- "The Republic recognizes the tragedy of war, but there is nothing we can change that has already occurred."
"Say it aloud before this gathering—as representative for Chancellor Palpatine that you declare, without reservation, the Separatist state legitimate."
- ―Senators Padmé Amidala and Voe Atell
A peace conference took place around the second year of the Clone Wars on the neutral planet Mandalore between representatives of the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems in an effort to end the pan-galactic conflict. The conference was presided over by Duchess Satine Kryze within her royal palace in the New Mandalorian capital, Sundari. At the beginning of the meeting, Naboo's Senator Padmé Amidala opened up the discussions, leading the Republic senators in the peace negotiations, but she was quickly rebuffed by Senator Voe Atell, who called for the Republic to declare the Separatist Alliance legitimate. However, before the delegates could further discuss their terms of peace, Lux Bonteri, son of the late Onderonian senator Mina Bonteri, interrupted the summit. He announced to the politicians that it was Count Dooku, Head of State of the Confederacy, that had his mother murdered. This led young Bonteri to soon afterward be escorted out by Separatist security droids, allowing the discussion to continue. Shortly after his escape, however, the negotiations fell apart completely.
- "Members of the Senate, do you hear yourselves? More money, more clones, more war! Say nothing of fiscal responsibility, what about moral responsibility? Hasn't this war gone on long enough?"
Around 21 BBY, the second year of Clone Wars, there was a debate within the Galactic Senate over a bill to deregulate the InterGalactic Banking Clan, a commerce guild secretly allied with the Galactic Republic's current enemy, the Confederacy of Independent Systems. During the Senate session, Naboo Senator Padmé Amidala argued that the Senate's concern should not be continuing the war, but instead ending it peacefully—through possible negotiations with the Separatists. Her urging for peace, however, was met with rebukes from senators like Mot-Not Rab, who insisted that the war should continue and he called for an immediate vote on the financial reform bill. Nonetheless, unsettled disputes over the issue caused the voting of the bill to be postponed.
Following the first deregulation bill session, Amidala devised a plan on how to meet her old mentor Mina Bonteri, Senator of Onderon in the Separatist Parliament, and how to bypass a Republic law that prevented Republic senators from communicating with Separatist politicians. Through the help of Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, Amidala planned to use Tano's status as a Jedi—and her special clearance—to go behind enemy lines and to meet with Bonteri on the Confederate capital world of Raxus. After arriving at a spaceport within one of Raxus's cities, Amidala reunited with Bonteri and they left to Bonteri's lavish estate. While both senators were discussing about the prospect of the ongoing war, Amidala was able to persuade her old friend that the Galactic Senate would be open to negotiations if the Separatist Congress were to extend the olive branch first for peace. Despite Bonteri's motion for a peace proposal with the Republic was approved by the Parliament, the approval was later revoked by Confederate Head of State Count Dooku, after claiming that Republic carried out a supposed attack against the Separatists, killing Bonteri in the process. In addition, the Senate declined the offer of peace talks with the Separatists following the bombing of a Coruscant power generator.
- "I stand before you, son of Mina Bonteri, loyal Separatist, a patriot, friend… It has come to my attention, that my mother was murdered by Count Dooku in cold blood!"
- ―Lux Bonteri
The diplomatic process between the Confederacy and the Republic continued, with the planet Mandalore chosen as neutral ground for the first ever sanctioned meeting between the two states. Separatist Congress Leader Bec Lawise, alongside Senator Voe Atell and a Gossam senator made up the Separatist delegation for the peace conference, while the Republic representatives consisted of Senators Amidala, Mon Mothma of Chandrila and Bail Prestor Organa of Alderaan. Lawise and his colleagues brought commando droids for security purposes, and Senate Guards were to serve as bodyguards for the Republic delegation, although they were all required to be unarmed per New Mandalorian law.
Once all of the senators arrived at the Sundari Royal Palace within the New Mandalorian capital city of Sundari, Senator Amidala began the conference by opening the deliberations. Serving as representative for Chancellor Palpatine and the leading senator for the Republic delegation, she stated that despite the tragedy of war, there was nothing that the Republic could do that would change everything that had already happened since the conflict's beginning. After her opening statement, Senator Atell quickly pushed for the Republic to confer political legitimacy on the Confederacy, a recurring issue since the latter's birth as a separate state. Though Amidala and her party hesitated to meet Atell's demand, the talks were then interrupted by the uninvited arrival of Lux Bonteri, who had succeeded his mother, Mina, as the senator of Onderon before recently resigning his Parliament seat. Kryze granted the young Bonteri permission to speak, much to Lawise's and Atell's chagrin. Taking to the podium, Bonteri accused Dooku of having his mother murdered, a claim that was immediately met with opposition from Lawise. The Separatist Congress Leader denounced Bonteri's remarks as lies and had the security droids arrest the young man. Once Bonteri had been removed from the room, Lawise apologized on the Separatists' behalf for the interruption and reopened the floor to discussion. Though protocol dictated that Bonteri's arrest was strictly a Confederacy affair, and the Republic could not intervene on his behalf, Amidala did allow Tano to discreetly follow. Despite the resuming of the conference, the negotiations broke down shortly thereafter, on account of shadowy interests on both sides.
- "Ahsoka, Padmé just contacted me. She told me that the peace negotiations all but collapsed."
- ―Anakin Skywalker to Ahsoka Tano
Though the negotiations were failing, Tano was able to rescue Bonteri aboard a C-9979 landing craft, where he was to be executed by commando droids on orders from Dooku. After fleeing the landing craft, they were pursued by the Separatist security droids across the city until they escaped aboard a Republic vessel, the Phoenix, while the Senate Guards held off the droids.
- "The Corporate Alliance will never allow this to happen!"
- ―Voe Atell, in response to Mina Bonteri's bill for peace
A senator affiliated with the Corporate Alliance, Voe Atell spoke for the pan-galactic corporation in the Separatist Parliament. When Onderon's senatorial representative Mina Bonteri introduced a resolution that called for peaceful negotiations with the Republic, Atell rallied against her stance for peace, asserting that the Corporate Alliance would never support any such kind of diplomacy to end the war. One such fellow senator, Kerch Kushi, disputed her claim, stating that the Parliament was not ruled by the megacorporations, unlike that of the Galactic Senate. As per the By-Laws of Independent Systems, a voice vote for the matter, in which Atell voting nay against the bill for peace, however she along with others ultimately outvoted. Although she was initially staunchly opposed to diplomacy with the Republic, she later accepted afterward a place on the Separatist delegation at the first-ever peace conference between the CIS and the Republic, which was to take place on Mandalore. At these meetings, Atell pushed for recognition of the Confederacy's legitimacy. Naboo's Padmé Amidala, leading Republic delegate, was hesitant to meet her demands, and the discussions later collapsed.
Behind the scenes
The conference made its first appearance in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars fourth season episode "A Friend in Need." Though the episode briefly stated that the negotiations broke down, it wasn't until Mon Mothma's entry in the Encyclopedia that further explained that the meeting fell through due to obstructions from covert interests on both sides.
Notes and references
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
- ↑ Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (HEA1, Z-95 Headhunter) dates "Darkness on Umbara" to late 21 BBY, while The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 57 (EVA1–2, Moralo Eval) dates "Deception" to 21 BBY. Since places "A Friend in Need" between those two episodes, it can be concluded that "A Friend in Need" also takes place in 21 BBY.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1
- ↑ 7.0 7.1
- ↑ 8.0 8.1
- ↑ 9.0 9.1
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Pursuit of Peace"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1
- ↑ 14.0 14.1