The Princess Summit

Ever since the rise of the Kingdom of France to the world stage, relations between it and the rest of the world had been strange. The initial rise of the French Queen seemed to set the stage for a massive European war, as revanchist French monarchs with a great skill for war so often did, however after securing her borders the lack of any provocative action was surprising to the Athenian Federation. Even more surprising was when only weeks later while Athens was fighting to safe its citizens the French were there together with the Poles. Finally even in the Byzantine League France had shown itself a promising partner. With all of these events transpiring the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had begun setting the stage for a bilateral meeting, first on lower levels and eventually moving up with the eventual goal of bringing about a bilateral alliance. Athens still wanted France to join the Byzantine League in the longterm but something was needed in the shortterm. While things were still deemed too sensitive for the Empress and Queen to meet directly, one of the many similarities appeared to be the great trust both monarchs placed in their siblings. With that in mind the second best kind of meeting had been arranged. A meeting between the Dauphine of France and the Crown Princess of Macedon. Valletta had been chosen as the site of the momentous occassion, being located roughly between the two countries and due to only recently shifting from military governorship to regular rule still highly discrete it was perfect for such a meeting. After all for now press was not a welcome guest.

As Elena Amalia sat in the front of the Hellenic Air Force ACJ TwoTwenty (Usually used by Air Force generals which provided the perfect cover to hide the Princess’ presence, rather than the usual A380 the Imperial family would use) she looked over all the files her sister had given her to prepare for the summit ahead of her. The Kingdom of France was certainly an interesting country, in many ways having reverted to the feudal era it mysteriously still managed to bring about a functional state. And certainly one more stable than the warring period that immediately preceded it and saw France lose its centuries-held dominion over Europe. After the plane landed at King Philip IV International Airport (recently renamed by the new Maltese Princess in honour of Elena’s father), Elena Amalia would be escorted outside by the Imperial Guard and transferred into an armoured car immediately which would take them the final stretch of the trip to The Palace.

While The Palace might have lacked some of the excess of the Imperial Palace or the Palace of Versailles, it definitely still had plenty of luxury and was in many ways more secure than either of those. One of the advantages of being built on an island that spent most of its history being sieged or conquerred by one regional power or another. As the car stopped well within the security perimeter where no press was allowed Princess Nora and her Serene Guard would stand ready to welcome Elena Amalia.

“Nora!” The latter spoke excitedly as she got out of her car and approached her childhood friend. “Lena!” Nora replied as she embraced the Greek imperial. “It is so good to see you, the Maltese sun really suits you” She added after she let go of Elena again.

“Not as much as it suits you, you look like one of the goddesses.” Elena said before turning to business, time for fun was available later. “Have you heard from the French yet?”

“The Serene Guard has just informed me that one of their patrols has made contact with the plane carrying the Dauphine. She should be here within one to two hours”

“Excellent, let’s go inside then so we can wait for our guest”

@Jeanne

As the plane made the final descent at Valletta Nathalie was rather excited. Unlike her older sister she was a lot more interested in fun and having a good time and while the streets of Paris or even her own Toulouse were certainly marvellous, at some point the adventuring spirit wanted to see something new. In many ways she regretted that her first formal trip as a diplomat for her country wouldn’t take her to Athens or Byzantion or any of the other legendary cities of the Athenian Federation, but Valletta had its own appeal. And hopefully after today, there would be plenty of opportunities for that.

Appreciating the Athenian insistence on secrecy and in general just happy to finally be given a seat at the global table, France had happily agreed to make the earlier talks and now this summit secret. With full control of the press the French had a decidedly easier time keeping the trip a secret and once in Malta the arrangements made by the Athenians and local Maltese was more than sufficient to take care of their needs.

Caught in her daydreams about what the summit was going to be like, Nathalie barely even noticed that her personal ACJ350 had landed at the airport. Not as luxurious as the Queen’s A380 or upgraded Concorde, the Princess still definitely flew in style. Once landed she would change out of her comfortable in flight clothing and into a semi-formal red dress. While the open back might be considered risque for a diplomatic visit, Nathalie would rely on the stereotypes concerning the Occitans and the rumours she heard that the Greek Crown Princess herself was quite the fashionable type.

Just as she finished putting on her make-up and jewelry she heard a knock on the door to her cabin. “Madam la Dauphine, are you ready?” Pierre, her personal bodyguard from the Queen’s Guard asked

“Yes, thank you Pierre. I’ll be out in a minute” She answered while looking at herself one more time in the mirror and before leaving the plane with her 7-person security detail as the Athenian Imperial Guard or Maltese Serene Guard undoubtedly had the vehicles ready to take them to The Palace.

@Alexander

As the Dauphine expected, the Serene Guard had been well prepared and had a convoy ready to take her to the Palace under the optimum discretion. Once there like the Crown Princess she would only leave the car with darkened windows well after the security perimeter that ruled out any press securing images. From there the Dauphine would be escorted inside and taken to the central room where the Princess of Malta and the Crown Princess were catching up on various topics. Immediately upon her entry being announced Elena would get up and approach the Dauphine. “Your Highness, it is an absolute pleasure to finally meet you in person. I have read a lot about you” She said, her voice full of youth and excitement at the opportunity entrusted to her.

Nora struggled to hold back a laugh at the attitude of her friend and Crown Princess as she approached the two women. “Welcome to my palace, Your Highness. I trust the Serene Guard has taken care of you properly. I will leave you two to discuss your matters now. Take as long as you need but when you want to finish for the day the staff has prepared rooms for both of you” She said as she bowed slightly before leaving the room. Considering the nature of the topics neither the Serene Guard, the Imperial Guard or the Queen’s Guard would be allowed inside to grant the Dauphine and Crown Princess ultimate privacy.

Nathalie was a bit stunned at first by the rather cheery attitude of the Greek but in a positive way, she had expected a more boring exchange but this definitely promised to be a good start of talks.

“The pleasure is all mine, Crown Princess. The Athenian Federation has in a very short time made a very big name for itself so being here feels truly special” She replied with a smile before the Maltese host joined them.

“Thank you, your Serene Highness. Yes your people have been more than great and the welcome has left nothing to be desired” She said before the woman left the room and them in full privacy.

“It looks like we have the room all to ourselves” Nathalie said while she took a seat. “Let’s do some secret plotting, or whatever it is adult politicians do” She added somewhat jokingly.

Elena would sit back down herself opposite Nathalie on the relatively small table. “Yes, the Empress has asked me to specifically introduce a few topics in our conversation. The rise of your Queen to power had originally caused some concern with the government but your recent actions have convinced even the worst conservatives that an alliance with France would be great for Athens. It might be a bit unorthodox but I’d like to just put all our cards on the table so that we can proceed in an honest way.” She said before taking a glass of water from a tray that aides had left earlier. After drinking some of the water she would continue. “The Athenian Federation wants multiple things diplomatically. First we want the Mediterranean to be a safe sea and fully under the control of people we consider friends. Second we want to have a global reach. France provides the tools for both of these things to happen. As such, the Athenian Federation is willing to sign a security treaty with the Kingdom of France, at the same time we are also willing to sponsor your full membership in the Byzantine League and share technological innovations both in space and on Earth with you. In return we would like the ability to use your territories spread throughout the world. Concretely speaking we would like to buy the Kerguelen Islands, Martinique and the Austral Islands for 15 International Standard Units and permission to construct bases on Saint Pierre and Miquelon, New Caledonia and Guiana. The former would actually transfer to the Athenian Federation in this case while for the latter we would just lease the territory of the base. Of course in return French military forces would be free to use any military base within the Athenian Federation”

Nathalie listened carefully, the Athenians were certainly asking much but in return they were offering France something almost invaluable. Legitimacy. On the homefront the deal wouldn’t be hard to arrange, all overseas territories were property of the Queen so they wouldn’t need to worry about any Lord or Lady getting uppity about losing their land. Beyond that the technology sharing and entry into the Byzantine League would instantly elevate France to a global power. Especially once all the security concerns to the south and east were dealt with. While empowering Athens with its own global reach could turn it into a global rival longterm, for now it seemed like there was little harm in the matter.

“These are terms that I can agree to and I am sure my sister will also support” Nathalie said while hesitating for a moment about bringing up a related topic this soon. “You mention a desire for security in the Mediterranean. The Kingdom of France is also concerned about the sea. As long as the entirety of it is not under allied control, there is always a vulnerable opening where we are open to enemy attack. Even once we join the League as full members, North Africa still opens a massive hole in our defences, and one where we can’t even control all entries by sea. Now I may have a solution to fix this matter, though for obvious reasons it can not be a public clause. The Kingdom of France has a long history ruling Algeria, meanwhile Athens can cite a historic claim for taking over Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. What I would like to propose is a secret clause in our treaty splitting North Africa at the Tunisian/Libyan-Algerian border. The west will be annexed by France, the east will be annexed by Athens. With the exception of territory already owned by the Iberian Union or Israel of course. If our militaries join forces we can easily overwhelm any defenders”

Elena was excited that the French were so willing to agree to her proposal, they had certainly worried the island purchase would be more difficult but then again France did have enough islands that a few less here and there wouldn’t really matter. The proposal for the secret clause fit Athens’ greater plans for the Middle East just fine. While Athens original goal was to also annex Algeria, this small change was something Athanasia would be more than fine with. Especially as it made the actual military feat of defeating Jordan, Egypt, Liberia, Tunisia and Algeria much more feasible. “Both the content of the clause and the secrecy of it seems fine to me” She said as she took a laptop from the other side of the table and quickly made some changes to the document already open. Once she was done she would move it to the Dauphine for approval. “What do you think of this text?”

Treaty of Friendship Between the Athenian Federation and Kingdom of France

Introduction
The Athenian Federation and the Kingdom of France (hereafter known as the signatories) have today signed this treaty of friendship. The security, prosperity and development of the Mediterranean region, Europe and Africa are topics of great concern to both states and in the spirit of enhancing all these we today come together.

Article I
The signatories agree to resolve all possible disputes that might arise between the two states diplomatically. Conflict between the signatories is entirely unacceptable and must be avoided at all cost. In recognition of its obligations to the Byzantine League, the Kingdom of France furthermore agrees to refrain from any conflict with members of the Byzantine League to avoid a conflict in the Athenian obligations.

Article II
The signatories agree to share any information relevant to the security of the other country with that country upon obtaining such information. The intelligence organizations of the signatories will develop systems to ease speedy communication.

Article III
The signatories agree that an attack on one country will be considered an attack on both countries. Upon the request of the attacked country, the other must immediately provide any support requested.

Article IV
The Kingdom of France will sell the islands known as the Kerguelen Islands, Martinique, and the Austral Islands to the Athenian Federation upon payment of 15 International Standard Units to the Kingdom of France by the Athenian Federation. Where inhabited any French citizens of the islands must retain full rights and if requested by them must be offered migration to other territories paid by the Athenian Federation. Any residents of the islands must be offered Imperial citizenship within the Athenian Federation.

Article V
The Kingdom of France will grant a 999 year lease on territory on Saint Pierre and Miquelon, New Caledonia, and Guiana for the construction of military bases to the Athenian Federation. The territory under these bases will remain French, however the territory itself will be considered extraterritorial.

Article VI
The signatories agree that the Athenian Federation may not launch any aggressive operations against the Kingdom of France from any region mentioned in Articles 4 and 5 of this agreement. If this article is violated, the territory mentioned in article 4 shall immediately revert to French ownership and the leases mentioned in article 5 shall immediately expire.

Article VII
The signatories agree that the armed forces of both signatories may station forces in or pass through the territory of the other and use existing facilities. This includes ground, air space, territorial waters and any infrastructure beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Article VIII
The signatories agree that members of the armed forces officially passing through or stationed in the territory of the other will be considered extraterritorial. The signatories will sign an administrative agreement regulating the prosecution of crimes by visiting or stationed forces within six months from this treaty entering into effect.

Article IX
This treaty may be cancelled by either country providing one month notice to the other country. Upon expiry of the notice period, the provisions of this treaty with the exception of articles 4, 5 and 6 shall cease to be in effect.

Signatories
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty.

FOR THE ATHENIAN FEDERATION,
Her Highness Elena Amalia, Crown Princess of the Queendom of Macedon

FOR THE KINGDOM OF FRANCE,
Her Royal Highness Nathalie of the House Phénix, Lady of Toulouse, Lady Paramount of Aquitaine, Dauphine of France

Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Treaty of Friendship Between the Athenian Federation and Kingdom of France

Introduction
The Athenian Federation and Kingdom of France agree that this protocol will be considered part of the Treaty of Friendship Between the Athenian Federation and Kingdom of France and enter into effect upon that treaty doing so.

Article I
The existence of this protocol will be deemed a state secret at the highest level of secrecy in either country and will be publicly denied. Regardless of its secrecy it will be binding upon the signatories.

Article II
The signatories agree that the initiation of hostilities by either country against a country in the territories generally known as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria will create an obligation to the other country to provide all support required by the attacker.

Article III
The signatories agree that the territory known as Algeria belongs to the Kingdom of France.

Article IV
The signatories agree that the territories known as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia belong to the Athenian Federation.

Article V
The protocol shall expire upon the cancellation of the Treaty of Friendship Between the Athenian Federation and Kingdom of France or three months after ownership over the territories mentioned in articles 3 and 4 have transferred to their rightful owner.

Signatories
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Protocol.

FOR THE ATHENIAN FEDERATION,
Her Highness Elena Amalia, Crown Princess of the Queendom of Macedon

FOR THE KINGDOM OF FRANCE,
Her Royal Highness Nathalie of the House Phénix, Lady of Toulouse, Lady Paramount of Aquitaine, Dauphine of France

After reading both documents very closely Nathalie nodded in approval. “These look great, I will gladly sign them and have them ratified by the Queen as soon as I return to Paris”