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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 67, 00-04-04

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 4, No. 67, 4 April 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SANCTIONS FORMER MINISTER'S DETENTION...
  • [02] ...GIVES GO-AHEAD FOR ENERGY PRIVATIZATION
  • [03] ARMENIAN JOURNALISTS UNION PROTESTS KARABAKH COLLEAGUE'S
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT POSTPONES PLANNED VISIT TO TURKEY
  • [05] RUSSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION POSTPONES TALKS WITH GEORGIA
  • [06] GEORGIA, GREECE SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT
  • [07] VETERAN GEORGIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE ASSAULTED
  • [08] CHINESE OFFICIAL VOWS TO RESOLVE OIL COMPANY DISPUTE WITH
  • [09] KAZAKH OPPOSITION NEWSPAPERS CRITICIZED
  • [10] KYRGYZ LEADERSHIP REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIZATION...
  • [11] ...AS ARRESTED OPPOSITION LEADER CONTINUES HUNGER STRIKE
  • [12] UZBEK SPECIALISTS SAY CONTRABAND RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL NOT

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [13] U.S. HAILS ARREST OF KRAJISNIK
  • [14] BELGRADE SLAMS 'GENOCIDE AGAINST SERBIAN PEOPLE'
  • [15] MIXED REACTION FROM SERBIAN OPPOSITION
  • [16] BOSNIAN SERBS SHAKEN BY KRAJISNIK'S ARREST
  • [17] WARM WORDS FROM SARAJEVO FOR SFOR
  • [18] MIXED FEELINGS AMONG ELECTION MONITORS, KOSOVARS
  • [19] PETRIC SACKS HERZEGOVINIAN POLICE CHIEF
  • [20] IS DJUKANOVIC COOPTING MILOSEVIC'S MILITARY OPPONENTS?
  • [21] ROMANIAN PREMIER SAYS 'NO SECOND TERM IN OFFICE'
  • [22] ROMANIAN GENERAL SENT TO PRISON FOR 1989 SOLDIERS' DEATHS
  • [23] MAIN ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CONCLUDES AGREEMENT WITH
  • [24] BULGARIA, ROMANIA CALL FOR RAPID CLEAN-UP OF DANUBE
  • [25] LIBYA AGAIN POSTPONES BULGARIANS' TRIAL

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [26] KALININGRAD'S FUTURE WHEN THE EU EXPANDS

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SANCTIONS FORMER MINISTER'S DETENTION...

    Deputies voted overwhelmingly on 4 April to lift the immunity

    of former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghian to allow him to

    be taken into custody, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 March 2000). Prosecutor-General Boris

    Nazarian said the measure is necessary because Siradeghian is

    threatening witnesses and trying to prolong his trial, which

    began in September 1999. He is charged with ordering several

    contract killings during the early 1990s. Siradeghian was not

    present at the 4 April parliamentary session. His close

    associates told RFE/RL he had left the country the previous

    day, anticipating the outcome of the vote. LF

    [02] ...GIVES GO-AHEAD FOR ENERGY PRIVATIZATION

    On 3 April,

    deputies finally defeated a long-standing opposition

    initiative to halt the ongoing privatization of the country's

    four regional energy distribution networks, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. That privatization is one of the

    preconditions for continued disbursement of World Bank loans.

    Five international companies are participating in the tender

    for those networks, which are to be sold in two packages,

    First Deputy Energy Minister Karen Galstian told journalists

    the same day. Galstian said no single bidder will be

    permitted to acquire more than a 51 percent stake in either

    package, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and

    Development will purchase up to 20 percent, according to

    Noyan Tapan. The majority Miasnutiun parliamentary faction

    was divided over the merits of privatization. Most deputies

    from the Republican Party of Armenia voted against the

    opposition bill, regarding it as a challenge to Prime

    Minister Aram Sargsian's economic policies, but their

    colleagues from the People's Party of Armenia supported the

    opposition initiative. LF

    [03] ARMENIAN JOURNALISTS UNION PROTESTS KARABAKH COLLEAGUE'S

    ARREST

    The Union of Journalists of Armenia issued a

    statement on 3 April expressing concern at the arrest of

    Vahram Aghajanian, a journalist for the opposition Karabakh

    newspaper "Tasnerord nahang," Armenpress reported. The law

    enforcement agencies of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh

    Republic have not said why Aghajanian was detained in

    Stepanakert last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 March 2000).

    But a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said he was taken

    into custody for "obstructing the implementation of martial

    law," which has been in force in the enclave since 1992. The

    statement said that Aghajanian's earlier criticism of the

    Karabakh authorities does not constitute grounds for his

    detention. Also on 3 April, deputies from the Armenian

    parliament's Right and Accord faction, which supports

    arrested former Karabakh Defense Minister Samvel Babayan,

    told a Yerevan press conference that the Karabakh authorities

    are attempting to muzzle Aghajanian because they disapprove

    of his reporting, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT POSTPONES PLANNED VISIT TO TURKEY

    Heidar Aliev will not visit Turkey on 17-18 April because the

    planned celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman

    Empire has been postponed, Turan reported on 3 April, quoting

    presidential administration official Novruz Mamedov. LF

    [05] RUSSIAN MILITARY DELEGATION POSTPONES TALKS WITH GEORGIA

    A

    delegation from the Russian Ministry of Defense has postponed

    indefinitely talks in Tbilisi on handing over to the Georgian

    authorities properties that belong to the Russian military,

    Caucasus Press reported. Fourteen properties were to be

    selected from a list of 44 , agreed on during talks last year

    between Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze and his

    Russian counterpart, Igor Sergeev (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24

    August 1999). But implementation of that agreement has been

    delayed by Russia's reluctance to hand over a military

    airfield to the Georgian side. LF

    [06] GEORGIA, GREECE SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT

    Georgian

    and Greek Defense Ministry officials have signed an agreement

    on cooperation in 2000 within the framework of the NATO

    Partnership for Peace program and on the participation of

    officers from each country acting as observers during

    maneuvers in the other country, Caucasus Press reported on 3

    April. Greece undertook to cover all expenses involved in

    that participation. LF

    [07] VETERAN GEORGIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE ASSAULTED

    National

    Independence Party of Georgia Chairman Irakli Tsereteli was

    attacked and beaten in Tbilisi on the night of 3-4 April

    while returning home after giving an interview to Georgian

    National television, Caucasus Press reported. Tsereteli is

    one of the leaders of the Center for Georgia's Freedom and

    Independence, which advocates a nationwide boycott of the

    presidential elections scheduled for 9 April. LF

    [08] CHINESE OFFICIAL VOWS TO RESOLVE OIL COMPANY DISPUTE WITH

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Hu Yaobin, vice president of the Chinese National

    Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), told journalists in Almaty on 3

    April that the ongoing dispute between that corporation and

    sacked employees of the Aqtobe-Munaigaz company in northwest

    Kazakhstan will be resolved in the near future, RFE/RL's

    correspondent in the former capital reported. Some 2,000

    workers at that facility are demanding compensation and/or

    reinstatement after being dismissed when the CNPC acquired a

    60 percent stake in Aqtobe-Munaigaz in 1998 (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 31 January and 2 March 2000). Also on 3 April, a

    senior Aqtobe-Munaigaz official told Interfax that the

    company plans to increase output from last year's 2.3 million

    tons, of which 370,000 were exported to China, to 2.5 million

    tons this year and 3 million tons in 2001. LF

    [09] KAZAKH OPPOSITION NEWSPAPERS CRITICIZED

    The latest issue of

    the newspaper "Altyn orda," which is the mouthpiece of the

    pro-presidential OTAN party, has published harsh criticism of

    several opposition newspapers, including "Soldat" and XXI

    vek," RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported on 4 April. Those

    papers are accused of bias toward former Prime Minister

    Akezhan Kazhegeldin and of receiving financial support from

    him. LF

    [10] KYRGYZ LEADERSHIP REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIZATION...

    Presidential spokesman Osmonakun Ibraimov told journalists in

    Bishkek on 3 April that President Askar Akaev intends to draw

    lessons from the shortcomings of the February-March

    parliamentary poll in order to ensure that they are not

    repeated during the presidential election later this year,

    RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. Ibraimov said

    that Akaev remains committed to further democratization. Also

    on 3 April, Akaev's adviser Askar Aitmatov told journalists

    that preparations are under way for a round-table discussion

    under the aegis of the OSCE between the country's leadership

    and the opposition. LF

    [11] ...AS ARRESTED OPPOSITION LEADER CONTINUES HUNGER STRIKE

    Ar-

    Namys party chairman Feliks Kulov told two Russian television

    channels on 3 April that his health is deteriorating as a

    result of the hunger strike he began on 22 March, RFE/RL's

    Bishkek bureau reported. Kulov said he is allowed to meet

    with his lawyer, but not with members of his family. LF

    [12] UZBEK SPECIALISTS SAY CONTRABAND RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL NOT

    WEAPONS-GRADE

    Nuclear scientists in Tashkent said on 3 April

    that the 10 containers of radio-active material intercepted

    on the Kazakh-Uzbek border four days earlier could not be

    used to manufacture nuclear weapons, Interfax reported. The

    materials were destined for Pakistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    3 April 2000). RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported that the cargo

    was loaded by a private Kazakh company in Shymkent, southern

    Kazakhstan. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [13] U.S. HAILS ARREST OF KRAJISNIK

    U.S. Ambassador to the UN

    Richard Holbrooke, who was also the architect of the 1995

    Dayton Bosnian peace agreement, called SFOR's arrest of

    former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik on 3 April "the

    best news in five years" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 April

    2000). Holbrooke noted that Krajisnik's extradition to The

    Hague "is a major blow to the separatists, racists, and

    murderers who have been trying to thwart the concept [of

    Bosnia as a single nation] that is at the heart" of the

    Dayton agreement, Reuters reported. In Washington, State

    Department spokesman James Rubin noted that only by assigning

    "individual responsibility [for war crimes] can collective

    responsibility be expunged." He added that "today's arrest

    sends a message to Mr. [Radovan] Karadzic that time is

    against him and that the international community will not let

    up in its efforts to bring him to justice," AP reported.

    Karadzic, who is one of the two most senior Bosnian Serb war

    criminals still at large, should "get even less sleep

    [following Krajisnik's arrest] than he's been getting up to

    now," Rubin said. PM

    [14] BELGRADE SLAMS 'GENOCIDE AGAINST SERBIAN PEOPLE'

    The

    Yugoslav Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 3 April that

    the arrest of Krajisnik "clearly shows that NATO continues

    its policy of genocide against the Serbian people," Reuters

    reported. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist

    Party (SPS) said in a statement that "by this act, SFOR

    showed itself to be a mere occupation force directed against

    the interests of the Republika Srpska and the Dayton peace

    accord." The SPS argued that NATO used "cowboy principles" to

    strengthen the position of Bosnian Serb moderates led by

    Prime Minister Milorad Dodik. PM

    [15] MIXED REACTION FROM SERBIAN OPPOSITION

    Vuk Draskovic's

    Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) said that the 3 April arrest

    is "worthy of condemnation from a legal, political, and any

    other kind of standpoint," "Vesti" reported from Belgrade.

    Referring to the fact that Krajisnik's arrest was based on a

    secret indictment, the SPO added that such indictments are

    not used as the basis for arrests "in any single Western

    country." The party called attention to the timing of the

    arrest, which took place shortly before the 8 April Bosnian

    local elections. But Vladan Batic of the Alliance for Change

    said that everyone must recognize that the Hague-based war

    crimes tribunal is a "cruel reality" of political life in the

    former Yugoslavia. He noted that the Dayton agreement commits

    all signatories to cooperating with The Hague and that

    Milosevic is among the signatories. Batic wondered when

    Milosevic, whom the tribunal has indicted for war crimes,

    will be arrested and sent for trial. PM

    [16] BOSNIAN SERBS SHAKEN BY KRAJISNIK'S ARREST

    Dodik said in

    Banja Luka on 3 April that he had nothing to do with the

    arrest of Krajisnik or its timing. He suggested that

    responsibility lies with Krajisnik's own Serbian Democratic

    Party (SDS), for which he had been campaigning, "Vesti"

    reported. Dodik stressed that the SDS has been a constant

    source of trouble in Bosnian politics, adding that he hopes

    the party will soon "meet its end." Bosnian Serb Vice

    President Mirko Sarovic said that the arrest of Krajisnik

    violates "all resolutions and other measures [approved by]

    the UN's Security Council" on Bosnia. He added that in making

    the arrest, SFOR showed that it "is not preserving the peace

    but rather violating the basis of human rights and freedom"

    in Bosnia. Jovan Mitrovic of former President Biljana

    Plavsic's Serbian National Alliance said the arrest was

    "directed against the Serbian people." The SDS said in a

    statement that it has responded to the latest developments

    "peacefully and with dignity." Zivko Radisic, who succeeded

    Krajisnik on the Bosnian joint presidency in 1998, wondered

    "who is next" on The Hague's list, "Oslobodjenje" reported.

    PM

    [17] WARM WORDS FROM SARAJEVO FOR SFOR

    Adnan Jahic, who is a

    spokesman for Alija Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action,

    said in Sarajevo on 3 April that Krajisnik's arrest gives one

    reason to hope that the arrest of Karadzic and General Ratko

    Mladic is not far off, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. Jacques Klein, who is the UN's chief representative

    in Bosnia, called Krajisnik "the most persistent extremist

    and xenophobic individual with whom I had to deal," Reuters

    reported. Klein added that Krajisnik "robbed his own

    people.... He personally profited [from war and suffering

    through his business deals]. It is always easy to mislead

    people under the [banner] of nationalism," Klein concluded.

    PM

    [18] MIXED FEELINGS AMONG ELECTION MONITORS, KOSOVARS

    A

    spokeswoman for the OSCE, which is organizing and monitoring

    the 8 April elections, said in Sarajevo on 3 April that "we

    believe that the people from the Republika Srpska want

    elections free of violence. People should just go and vote."

    But in Split, OSCE officials said privately that they fear

    for the safety of their several hundred monitors in the

    Republika Srpska. In Prishtina, one Kosovar spokesman told

    "RFE/RL Newsline" that Krajisnik's arrest means that "there

    is one [war criminal] off to The Hague, but what about the

    rest?" A second spokesman said that he fears the

    international community will now concentrate its efforts on

    arresting Bosnian war criminals and will neglect bringing to

    justice those responsible for atrocities in Kosova in 1998

    and 1999. The spokesman added: "Milosevic has the blood of

    two million people on his hands. When will NATO go after

    him?" PM

    [19] PETRIC SACKS HERZEGOVINIAN POLICE CHIEF

    Wolfgang Petritsch,

    who is the international community's chief civilian

    representative in Bosnia, has fired Ante Barisic as chief of

    police in Canton 10, which includes the Livno region, a

    Croatian nationalist stronghold. Petritsch charged that the

    ethnic Croatian police chief did nothing over a period of

    many months to stop attacks on Serbs and Muslims,

    "Oslobodjenje" reported on 4 April. PM

    [20] IS DJUKANOVIC COOPTING MILOSEVIC'S MILITARY OPPONENTS?

    The

    "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" reported on 4 April that the three

    generals who are advising the Montenegrin leadership on

    military affairs are opposed to Milosevic, who previously

    sacked them on account of their political views (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 3 April 2000). Former deputy air force chief

    General Blagoje Grahovac advises President Milo Djukanovic,

    while General Radoslav Martinovic, who formerly commanded the

    Second Army in Montenegro, works with Prime Minister Filip

    Vujanovic. Former military intelligence chief Nedeljko

    Boskovic advises Vukasin Maras, who is Djukanovic's police

    chief. In addition, some 300 "middle-ranking" army officers

    have applied to join Djukanovic's paramilitary police, the

    Munich-based daily added. PM

    [21] ROMANIAN PREMIER SAYS 'NO SECOND TERM IN OFFICE'

    Mugur

    Isarescu told Antena 1 private television channel on 3 April

    that he will not agree to head another cabinet after the

    elections scheduled for this fall, Romanian Radio reported on

    4 April. Isarescu said he might return to the post of

    National Bank governor but might also "go the private sector,

    possibly the media." MS

    [22] ROMANIAN GENERAL SENT TO PRISON FOR 1989 SOLDIERS' DEATHS

    The Supreme Court on 3 April sentenced Dumitru Draghin to

    eight years in prison for "negligence" and "manslaughter,"

    RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. On 22 December 1989, the

    military unit defending the Bucharest international airport

    under Draghin's command opened fire against another unit that

    had responded to its call for reinforcement. Apparently,

    Draghin's unit had feared a "terrorist attack" during the

    first day of the anti-Ceausescu uprising. Fifty soldiers were

    killed and 13 wounded. The court ruled that Draghin should

    have ensured that the two units were aware of each other's

    position. It also ruled that Draghin and the Defense Ministry

    must pay 1.5 billion lei ($77 million) to relatives of the

    deceased as compensation. The ministry said it will appeal

    that part of the sentence. MS

    [23] MAIN ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CONCLUDES AGREEMENT WITH

    FRINGE LIBERALS

    Ion Iliescu, leader of the Party of Social

    Democracy in Romania, and Radu Campeanu, who heads the extra-

    parliamentary National Liberal Party-Campeanu Wing, signed an

    agreement on 31 March to join forces for the local elections

    scheduled for this summer. Under the agreement, the two

    formations will support the best-placed candidate in runoffs

    but will run separately in the elections. They will also

    examine the possibility of cooperating in the parliamentary

    elections scheduled for the fall, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau

    reported. MS

    [24] BULGARIA, ROMANIA CALL FOR RAPID CLEAN-UP OF DANUBE

    In a 2

    April letter to the EU and NATO, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov

    and his Romanian counterpart, Isarescu, called on the two

    organizations to help rapidly clean up the River Danube, AFP

    reported. The two leaders wrote that they "insist" that the

    re-establishment of Danube shipping, which has been blocked

    by rubble from bombed bridges since the NATO air strikes on

    Yugoslavia, must be regarded as an issue separate from the

    sanctions imposed on that country. Kostov and Isarescu noted

    that 70 percent of Bulgarian and 80 percent of Romanian river

    boats are out of service as a result of the blockage and that

    their countries have "suffered more than Yugoslavia." MS

    [25] LIBYA AGAIN POSTPONES BULGARIANS' TRIAL

    Libya has postponed

    for the second time the trial of six Bulgarian medical

    workers charged with intentionally infecting children with

    the HIV virus, Reuters reported on 3 April, citing Bulgarian

    Foreign Ministry sources. The postponement follows a request

    by the Libyan lawyer representing the defendants, who said he

    needs more time to study the indictment and prepare his

    defense. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [26] KALININGRAD'S FUTURE WHEN THE EU EXPANDS

    By Ahto Lobjakas

    The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, once a favored

    Soviet bridgehead, spent most of the 1990s in quiet, decaying

    isolation. Though home to nearly 1 million inhabitants, it

    has been largely ignored by both Moscow and the EU.

    When the EU admits Poland and the three Baltic states,

    the presence of a Russian island in the union will be a

    unique problem. "The Kaliningrad Puzzle," a report

    commissioned by the Finland-based think-tank Aland Islands

    Peace Institute, looks at how the EU should treat the Russian

    exclave.

    Pertti Joenniemi of the Copenhagen Peace Research

    Institute, who presented the report in Brussels last week,

    told RFE/RL that Kaliningrad's relative isolation in recent

    years means its problems are not easy to resolve. "Seen from

    a European Union perspective," he said, "one of the major

    problems is that there is no firm political leadership to

    lead Kaliningrad out of its crisis. There is a clash between

    the [local] government and the Duma opposition and that seems

    to stop any kind of progress."

    Kaliningrad's problems are manifold. Joenniemi lists

    corruption, smuggling, and drug trafficking as endemic in

    Kaliningrad, and the exclave has seen the rapid spread of

    AIDS.

    Many of the problems, according to the report, result

    from the years of neglect by the federal government in

    Moscow. In 1991, a free economic zone was established in

    Kaliningrad, but the region's poor starting position and

    uncompetitive economy left it increasingly dependent on

    imports. Kaliningrad's first post-Soviet governor, Yurii

    Matochkin, sought--unsuccessfully--to promote economic reform

    and open Kaliningrad to other countries in the region.

    The current governor, Leonid Gorbenko, has favored a

    largely isolationist course and has taken no steps to

    initiate much-needed structural reforms. Foreign direct

    investment in Kaliningrad, while higher than in Russia as a

    whole ($70 per capita annually in the exclave, compared with

    $63 in Russia) is still much lower than in the neighboring

    Baltic states (for example, $563 per capita in Lithuania in

    1999).

    According to Joenniemi, the EU has regarded Kaliningrad

    as external to the union. Poland and Lithuania have responded

    to EU requirements for candidate countries by tightening

    their visa and trading policies toward the Russian exclave.

    But the report warns that EU policies of isolation and

    indifference risk leaving Kaliningrad an economic backwater

    and a source of instability. To avert that risk, Joenniemi

    argued, the EU needs to develop a long-term strategy for

    Kaliningrad. "My proposal is that Kaliningrad [should be]

    provided with both a long-term and a short-term perspective,"

    he told RFE/RL. "That it will in the long run approach the

    European Union, maybe even reach EU membership of some sort.

    I don't mean Russia as a whole, but Kaliningrad separately."

    In the short term, the report says, the EU will need to

    find ways of providing Kaliningrad with development aid

    beyond the fairly limited ambit of TACIS, the aid program

    aimed at Russia and the CIS. Border policy must be amended to

    allow residents of Kaliningrad to travel more easily both to

    the east and west.

    The idea that Kaliningrad could one day have a closer

    relationship to the EU than the rest of Russia is gaining

    ground beyond academic circles. Last year, during its

    presidency of the EU, Finland promoted closer cooperation

    with Kaliningrad. Sweden has promised to do the same during

    its presidency next year, and perhaps even go further. Last

    week, Swedish Trade Minister Leif Pagrotsky raised the issue

    of eventual EU membership for Kaliningrad in an article

    published in a leading Swedish daily.

    And Russia itself seems not too averse to allowing

    greater cooperation between Kaliningrad and the EU. A 1999

    official strategy paper for the development of relations with

    the EU says that while Kaliningrad must be recognized as part

    of Russia, it could also become a "pilot region" for Euro-

    Russian cooperation in the 21st century.

    The author is RFE/RL's correspondent in Brussels.

    04-04-00


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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