"While the process will be extremely difficult, I am hopeful that an agreement can be made," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Jane Hanover in a prepared statement. "Our first goal is a cease-fire, followed by the long term goal of stabilizing the region."
After hearing about the possibility of negotiations between the longstanding enemies, Hanover, supported by President Marie Bricks, jumped at the opportunity to offer the Lego Republic as a neutral location. The talks will be held in an unidentified town in the Republic; the specific location will be revealed to the media once the talks begin. Although both the Federation and AIM have pledged to respect the safety of all diplomats involved in the negotiations, security will be a primary concern for the duration of the talks. LR security forces will be deployed at the diplomats' hotels and at the site of the discussions.
In addition to hosting, Lego Republic diplomats will serve as mediators for discussions between the Federation and AIM. While vast differences remain between the two, it is hoped that LR diplomats will be able to collaborate with the AIM and Federation representatives to work towards an acceptable compromise.
At the conference, the AIM will be represented by an unnamed delegate with two aides; these diplomats' identities were not revealed to protect themselves and their families. The Federation of Legopolis will be represented by Chief Minister of the Department of Internal Affairs John Roberts and Rear Admiral James Nelson. Lego Republic diplomats' names have not yet been released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The AIM-Federation conflict has been active for several years since the AIM, a separatist rebel group based on the island of Ancarta, was founded in 2011 in response to perceived violations of Ancartans' rights by the Legopolis government. Tensions have risen in the past few months as allegations of minifig rights abuses by Federation military forces have surfaced. The anti-secrecy organization Brikileaks, reporter Chuck Charles, and the AIM's claims were swiftly refuted by the Legopolis regime, which has vowed to prevent atrocities from being committed. In December, AIM rebels assassinated Colonel Hochstetter, the military governor of Ancarta. The killing was quickly followed by bombing runs on local villages, declared to be "military targets," by Legopolis. The validity of that claim, however, is dubious at best, and could not be verified. This past week, the MinifigJournal announced that negotiations were in the works, and that the only hurdle was finding a suitable location.