm with allying yourself with reasonable, friendly, like-minded nations in this world. As such, I support mutual defense between our nations, for both defense and natural disasters, between our nations. As you said, I believe this would bring stability to our nation's security as well as that of the region."

 

He beckoned for an official and asked him to bring copies of a treaty putting down in writing what they had agreed upon. While they were waiting for the man to return, the King continued the conversation, "Beyond relations between our nations, I'm curious how you feel with other nations in the area as well as Europe as a whole. I think some state are more keen than others on integration of European states and I was wondering what your foreign policy direction is, especially for this region."

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"The expansionary actions and sentiments of certain nations, especially the attempt by the Italians and the French to establish the exclusivity of a major trade and commerce route like the Mediterranean, poses a major concern and should be addressed," the Duke replied. "But other than that, Europe has been relatively peaceful so far, despite the outbreak of conflict like the Swedish-Novgorodian War and the ultranationalist question in Germany, from what I can see. Our relations with the other European states have been cordial and friendly so far, and we intend to keep it that way. We signed a trade and optional defense treaty with Ubersteinia, and are beginning the process of talks with Sverige, for instance.
 
As for integration of European states, I would support such initiative if it would serve as a basis of a more lasting peace in the Continent similar to the way the Congress of Vienna achieved for most of the nineteenth century -- that is, if European states can enter into dialogue to resolve potential disagreements or tensions, and marshal their resources accordingly to prevent or at least contain the incidence of war. And more importantly, we could strive to maintain a equitable balance of power and to prevent, or at least contain, the emergence of a hegemonic power on the Continent. This could form the core of Muscovy's foreign policy if it comes to pass, but at this time, we are focused on establishing and furthering relations with friendly states like the Northlands.
 
"May I inquire about your foreign policy direction and your views of Europe in general?"
Edited by JEDCJT
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"Your policy vision is similar to our own. We are somewhat skeptical of the expansionist policies of some nations however in general there has been little conflict in Europe this far. We believe that signing bilateral agreements with other nations concerning security agreements has been effective and we continue to seek friends on the continent. And we are eager to sign economic pacts as well and see this, as well as a forum for dialogue, as the foundation for further intracontinental cooperation."

 

A preliminary draft of a treaty between the Northlands and Muscovy was brought back into the room and copies were distributed to all parties. It put into writing what had been discussed at the meeting, including a mutual defense arrangement and economic and cultural agreements. "Please, let me know if there's anything you would like to change."

 

OOC: Do you have a treaty draft? Or else I can make one.

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The Grand Duke scanned over the draft and nodded in satisfaction. "Everything looks good. I shall sign." The Grand Duke and Foreign Minister Lavrov would duly scribble their signatures on the treaty draft. The Duchess would also sign, as an act of courtesy.
 

Preamble:
 
The Northlands, hereafter referred to as the Northlands, and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, hereafter referred to as Muscovy, shall agree to the following provisions laid out in this Treaty. Both nations, hereafter referred to as the Contracting Signatories, shall sign this Treaty in the hopes that greater relations would be attained for the greater peace, prosperity, and well-being of the Contracting Signatories.
 
Article I: Non-Aggression
 
a). The Contracting Signatories shall not undertake any aggressive or otherwise hostile actions against each other in any form. Such actions is defined, but not limited to, illegal espionage and destabilizing actions.
 
b). This clause shall not be construed as to restrict or otherwise prohibit healthy debate or productive disagreement.
 
Article II: Intelligence Sharing
 
The Contracting Signatories shall disclose and share any intelligence and information that pertain to each other.
 
Article III: Mutual Defense
 
a). The Contracting Signatories shall agree to defend each other from attacks by a hostile third power. If a Contracting Signatory is waging a defensive war, the other Contracting Signatory shall provide military, intelligence, economic, and civilian aid to the threatened nation.
 
b). A declaration of war in response to an earlier declaration of war by a Contracting Signatory, referred to as 'treaty-chaining', shall make such aid optional.
 
Article IV: Emergency Assistance
 
In the events of natural disasters and similar circumstances in peacetime that adversely affects one or both Contracting Signatories, the Contracting Signatories shall agree to speedily provide emergency aid and provisions to the other.
 
Article V: Trade
 
a). The Contracting Signatories shall undertake appropriate steps, actions, and policies to encourage and facilitate increased trade with each other.
 
b). Such steps, actions, and policies include, but are not limited to, the reduction or elimination, whenever applicable, of tariffs and other protective barriers, with exceptions for certain industries as determined by the Contracting Signatories.
 
Article VI: Cultural Exchange
 
a). The Contracting Parties shall undertake appropriate steps, actions, and policies to encourage and facilitate increased cultural interaction between their respective peoples.
 
b). Such steps, actions, and policies include, but are not limited to, the implementation of study-abroad programs, the relaxation of visa regimes, and other related measures.
 
Article VII: Cancellation
 
a). Should the Contracting Signatories wish to withdraw from the obligations of this Treaty, a notice shall be given at least thirty days in advance.
 
b). Should the Contracting Signatories violate the articles of this Treaty, or otherwise come to an insurmountable disagreement, a notice of cancellation shall be given at least thirty days in advance.
 

---


Signed for the Northlands,
King William IV

Signed for the Grand Duchy of Moscow,
Mikhail Romanov, Grand Duke
Tatiana Romanova, Grand Duchess
Vladimir Lavrov, Foreign Minister


OOC: Hope I did this right. If you want me to modify this or something, let me know. Edited by JEDCJT
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The King of the Northlands penned his name and nodded in approval. "This will be sent to the High Council first thing in the morning for it to be approved and officially ratified." OOC: Looks great! 

 

For the Northlands, 

King William IV

 

With business completed, William would continue to entertain his guests, discussing and learning more about them and their nation. A royal dinner had been planned with the Duke and Duchess as guests of honor, and it was expected to last well into the night. For the duration of their stay they would remain guests of the King and permitted free reign with a security detail provided by the Northlands. Impressed with his guests, William made plans to visit Muscovy in the coming months to reciprocate the visit.

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