The relationship between Osiris and Balder has recently reached a new low, with North East Somerset (NES), the King of Balder, announcing in a statement released on March 20 that the Pharaoh of Osiris, Dakota, has been declared as a persona non grata in Balder, and that Balder will no longer work with either Osiris or the raiding organization The Black Hawks so long as Dakota holds leadership roles in the two regions. This development follows the passage of bills in Osiris declaring NES as a persona non grata and declining to remove Balderan Crown Prince OnderKelkia’s persona non grata designation.
On March 20, the King of Balder, NES, released a strongly worded statement from the Balderan Crown covering the past ten months of relations between Balder and Osiris. NES stated that in May of 2020 Osiris reached out to Balder to discuss removing obstacles between the two regions and building a more positive and cooperative relationship. NES argued that the main obstacles between more positive relations between the two regions were “the absence of any public clarification that Osiris rejects the hostile actions and comments” its members had made towards Balder and its senior officials in 2018.
Such actions and comments included then-Pharaoh Altino calling on the then Queen of Balder Solorni, to attempt a coup against Balder, suggesting Balder was “subjected” by the Land of Kings and Emperors, and accusing NES of leaking information from an Osiris citizens-only discussion area. Balder viewed a public clarification disavowing these previous remarks as necessary for a future positive relationship. NES stated in his announcement that Osiris accepted these requested clarifications and said they would release a public statement soon.
However, no public statement was released regarding the clarification. NES claimed that Balder reached out to Osiris on three occasions to inquire about the lack of a statement. According to NES, Osiris initially said they were working on a statement, when asked a second time said they wished to remove the persona non grata designation on OnderKelkia to highlight their commitment to positive relations (something Balder did not request but warmly welcomed), and when asked a final third time informed Balder that real-life issues were slowing down the release.
NES claimed that Balder received no further communication from Osiris until he approached Dakota in February 2021 inquiring about the statement. He said that it became clear Osiris “had no intention of honouring the agreement made” but would neither accept nor reject the terms of the agreement. Dakota suggested that Osiris was unhappy at removing the persona non grata designation from OnderKelkia, despite the fact that, according to NES, they were the ones who wished to remove the designation in the first place in order to show their commitment.
In the remainder of the statement, NES blasted the Osiran government and Dakota’s conduct during recent discussions. He accused Osiris of not being “genuine or consistent” in their engagement “except for possibly the initial May 2020 conversation” and said that Osiris “failed to honor the agreement” and had “deliberately stalled.” He argued that instead of providing a clear answer when approached in February 2021, they chose instead to initiate a vote on declaring NES himself persona non grata without informing Balder.
Osiris also conducted a vote to remove OnderKelkia’s persona non grata designation “which they knew would not pass” and which the Pharaoh had suggested she opposed. Furthermore, NES concluded by accusing Dakota personally of demonstrating a “complete lack of honesty and integrity” and of “clearly attempting to delay or stall talks”. He suggested that Dakota was nominally attempting to work on improving relations during talks with Balder, but then decided to pursue a persona non grata designation against NES.
In response, Balder stated that they would declare Dakota as a persona non grata, and would not work with Osiris or The Black Hawks in any capacity as long as Dakota holds leadership roles in those organisations.
Osiris, despite its reputation for a usually very active public presence, has not released any response regarding the statement from Balder or the persona non grata designation placed upon its Pharaoh Dakota. Indeed, the only other government statement released was a short statement from the Europeian President Calvin Coolidge expressing support for their ally Balder and condemning the actions of Osiris.
The Balder Perspective: North East Somerset
NationStates Today reached out to both NES and Dakota for either an interview or comment about the recent events, and both have provided one to us. Below is our exclusive interview with NES about his statement, which has been lightly edited for readability.
What was the reason for releasing the dispatch? You mention trying to preemptively counter the Osiris strategy of drowning out opposition, but can you elaborate at all?
“Put yourself in my position. I took the personal initiative to undertake discussions (in good faith) with Dakota, to try and find a solution to the longstanding question of how they planned to honour the Agreement made between our regions last year. I was told to remain calm and patient, and that positive discussions within the Osiran government were underway. Next thing I knew, with no warning, I’m being PNGed. Given my historical dealings with these people, one becomes accustomed to them making fantastical allegations to justify their actions after the event – so I thought I’d comprehensively set the record straight with a detailed account of events before they had a chance to set a false narrative.”
What did you expect to accomplish by releasing this dispatch? It has been criticised as a bad move for Balder by some in Gameplay, so how do you counter that?
“Haha, well, some on NSGP are impossible to please on issues like this. There is a fairly small but extremely vocal group of Osiran cheerleaders there, who criticise everything that isn’t favourable to Osiris as a “bad move”. As HEM said to one such individual, in the Europeian embassy; “If this is truly what you believe, then your stance must be that nobody mustn’t ever say a negative word about Osiris under any circumstances.” I’m perfectly happy our statement has done the job of clarifying the situation and setting the facts straight as a starting point, which makes a traditional Osiran misinformation campaign more difficult.”
Can you paint a picture of the timeline of negotiations, and how long each ‘delay’ from Osiris was? And how often did Balder check on Osiris’s progress during the negotiations?
“I spoke to Dakota on the 11th, 13th, and 20th of February. At all times there were attempts to stall and avoid passing judgement on simple questions, especially the fundamental one of whether Osiris plans to honour the statement they agreed to last year. It wasn’t until the vote on PNGing myself appeared was it completely clear they wholeheartedly reject the agreement and had zero intention of honouring it though.”
Why did Balder wait over a year for a response from Osiris, instead of calling off negotiations earlier?
“The first point I’d make here is that it was Osiris who approached us last year. And we didn’t wait over a year. The discussions last year were around 9 months prior to me approaching Dakota here, but the intervening period was not devoid of contact. Following the discussions last year, Osiran officials interacted with the Balder Foreign Office repeatedly. They said that they were making good progress with a statement and it had only been held up due to RL reasons. Following the most recent change in Osiran leadership, I decided to personally inquire as to the current status of the Agreement and was determined not to be fobbed off and find out exactly where Osiris stood on this. Which I guess we did…”
You blast the PNG votes as “sham votes.” What makes these votes “sham” exactly?
“Dakota said she would try to repeal Onder’s PNG as a precursor to honouring the agreement, but actually, that whole process was a sham because it was clearly entirely disingenuous. It doesn’t look like she ever seriously supported repealing it, despite nominally initiating the process. This is demonstrated from the fact that at the same time she also put a motion forwards PNGing me. No justification of this has been made to me in any way, shape, or form.”
What kind of “positive representations” did Dakota make in Osiris to lead Balder on?
“As I just mentioned, Dakota said they wanted to look at repealing Onder’s PNG as a precursor to the Agreement. At the time I considered that a positive development, although in hindsight it seems to have just been a way to justify the rejection of the agreement, as probably Dakota never had any real intention that it would pass. But at the time that wasn’t clear to me. Dakota repeatedly talked about reaching a compromise, they never used language that indicated they wanted to cease the talks – they appeared to want to reach an agreement, right up to PNGing me.”
Could you further explain the reasoning for the dual ban of working with both Osiris and The Black Hawks? Some would argue this is both an over-reaction, and by removing The Black Hawks as a partner, it limits Balder’s influence on the world stage and ability to promote their interests.
“It’s partly a question of trust with regards to dealing with Dakota, who was our primary point of contact in TBH following the departure of Jakker. Given the seniority of their positions, it seems like a proportionate measure to me, and I disagree that it limits our influence militarily. Just have a look around, and it will soon become clear who is more limited by this. The status of TBH in terms of wider diplomatic issues came up repeatedly in our talks, not exclusively from my side, and it soon became clear the situation on their side was unavoidably intertwined between Osiris and TBH in their mind – even if they wanted the consequences of any fallout to be limited to Osiris, for their personal convenience.”
What “threats” Dakota referenced did you make, which resulted in your PNG?
“Our discussions were as far as I’m concerned based entirely around reasonable in-context discussions of the situation, so any “threats” were proportionate to the political and diplomatic situation in my opinion. I’m not aware why I was PNGed without any warning to that effect, nor precisely what the designation was made for, as Dakota has never designed it necessary to explain that to me!”
The Osiris Perspective: Dakota
Dakota also provided NationStates Today with an exclusive comment about both regions’ recent actions. It has also been lightly edited for readability.
“All in all with Balder, we just wanted a compromise of a clean slate for Balder and Osiris. A compromise didn’t work out, and when threats came into the conversation we decided to PNG the one making the threats. Ultimately we wish the region of Balder well. Despite Balder seeking to cut off Osiris, Osiris has no interest in trying to make anyone pick between Balder or us, and with Sekhmet [Osiris’s military] we maintain that we’d be okay working third party with Jomsvikings [Balder’s military].”
Warming of Relations Elsewhere
Balder has made another major foreign policy move recently, with a joint statement from Balder and the South Pacific announcing a statement of Détente between the two regions coming just days after Balder’s cessation of relations with Osiris. In the joint statement, Balder and the South Pacific acknowledge their past hostilities but, due to “developments” in both foreign and domestic affairs, accept that “respectful and open dialogue and interaction between our regions would be mutually beneficial.”
Official channels of communication will be opened between the two regions, with an in-game embassy now under construction. Both governments have pledged to respect the sovereignty of the other, and encourage mutual respect and understanding.