|A disagreement may be the shortest cut between two minds. - Kahlil Gibran|
No. 197, 13 October 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIA CALLS FOR ABKHAZ CEASEFIRE; YELTSIN-SHEVARDNADZE SUMMIT POSTPONED. On 12 October, the Russian government issued a statement characterizing the fighting in Abkhazia as a threat to the entire North Caucasus, and called for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire in the region, ITAR-TASS reported. Western news agencies quoted a Russian presidential spokeswoman as stating that the three-way talks between Shevardnadze, Yelstsin and Abkhaz parliament Chairman Vladislav Ardzinba scheduled for 13 October had been postponed because the necessary documents are not ready. Shevardnadze cast doubt on Ardzinba's participation; he went on to blame Russian generals acting on their own initiative for exacerbating the bloodshed in Abkhazia. (Liz Fuller) GEORGIA, UKRAINE PROTEST RUSSIAN USE OF NAVY IN ABKHAZIA. Ukraine's naval command reported on 12 October that Russia had dispatched nine ships of the Black Sea Fleet to positions off Abkhazia without consultation, despite the agreement to share command of the fleet. The deployment is reportedly under the personal command of Admiral Kasatanov, Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. Initially the ships were to provide security during a planned shipboard meeting between Yeltsin and Shevardnadze, but the deployment continued even after the summit's cancellation. Georgia protested an incident in which two Russian warships sailed into Sukhumi harbor, which is still under Georgian control, and reportedly pointed their guns at the city while ignoring attempts to communicate by local officials, according to Reuters. (John Lepingwell) RUSSIANS SEIZE GREENPEACE SHIP. Russian border troops seized the Greenpeace ship "Solo" off the arctic island of Novaya Zemlya the morning of 12-October. ISAR-TASS reported that the ship was on a mission to inspect what Greenpeace labeled a "nuclear graveyard" in the Kara Sea where 15 atomic submarines and 17,000 drums of nuclear waste had been dumped. The Russians claim the vessel was within Russian territorial waters at the time, although Greenpeace claims that it was 23 miles outside the Russian 12-mile limit. (Doug Clarke) KRAVCHUK SELECTS NEW PRIME MINISTER. Leonid Kuchma, head of the Yuzhmash concern that produced Soviet tactical nuclear missiles, says that Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk has asked him to form a new cabinet, Reuters reported on 13-October. "I have received an official invitation [from Kravchuk] but want to think about this overnight," Kuchma is quoted as saying. Kuchma's name had surfaced in the press earlier as a possible choice for the prime minister's post. Various political parties have proposed the candidacies of Volodymyr Lanovyi, Volodymyr Chernyak, Ihor Yukhnovsky, Volodymyr Pylypchuk, Ivan Plyushch, and others. On the morning of 13 October, Kuchma fielded questions in parliament on the policies he would adopt. (Roman Solchanyk) SHAPOSHNIKOV ON RESULTS OF BISHKEK SUMMIT. In a 12 October press conference reported by ITAR-TASS and Interfax, CIS Commander-In-Chief Shaposhnikov stated that he was satisfied with the summit's decision to agree on a joint military security concept as well as a new structure for the CIS command. The CIS command will take on responsibility for peacekeeping operations within the CIS, coordinating operational and mobilization preparations, military-scientific research, and coordinating the interaction of the military commands of the member states. Shaposhnikov will also be developing a military "concept" that will function like a doctrine for the CIS military. (John Lepingwell) COMMANDER OF CIS STRATEGIC DETERRENT FORCES REMOVED. General Yuri Maksimov was removed from his position at the Bishkek summit, and his responsibilities are to be shared between CIS Commander-in-Chief Shaposhnikov and the Commander of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF), General Smirnov, according to Interfax reports of 1012 October and Nezavisimaya gazeta of 8 October. The move eliminates a duplication between the CIS and Russian military command structure and recognizes the fact that all command, control, and support elements, for the SRF, apart from those in Ukraine, are under Russian control. The move is also consistent with Shaposhnikov's aim to entrust all nuclear weapons control to Russia, a proposal which Ukraine blocked at the summit. (John Lepingwell) KHASBULATOV CALLS FOR POLTORANIN'S DISMISSAL. Russian Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov has asked President Boris Yeltsin to dismiss Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin, Interfax reported on 12 October. In a letter to Yeltsin, Khasbulatov said that Poltoranin should be fired because of comments he made last week, which Khasbulatov said were aimed at inciting anger against him. Poltoranin, who is also Russian Information Minister, accused Khasbulatov on 9-October of attempting to "provoke a social explosion in Russia" by trying to take over Izvestiya. He was also quoted, in Izvestiya, as saying that Khasbulatov was "undermining the stability of Russia." (Keith Bush) BELARUSIAN PESSIMISM OVER RUBLE ZONE. Two top Belarusian government officials expressed doubts whether their country would stay within the ruble zone. Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich told a press conference in Minsk on 12 October that, although Belarus remains interested in maintaining a single currency zone, it may have to introduce its own currency, if the "purchasing power of the ruble falls further," Belinform-TASS reported. The Interfax account of the same conference portrayed Belarusian withdrawal from the currency zone as a foregone conclusion, however, quoting the Belarusian speaker of parliament, Stanislav Shuskevich: "It will be difficult for us [to rapidly introduce our own currency], but I'm afraid we must.-.-." Shuskevich did not disclose when this might happen. (Erik Whitlock) OTHER RUBLE ZONE DEVELOPMENTS. On 12-October, several reports appeared on the use of the ruble in former Soviet republics. According to ITAR-TASS, Tajikistan announced that it has decided to retain the ruble as its national currency and that it has agreed to maintain a single monetary policy with Russia. Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev told Reuters that Kyrgyzstan will leave the ruble zone by 1995 and introduce its own currency. And the new Azeri minister of finance, Salekh Mamedov, told Azerinform that he believed that the manat should be the only unit of currency in Azerbaijan and that the ruble should be withdrawn from circulation. (Keith Bush) SECOND 29TH CP CONGRESS IN SPRING 1993. Leaders of the banned CPSU said on 12 October that they will hold a congress next spring aimed at renewing the party in an alliance across the former USSR, ITAR-TASS reported. Konstantin Nikolaev, the president of the organizing committee for the congress, was quoted as saying that the meeting would mark an attempt to convene a successful 29th Party Congress. Nikolaev also said that his committee has decided to reestablish the Komsomol. An attempt to convene a Communist Party congress earlier this year was largely unsuccessful when the authorities refused to allow the party to rent a hall in Moscow and when few attended the meeting at an obscure location outside the city. (Keith Bush) GORBACHEV DOES NOT FEAR ARREST. Interviewed by French TV on 10 October, Gorbachev said he does not fear arrest due to his current dispute with the Russian authorities. The government has not completely "lost its head," Gorbachev explained. He also denied as "crazy" the government's claim that he planned a Leninist-style political comeback. Earlier that day, the Moscow newspaper Kuranty reportedly published the government audit papers which document that the Gorbachev foundation had indeed leased space to Russian and Western businessmen. However, according to "Vesti," the government knows about similar pratices by hundreds of other organizations, and yet it does not seize their buildings. It is noteworthy that no Russian TV newscast has yet informed their respective audiences about protests by the French and Italian governments against the Russian government's treatment of Gorbachev. (Julia Wishnevsky) NATO DOUBTS ALL TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITHDRAWN FROM RUSSIAN NAVY. According to an AFP report of 12 October, NATO officials are concerned that Russia is not fulfilling a commitment made by the USSR in October 1991 to withdraw all sea-based tactical nuclear weapons. The report noted that NATO officials are likely to express their concern at a meeting of the NATO Nuclear Planning Group on 20-21 October. Russia has withdrawn all tactical nuclear weapons from the other former republics, including any stationed with the Black Sea Fleet, but sea-based tactical systems might remain on board the Baltic, Northern, and Pacific Fleets. (John Lepingwell) MOSCOW CONFERENCE ON CONVERSION. The Russian Institute of Strategic Research will hold a conference in Moscow on October 14-16 to discuss the problems associated with the conversion of military factories to civilian output, according to an ITAR-TASS report of 7 October. Entitled "Conversion and Cooperation," the gathering is being held at the initiative of the Russian parliamentary committee for defense and security. The plenary meetings will examine military, strategic, financial, and social problems connected with conversion. (Doug Clarke) YELTSIN ANNULLS EDICT ON FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AFFILIATION. In an unusual step, President Yeltsin cancelled the change of the name of the foreign intelligence service of the Russian federation, which was envisaged in his edict on the reorganization of the government, published by Rossiiskaya gazeta on 7 October. The new name was expected to be "the Russian federal service for foreign intelligence." The title implies that the agency will become an agency of the executive branch of government. On 9 October, however, Rossiiskaya gazeta published Yeltsin's new edict, which left intact the old name and stressed that the foreign intelligence is subordinated directly to the Russian president. According to the law, the agency will also be accountable to the parliament. Yeltsin's retreat reflects the ungoing political struggle for control over the spy agency: the law on foreign intelligence adopted in July includes provisions for accountability of the foreign intelligence agency to the legislative and judicial branches. (Victor Yasmann) RUSSIANS SEEK EMPLOYMENT ABROAD. According to Interfax on 10 October, figures from the migration department of the Russian Ministry of Labor suggest that about 100,000 Russians have already found jobs abroad independently, without any mediation on the part of the state. Other studies carried out by the Ministry suggest that a further 1.5 million want to emigrate and 4.5 million are seriously considering this option. The Ministry is concerned to control this emigration process in order to protect the interests of Russian workers abroad, and is attempting to set up intergovernmental agreements to this effect. According to Interfax on 9 October, such "organized" labur migration is seen as one way of easing prospective reform-related unemployment. Particular reference is made to employment opportunities abroad for skilled specialists from defence industry enterprises. (Sheila Marnie) CRIMEAN TATAR MEJLIS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. An extraordinary session of the Crimean parliament ruled on 8 October that the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and the Organization of the Crimean Tatar National Movement (OKND) are unconstitutional bodies, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 10-October. The Mejlis and the OKND are characterized as having taken a confrontational course towards the local authorities from the time that they were established. The stand taken by the Crimean lawmakers has, in essence, been supported by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and the Crimean parliamentary speaker, Mykola Bahrov. The two met in Kiev on 12 October and condemned an "extremist group" acting in the name of the Mejlis. Kravchuk added that he would cooperate only with the legally elected organs of power in the Crimea, which is bound to exacerbate already strained relations between Kiev and the Crimean Tatars. (Roman Solchanyk) SHEVARDNADZE ELECTED GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN. Officials of the Georgian Central Electoral Commission told Western journalists on 12-October that according to preliminary estimates, Eduard Shevardnadze received approximately 90% of the votes cast in the previous day's elections. Speaking on Georgian TV on the night of 11 October, Shevardnadze professed to be "ashamed" at the figures, according to the Iberia News Agency. No information is yet available on the composition of the new parliament, but Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua, Mkhedrioni militia leader Dzhaba Ioseliani and Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani all won election as independent candidates, ITAR-TASS reported. (Liz Fuller) RUSSIAN-AZERBAIJANI SECURITY AGREEMENT SIGNED. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Azerbaijan President Abulfaz Elchibey signed an agreement in Moscow on 12 October on mutual security and friendly relations, Western agencies reported. Under the terms of the agreement, both sides recognize each other's sovereignty and undertake to respect human and minority rights. Yeltsin and Elchibey also discussed bilateral concerns including the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. (Liz Fuller) KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS PEACE-KEEPING FORCE FOR TAJIKISTAN. The Kyrgyz parliament is to hold an extraordinary session on 14-October to discuss the deployment of about 400 peace-keeping troops in Tajikistan, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 12 October. Kyrgyz Vice President Feliks Kulov told Interfax in Dushanbe that troops from Kazakhstan are also to be sent. He said the main task of the peacekeeping forces is not to disarm the warring groups, but to give Tajikistan's leadership the opportunity to strengthen its power structure and law enforcement agencies and to stabilize the economic situation as winter approaches. An RFE/RL correspondent was told in Bishkek that the troops could be airlifted to Tajikistan on 15 October. (Ann Sheehy) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ILIESCU ELECTED PRESIDENT. Emil Constantinescu the candidate of the Democratic Convention of Romania, has conceded defeat in the second round of the presidential elections held on 11 October. With the vote counted in nearly 99% of the polling stations, the Central Electoral Bureau said on 12 October that incumbent president Ion Iliescu, who was backed by the Democratic National Salvation Front, has won 61.27% votes and Constantinescu was endorsed by 38.73% votes. In remarks carried by Radio Bucharest Constantinescu congratulated Iliescu and said he hoped the president would "fulfil his great role with honour." Iliescu said that he intended to put the country's social and political life on a decent, dignified and normal path through dialogue and collaboration with all political parties represented in the parliament. (Michael Shafir). ROMANIAN COALITION TALKS. Foreign affairs minister, Adrian Nastase, has been chosen by the Democratic National Salvation Front (DNSF) to conduct negotiations on forming a new coalition government, RFE/RL's correspondent in Bucharest reported on 12 October. Nastase, who is a vicepresident of the DNSF, has already begun discussions with the seven parties that won seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the 27 September elections. Corneliu Coposu, the president of the Democratic Convention of Romania, said in an interview with Radio Bucharest on 12-October that the convention would not join the government, its position being that of a "constructive opposition." On the same day, the daily Evenimentul zilei reported that Mihai Botez, an exiled antiCeausescu dissident, might head the new government. However, Reuter said that Botez's relatives in Bucharest stated he was unlikely to accept, even if the reports of the offer were true. (Michael Shafir) MAZOWIECKI COMPLAINS OF "TOO MUCH INDIFFERENCE" OVER BOSNIA. UN human rights envoy and former Polish prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki returned to the Yugoslav area for a second visit on 12 October, Reuters said. He again attacked human rights abuses by all sides and especially criticized European countries for failing to take in enough Bosnian refugees, particularly those newly freed from detention camps. Mazowiecki said that the human rights situation has worsened in the former Yugoslavia since his first trip there in August. Besides Bosnia and Croatia, he will visit Kosovo, Vojvodina, and the Sandzak. (Patrick Moore) MASS PROTESTS IN KOSOVO. Radio Serbia reported on 12 October that more than 50,000 Albanians demonstrated peacefully in Pristina, Urosevac and other Kosovo towns for nearly 90 minutes. The ethnic Albanian majority is boycotting schools and Pristina university to protest the Serbianization of the curriculum since 1990. Radio Croatia reported that 100,000 took part in the protests and that Serb police clashed with protesters in Pec. Radio Croatia reports a large number of Serbian army reservists were mobilized on 10 and 11 October. Serbian officials say the mobilization was ordered as a precautionary measure after Rexhep Osmani, Education Minister of the selfproclaimed Kosovo Albanian government, was released from prison on 9 October. Osmani helped organized the rallies and told Radio Croatia that the protests would continue. (Milan Andrejevich) WILL THERE BE EARLY ELECTIONS IN SERBIA? According to preliminary results of an 11 October referendum to determine whether a constitutional amendment should be adopted to allow for early general and presidential elections, the proposal has apparently failed to win enough support. Though nearly 96% of the ballots cast backed early elections, approval required the support of more than half of Serbia's 7 million eligible voters. Only 3.1 million eligible voters went to the polls, according to a Radio Serbia report. (Milan Andrejevich) SMALL BUSINESS CONGRESS OPENS IN WARSAW. On 12 October President Lech Walesa and Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka attended the opening session of the 19th World Congress of Small Business, held for the first time in Eastern Europe. A thousand delegates from 61 countries are participating. In his address, Walesa emphasized the symbolic importance of staging the congress in Poland, where pioneering economic reforms had led to a boom in private production. Poland's minister for private enterprise, Zbigniew Eysmont, told PAP on 8 October that the contribution of small and mediumsized private businesses to national income had risen from 6% to 20% in the past three years. (Louisa Vinton) HUNGARY'S 1993 DEFENSE BUDGET. Pending approval by parliament, Hungary's defense expenditures will be raised some 10% to 66 billion forint in 1993, MTI reported on 11 October. The amount, while covering the army's daytoday needs, is not enough to maintain its combat and operational capability at the present level. The pay of conscripts, military students, and lowearning regular soldiers and civilian employees will be raised; 10.9 billion forint are to be spent on the maintenance of the military's assets (worth 660 billion forint) and 1.9 on repairs, with emphasis on ground and air force units. Because of budget restrictions, pilots will be able to fly only 60 to 65 hours instead of the present 80 to 85. Essential parts to be obtained from the former Soviet Union cannot be purchased next year for the lack of the necessary 3 billion forint. (Alfred Reisch) CSURKA SPEAKS OUT AGAIN. The controversial Vice President of the ruling Hungarian Democratic Forum party, Istvan Csurka, repeated his extreme views in an interview in the latest edition, 12 October 1992, of the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel. Csurka said that his idea of a Hungarian living space was not equivalent to the German Lebensraum concept, because his objective was not to expand but to protect the existing living space of Hungarians. Csurka said that the Slovak constitution did not recognize the rights of the Hungarian minority there which suggested that the Hungarian minority was in danger. Responding to the charge that his views that because of their alleged links with the Kadarera nomenklatura and the international finance and bank world, the Jews were the eternal and sworn enemy of Hungarians, Csurka said,"this is not something I have invented but a fact." (Karoly Okolicsanyi) RUSSIAN EMIGRATION FROM THE BALTICS IN 1992. According to data of the Russian Migration Service, emigration of ethnic Russians from Estonia and Latvia is increasing, but decreasing from Lithuania. Some 17,000 Russians are reported to have left Estonia (9300-up from 8200 for all of 1991) and Latvia ( 8,500 as compared with 13,000 for all of 1991) during the first six months of 1992. About 6000 people left Lithuania during this period, as compared with 10,000 for all of 1991. Migration Service Director Tatiana Regent claimed that Baltic policies on citizenship were responsible for these figures. The data also showed that in 1989, 1990, and 1991, all three Baltic States registered more people leaving for Russia than settling in the Baltics: for Estonia, the respective net emigration figures are 582, 4300, and 4164; for Latvia-546, 3900, and 5838; and for Lithuania-1136, 5000, and 4379, BNS and ITARTASS reported on 9 and 10 October. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA TO BE ACCEPTED TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE. On 9 October parliament deputy Jonas Tamulis, one of Lithuania's observers at the Council of Europe session in Strasburg, said that Lithuania would become a member of the council at its next session in 1993, Radio Lithuania reported. The EC had set two conditions for membership: holding of new elections to the parliament and the adoption of a new Constitution. The new Seimas will be elected on 25 October with runoffs two weeks later. The Lithuanian parliament is holding a special session on 12-October that is expected to approve the holding of a referendum on the Constitution on 25 October. (Saulius Girnius) RUSSIA TO RESUME OIL SUPPLIES TO LITHUANIA. After meeting with Lithuania's Premier Aleksandras Abisala, Russia's Acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar told the press on 12 October that they had made progress in working out a mechanism for settling accounts between their countries. He noted that while some 10 billion rubles from Lithuania had not been received by Russian oil suppliers, Russia owed Lithuania sums estimated at 610 billion rubles. Russia's Vice Premier Aleksandr Shokhin told the press that Russia would adhere to the prearranged quotas of oil and gas to Lithuania; until a system of payments acceptable to both sides was in place, Lithuania would have to pay Russia for oil and gas products in hard currency. His Lithuanian counterpart Bronislavas Lubnys expressed satisfaction with the conditions agreed in Moscow, Baltfax reported on 12 October. (Dzintra Bungs) IMF POSITIVE ABOUT LATVIA'S ECONOMIC POLICY. After a weeklong visit to Latvia, International Monetary Fund experts gave a positive assessment of the economic policy pursued by the Latvian government, a spokesman for Latvia's Finance Ministry told BNS on 12 October. Latvia is to receive the second installment of the IMF loan as soon as IMF experts make certain corrections in the memorandum defining Latvia's economic policy until the end of this year. The IMF loan of $70,000,000 is being dispersed to Latvia in four installments. (Dzintra Bungs) RUTSKOI THREATENS ESTONIA. Russian VicePresident Alexander Rutskoi reiterated Russia's threat to impose economic sanctions on Estonia unless it altered its citizenship laws. According to Reuter, citing BBC on 12 October, Rutskoi's major objection was the language requirement. Last year Estonia officially set minimum competence at some 1,500 words, approximately the level of a threeyearold native speaker. (Riina Kionka) ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES DON'T TRUST GOVERNMENT. Four of sixteen units of the Estonian Defense Union (Kaitseliit) have announced they will henceforth take orders only from the President, not the Ministry of Defense. According to Paevaleht of 12 October, the units made the decision because they do not trust the Ministry leadership. Reacting to the announcement, outgoing deputy Defense Minister Hannes Walter told reporters it was time for Estonia to subsume all armed units under full state control, saying that any other initiatives could be dangerous both in domestic and foreign terms. (Riina Kionka) UNEMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO RISE IN LATVIA. Diena reported on 7 October that in the period from 1 January to 6 October, 19,130 persons had become unemployed (the previous week the number was 18,588) or about 1.3% of the total labor force of about 1,477,000. Unemployment benefits are being received by 16,988 persons. Some 70% of the jobless are women and the rate of unemployment is rising the fastest in Riga where already 5,334 persons are getting unemployment benefits. (Dzintra Bungs) POLISH UNEMPLOYMENT GROWTH SLOWS. Poland's Main Statistical Office announced on 9-October that 2,498,500 people (13.8% of the work force) were unemployed at the end of September. Although this amounts to an overall increase over August, unemployment declined in six voivodships and remained unchanged in three others. Onethird of the registered unemployed have lost their benefits, and 43.3% have been seeking work for over a year, PAP reported. Deputy Labor Minister Michal Boni told journalists on 9 October that unemployment should cease rising in 1994. Active methods of fighting unemployment are having some effect: the number of people who found work through employment offices rose 50% from August to September. (Louisa Vinton) POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN HUNGARY. Hungarian radio reported that Poland's Foreign Minister, Krysztof Skubiszewski, arrived in Budapest, to coordinate the views of the countries of the Visegrad Triangle before the forthcoming EC summit in London. Skubiszewski also dicussed issues related to a freetradezone agreement between Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, which is to be signed on 30 November 1992 in Krakow. (Karoly Okolicsanyi) CZECH PREMIER VISITS FRANCE. On 12 October, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was on a oneday visit to France, where he met with French officials and opposition leaders. Speaking to journalists after his meeting with French Prime Minister Pierre Beregovoy, Klaus said that he had reassured French leaders that the breakup of Czechoslovakia would be peaceful. After his return from France, Klaus told CSTK that the possibility to talk to French leaders was important because "everyone in Western Europe is afraid of the symptoms that have accompanied the disintegration of former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union." (Jiri Pehe) 150,000 FOREIGNERS LIVE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA WITHOUT PERMISSION. The 12 October issue of Rude pravo, quoting police sources, said that 150,000 foreigners live in Czechoslovakia without official permission and another 22,000 have been detained by police trying illegally to enter Germany. CSTK reported on 12 October that the Czech Ministry of Internal Affairs had received 1480 applications for Czech citizenship in the previous six weeks. Fiftyfive of the applicants were citizens of the Slovak Republic. In a related development, Marian Calfa, a Slovak politician who served as Czechoslovak Prime Minister from December 1989 to June 1992, said in an interview published in the 12 October issue of the Prague daily Blesk that he would probably apply for citizenship of the Czech Republic.(Jiri Pehe) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
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