Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 243, 18 December 1992





SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR

YELTSIN ARRIVES IN CHINA. Russian President Boris Yeltsin arrived
in China on 17-December. According to Western press agencies
he will sign a number of economic agreements, as well as a treaty
placing relations between Russian and China on a new, post-Soviet
basis. The two sides will also discuss a planned pullback of
troops from their mutual border. Included in the agreements to
be signed is Russian construction of a 2 Gigawatt nuclear reactor
(Interfax had earlier reported that it was to be a 2-Megawatt
reactor). Arms sales are also on the agenda, with Deputy Prime
Minister Shokhin representing arms industry and defense ministry
interests. The Russian Defense Minister is not a member of the
delegation, but he will visit China in the new year to further
discuss military sales and agreements. (John Lepingwell)

YELTSIN SEES OPPORTUNITIES FOR SINO-RUSSIAN MILITARY COOPERATION.
On the first day of his visit to China, President Yeltsin told
reporters that he foresaw large opportunities for military cooperation
between Russia and China. Western agencies quoted him as noting
that much Chinese military equipment and technology came from
the former Soviet Union. "To develop this sector," he said, "
China needs spare parts and technology for all kinds of weapons."
The previous day Igor Rogachev, the Russian ambassador to China,
said that an agreement would be signed during Yeltsin's visit
concerning the modernization of 256-Chinese arms plants built
in the 1950s by the Soviet Union. (Doug Clarke)

RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION FAVORS SERBIA. The Russian parliament
has passed a resolution calling on the Yeltsin administration
to use its UN Security Council veto to prevent military intervention
in former Yugoslavia, Interfax reported on 17 December. The resolution
maintains that sanctions must be applied evenly to all sides
in the conflict, opposes the lifting of the arms embargo, and
calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered to all sides. In an
address to the Parliament, First Deputy Foreign Minister Adamishin
noted that the government supports "a more balanced approach
. . . and rejects the attempts to lay the blame on the Serbs
alone." Adamishin also claimed that he opposed any proposal to
lift the arms embargo and suggested that sanctions against Serbia
be loosened. Russian conservatives, including some factions of
the Civic Union, have been advocating a more pro-Serbian policy,
and they appear to be gaining influence in the decision making
process. (John Lepingwell)

SKOKOV MADE HEAD OF NEW FOREIGN POLICY COMMISSION. Russian President
Boris Yeltsin has established an interdepartmental Foreign Policy
Commission under the powerful Russian Security Council, ITAR-TASS
reported on 17-December. The head of the Security Council, Yurii
Skokov, was appointed chairman of the commission. The task of
the commission will be to coordinate the drafting of foreign
policy decisions. Skokov has been asked to nominate new prospective
members of the commission. The creation of the commission is
apparently an attempt by Yeltsin to enhance his personal control
of foreign policy. It is likely that the commission will deprive
the foreign ministry of some of its power. (Alexander Rahr)

RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BREAD SUBSIDIES. The Russian parliament
passed a resolution on 17 December increasing state control over
the price of bread, according to an Interfax report on the same
day. The government has been asked to present to parliament befor
1 January a proposal on tax privileges for enterprises involved
in bread production, and there is to be a review of the level
of profitability permissable for such enterprises. The 1993 budget
is to allow for subsidies which make bread prices "affordable
to the people." According to the chairman of the parliamentary
commission, Aleksandr Pochinok, state subsidies limiting bread
prices to 31-48 rubles per kilogram, would cost 1.5-trillion
rubles in 1993, and budget resources could only cover such expenditure
for a maximum of three months. (Sheila Marnie)

RUSSIA AND GERMANY RESOLVE DEBT DISPUTE. German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl and Russian President Boris Yeltsin concluded a deal resolving
a major debt disagreement between the two countries, various
Western news agencies reported on 17-December. Germany has agreed
to defer Russian debt owed to the former German Democratic Republic
(some $11-billion) for eight years. In addition, the German government
will contribute some $350-million for housing Russian soldiers
returning home. For their part, the Russians have withdrawn a
demand that they be compensated for Soviet military assets that
will remain in Eastern Germany. (Erik Whitlock)

PAYMENTS SYSTEM SET UP FOR FORMER SOVIET BLOC. A consortium of
ten banks from Russia, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria signed an
agreement on 16 December creating an arrangement for clearing
trade payments, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal reported.
Trade fell sharply in the region after the collapse of the Soviet
trading bloc in 1989-1990. As their own national currencies remain
largely inconvertible, commerce between these countries is conducted
on the basis of awkward bilateral bartering. Signatories hope
that a multilateral clearing transacted in ECUs will add more
flexibility to financing trade and halt the ever declining trade
volumes. Some initial support has been provided by major West
European banks. (Erik Whitlock)

RUBLE APPRECIATES SLIGHTLY. The ruble exchange rate dropped to
416 rubles to the dollar on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange
on 17 December, according the Biznes-TASS. This is a fall of
two rubles from the previous trading session. Trade volume was
$54.95 million. (Erik Whitlock)

NUCLEAR DISMANTLEMENT AGREEMENT EXAMINED. Russian parliamentarians
and US experts met on 17 December to discuss the June agreement
signed between Presidents Yeltsin and Bush detailing the terms
for US assistance to Russia for nuclear warhead transportation
and dismantling. According to an Interfax report, the US side
included General William Burns, who participated in the drafting.
Burns defended the agreement by pointing to the importance of
providing US expertise and equipment to safeguard and speed the
dismantling process. According to Evgenii Ambartsumov, chairman
of the International Affairs and Economic Relations Committee,
the agreement will have to be submitted to the Russian parliament
for ratification. (John Lepingwell)

BUILDER PLEADS FOR "PETER THE GREAT." The director of the Baltic
Shipyards in St. Petersburg appeared on the Ostankino TV evening
news program on 17 December urging the Russian government to
provide the funds to complete a nuclear-powered warship lying
idle at his enterprise. He said that he had sent a letter to
President Yeltsin. The ship was once known as the Yuri Andropov,
and is the fourth and last of the unique, heavily armed, Kirov-class
battle-cruisers built for the former Soviet Navy. It was laid
down in 1986 and is 70% complete, but work on the vessel has
been stopped due to a lack of funds. In May, Yeltsin decreed
that the ship's name be changed to Petr Veliki (Peter the Great).
(Doug Clarke)

MISSILE BUILDER TO SWITCH TO SATELLITE LAUNCHERS. In one of his
first decrees, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was
said by Interfax on 17 December to have ordered the Khrunichev
Machine Construction Works in Moscow to build launch vehicles
for commercial space missions rather than ballistic missiles.
The Khrunichev Works manufactured the SS-19 intercontinental
ballistic missile. The report said that Khrunichev had been permitted
to conclude a contract with the US firm Motorola for the launch
of three communications satellites, and was also setting up a
joint enterprise with Lockheed for marketing its space-launch
services on the international market. (Doug Clarke)

KRAVCHUK ON THE CIS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk is quoted
by Interfax on 17-December as saying that the CIS has proved
to be an effective organization. Repeating his often stated view
that the CIS was established in order to dismantle the USSR in
a civilized fashion, the Ukrainian leader said that the former
Soviet republics should agree to help one another instead of
adhering to the principle that might makes right. Kravchuk spoke
with reporters after talks with Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslau
Kebich. (Roman Solchanyk)

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT IGNORES RUSSIAN CLAIM TO SEVASTOPOL. The Crimean
parliament, which opened its Tenth Session on 16 December, rejected
the proposal to place the question of the status of Sevastopol
on its agenda, Russian TV's "Vesti" reported. The question of
reviewing the Crimean city's status was raised in a resolution
adopted by the recently concluded Congress of Russian People's
Deputies. (Roman Solchanyk)

US WARNS UKRAINE TO STOP DELAYING START. On 17 December Acting
US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger warned Ukraine that
continued delay in ratifying the START treaty and the Lisbon
Protocol would harm US-Ukrainian relations, Reuters reported.
He also called for Ukraine to hasten the process of acceding
to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In December President
Kravchuk stated that the treaty would be ratified by the end
of December or early January, but in the past week the parliament
has requested more time to study it. The Chairman of the Supreme
Soviet, Ivan Pilushch claimed that he was not delaying the treaty,
but that copies of the 700-page document were not delivered to
the parliament until last week, Interfax reported. The treaty
was signed in July 1991 and the Lisbon Protocol was signed in
May 1992. Belarus and Kazakhstan have ratified the treaty, but
Russia has stated that it will not consider the treaty before
Ukraine ratifies it. (John Lepingwell)

UKRAINE CONFIRMS STRATEGIC MISSILES OFF ALERT. Interfax reported
on 17-December that Ivan Gnidenko, the deputy chief of the operations
department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, confirmed that
strategic nuclear missiles located in Ukraine are not on alert.
CIS Joint Armed Forces Command representatives had made similar
comments, but this appears to be the first statement by Ukrainian
sources. Decisions concerning alert level of the forces are presumably
taken by the CIS leadership under current command procedures.
(John Lepingwell)

UKRAINIAN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN FIZZLES OUT. "Rukh" leader Vyacheslav
Chornovil told a press conference in Kiev on 16 December that
the drive to gather three million signatures by 21 December in
order to hold a referendum on early parliamentary elections was
not successful, DR-Press reported. Chornovil blamed the failure
on the referendum law and the split in the "Rukh" organization
in Lviv Oblast, specifically the ultranationalist "Rukh" faction
there led by former political prisoner Valentyn Moroz. (Roman
Solchanyk)

AZERBAIJAN ACCUSES RUSSIA OF SUPPORTING ARMENIA. Azerbaijan's
deputy defense minister, Major-General Baba Nazarli, told journalists
in Baku that Russian commanders of the Transcaucasus Military
District are supplying Armenian forces with combat equipment
and fuel, and that Armenian commanders in the region do not carry
out a single operation against Azerbaijan without Russian consent,
Interfax reported on 17 December. (Liz Fuller)

ABKHAZ JEWS FLEE TO ISRAEL. Some 500 Abkhaz Jews have been discreetly
evacuated from Abkhazia to Israel in recent weeks, AFP reported
from Tbilisi on 17 December; a further 500 may follow if fighting
in Abkhazia continues. The evacuation was apparently organized
by the Georgian and Israeli foreign ministries. Members of the
25,000-strong Jewish community elsewhere in Georgia are said
to be disquieted by the volatile political situation there and
also considering the possibility of leaving. (Liz Fuller)

TAJIK GOVERNMENT BEGINS OPERATIONS AGAINST RESISTANCE. Tajikistan's
new Minister of Internal Affairs Yakub Salimov told Interfax
on 17-December that the deadline for anti-Communist groups to
end their fight against government supporters had passed, and
that government forces had begun a large-scale offensive against
the resistance in their Kofarnihon Raion stronghold. Salimov
blamed Tajikistan's top Muslim clergyman, Supreme Judge Akbar
Turadzhonzoda, for the conflict, and complained that 500 Afghans
are fighting on the side of the anti-government forces. The same
day, the first deputy commander of Russian border troops in Tajikistan
told Interfax that anti-government forces in Pyandzh Raion have
offered to surrender their weapons if their safety is guaranteed.
(Bess Brown)

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

PANIC RALLY IN BELGRADE. Belgrade's independent broadcast media
report that between 100-200,000 people attended a rally in central
Belgrade on 17 December to support federal Prime Minister Milan
Panic in his challenge to incumbent Slobodan Milosevic for the
Serbian presidency. The rally was organized by the main opposition
coalition, DEPOS (Democratic Movement of Serbia), and marked
the end of the coalition's campaign. Panic told the crowd, "The
elections are an introduction to democratic changes by peaceful
means rather than by guns and graves." He added that the world
is not against Serbia per se, and urged voters to replace the
current regime in order to end Serbia's isolation. Vuk Draskovic,
leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the biggest party within
DEPOS, described the elections as "a matter of life and death."
He went on to say that on election day "Serbia has the chance
to turn defeat into victory, disgrace into honor, war into peace
and destruction into reconstruction." Because of the enormous
crowds, independent radio B92, Politika Radio and TV, and Studio
B TV provided live coverage. Panic's press office has released
a statement saying that Russia's President Boris Yeltsin supports
Panic's policies. At a news conference, US President-elect Bill
Clinton said of the 20 December elections that the people of
Serbia have an opportunity to stop the "mindless violence" in
Bosnia and the looming catastrophe" in the Balkans. (Milan Andrejevich)


MILOSEVIC IN KOSOVO AND NIS. Radio Serbia reports on 17 December
that Milosevic finished up his campaign with appearances in Kosovo
and the southeastern city of Nis. He spoke at a rally attended
by about 20,000 people in Kosovo Polje and repeated a pledge
he made in 1987 that Serbia "will never give away Kosovo." He
reiterated his offer for reconciliation with Albanians who will
recognize Serbia. Addressing 50,000 people in Nis, he repeated
his claim that the isolation of Serbia is part of an international
conspiracy, which he vowed to resist at any cost. Serbia will
never become a colony of any foreign country, he vowed, calling
the elections a choice between enslavement or freedom. He added
that Serbia has shown great solidarity with the Serbs in Croatia
and Bosnia "at the moment when they needed it and when they could
not have survived without it." The pro- Milosevic Belgrade TV
reported that a small gathering of opposition sympathizers tried
to provoke disorder, but Politika TV called the claims absurd
and unfounded. (Milan Andrejevich)

VOJVODINA HUNGARIANS PROTEST. According to a 17 December MTI
report, the Democratic Community of Hungarians from Vojvodina
has organized a march in Szeged protesting the Serbian leadership
decision not to allow emigre ethnic Hungarians to participate
in the 20 December elections. The Serbian leadership did not
make it possible for the Vojvodina Hungarians to return safely
to vote in Vojvodina and has refused to set up polling places
in Hungary. Several Hungarian parties and organizations supported
the protest. (Judith Pataki)

NATO READY TO ENFORCE NO-FLY ZONE OVER BOSNIA. The 18 December
Washington Post reports from Brussels that NATO agreed the previous
day to make forces available to enforce the no-fly zone if the
UN Security Council gives its authorization. The US took the
lead in the move and American aircraft would be the main ones
involved. Britain had been concerned that such intervention could
jeopardize the safety of international relief workers already
in Bosnia, including British troops, but a compromise formula
acceptable to all seems to have been reached late in the talks.
Outgoing Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek said that
"we feel that the time of talking can always continue but not
the time of non-compliance" with the flight ban, Western agencies
reported on 17 December. Meanwhile, an RFE/RL correspondent writes
from Munich that Russia and France, perhaps together with Britain
and Greece, will try to block any moves aimed at lifting the
arms embargo on the Bosnian government. The 18 December Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung says that a convoy of 529 Bosnian prisoners
being released from a Serbian camp has been missing since 13
December. Red Cross authorities are investigating. (Patrick Moore)


ROMANIAN, YUGOSLAV TRANSPORT MINISTERS MEET. Paul Teodoru of
Romania and Milan Vujicic of rump Yugoslavia held talks in Bucharest
on 17-December. Rompres quoted Teodoru as saying that Romania
is determined to observe strictly the trade embargo imposed by
the UN Security Council on Serbia and Montenegro. He put the
number of Yugoslav ships detained so far in Romanian ports at
six, and added that Romania is waiting for the UN Sanctions Committee
to take a decision on them before the Danube freezes. Vujicic
said that Belgrade is allowing Romanian ships to travel on the
Yugoslav stretch of the Danube but suggested that local authorities
occasionally operate outside central control. Serbian custom
officers detained a Romanian tugboat and six barges between 28
November and 8-December. (Dan Ionescu)

BULGARIA HURT BY SANCTIONS. While Bulgaria continues to support
the trade sanctions imposed upon rump Yugoslavia, adherence to
the UN enforced embargo is costing Bulgaria the equivalent of
$1.2-billion according to a memorandum issued at UN headquarters
in New York. An RFE/RL correspondent noted on 17 December that
Bulgaria has requested the UN to seek ways of aiding countries
adversely affected by enforcement of the sanctions. The memorandum
reportedly notes that the amount of loss sustained by Bulgaria
could threaten the country's democratization processes. (Duncan
Perry)

DJILAS REHABILITATED. Radio Serbia and international media report
on 17 December that the Justice Ministry of the rump Yugoslavia
have agreed to rehabilitate Milovan Djilas, Yugoslavia's best-known
dissident. Tanjug reports that several retired generals requested
that the 82-year old Djilas be rehabilitated. Djilas helped Josip
Broz Tito establish communist Yugoslavia and became one of the
country's three State Vice Presidents. In 1953 he began to criticize
the communist system publicly and was purged from the Central
Committee in 1953. He quit the party of his own accord in 1954.
His first major work "The New Class", published in New York in
1957, became an internationally recognized classic of communist
studies. He was given several prison terms and served nine years
for his dissident publications. In 1987 he was granted a passport
and was able again to travel abroad. (Milan Andrejevich)

CZECHOSLOVAK PARLIAMENT HOLDS LAST SITTING. The Czechoslovak
Federal Assembly held its last session on 17 December, two weeks
before the dissolution of the 74 year-old republic. Parliament
Chairman Michal Kovac said in his farewell address to deputies
that the new Czech and Slovak republics are not rising out of
the ruins of Czechoslovakia; rather their evolution has been
proceeding for a long time. Deputies closed the session by singing
the Czechoslovak national anthem. (Jan Obrman)

CZECH PARLIAMENT ADOPTS FEDERAL FLAG AS ITS OWN. At a session
on 17 December the Czech National Council adopted the soon-defunct
Czechoslovak federal flag as the flag of the Czech Republic.
The vote in favor of the flag was unanimous among the 151 deputies
who were present at the sitting. According to a federal law on
the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, however, neither of the two
republics is entitled to use the federation's symbols after the
split. The decision was immediately criticized by Slovak officials.
Slovak Parliament Chairman Ivan Gasparovic told Reuters that
the Czech parliament's vote is not a good start for bilateral
relations, sending a bad signal to Slovakia and the world. Former
Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel defended the decision saying
that "Czech society identified much more with the Czechoslovak
state than did Slovak society." (Jan Obrman)

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES ON BUDGET AND ABORTION. On 17 December
Parliament passed the 1993 budget, MTI reports. This was the
Antall government's third budget, but the first to be accepted
well before the end of the year. Parliament has also voted on
the controversial abortion issue. Of two versions, Parliament
opted for the more liberal draft law giving women freedom of
choice. The version that passed gives a woman the right to have
an abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if her life is
in danger, the fetus is unhealthy, the pregnancy was a result
of a criminal act, or if the woman is in a crisis situation.
The latter provision can be interpreted very broadly, and the
law, which does not significanly change the decree on abortions
currently in force, seems unlikely to decrease the unusually
high Hungarian abortion rate. The issue came before Parliament
because the Constitutional Court had ruled that abortion must
be regulated by law and not decree. (Judith Pataki)

SEJM POSTPONES ABORTION VOTE. The Sejm decided on 17 December
to put off a final vote on the long-debated bill that would ban
abortions except when necessary to save a pregnant woman's life.
The margin was close: 164 to 155, with 54 abstentions. The motion
for delay, submitted by left-wing deputies, argued that the economic
situation is too tense for a divisive debate; the vote should
wait until "the most urgent social and economic matters are solved."
The postponement brought howls of protest from the Catholic parties,
as the abortion ban has been under consideration, in various
forms, since 1989. Charging the other coalition parties with
disloyalty, the Christian Nation Union demanded an abortion debate
before year's end. The seven-party government coalition held
a hasty meeting and agreed to propose a special Sejm session
on the issue before the New Year. (Louisa Vinton)

GOVERNMENT URGES MINERS TO NEGOTIATE. As strikes hit virtually
all of Silesia's coal mines and some railway workers joined in,
the Polish government maintained its low-key approach to the
crisis. Appearing before the Sejm, Industry Ministry Waclaw Niewiarowski
urged the miners' unions to continue negotiations on restructuring
Polish mining. He suggested that miners are exaggerating the
government's neglect of their plight: while only 4 of 70 mines
run in the black, he said, miners regularly receive a wage that
is far higher than the national average and no mass layoffs are
planned. "Neither the country nor Silesia can afford this strike,"
Niewiarowski concluded. A Solidarity spokesman announced that
Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka will meet with union chairman Marian
Krzaklewski on 18 December. (Louisa Vinton)

GORBUNOVS IN POLAND. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs
Gorbunovs arrived in Poland for a three-day official visit on
17 December. He met privately with President Lech Walesa. Afterward,
the two heads of state looked on as the Latvian and Polish foreign
ministers exchanged ratification documents for the bilateral
friendship and cooperation treaty signed on 1 July. A consular
agreement and an agreement on visa-free travel were also signed.
(Louisa Vinton)

LATVIAN ELECTIONS BEFORE JUNE 1993? Diena reported on 16 December
that the three principal factions of the Latvian Supreme Council
have agreed to propose holding parliamentary elections in Latvia
no later than 6 June 1993; the proposal is expected to be voted
upon before the Supreme Council adjourns for Christmas. (Dzintra
Bungs)

LITHUANIA CLAIMS RUSSIA MAKING NEW DEMANDS. The Lithuanian delegation
for negotiations with Russia has issued a statement indicating
that Russia is proposing to address again issues which were decided
in September but not covered by any signed agreements. The document
states that Russia is trying to alter one agreement on indemnity
for the seizure of Lithuanian military gear by the Red Army in
1940 and another on compensation for environmental and other
damages done by the Russian military in Lithuania, as well as
advancing new demands concerning the welfare of servicemen, Baltfax
and BNS reported on 17 December. (Dzintra Bungs)

ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. At the seventh round of Estonian-Russian
talks, which ended on 17 December, agreements were initialed
on pensions, assistance to persons resettling from Estonia to
Russia and Russia to Estonia, customs controls, and the transfer
of some Russian naval property to Estonia's hydrographic service.
The parties also started a systematic discussion of a draft agreement
on social protection of Russian servicemen and military pensioners
in Estonia. No agreement was reached on the final date of the
withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia, Baltfax reports. (Dzintra
Bungs)

COMMEMORATION OF 1989 ROMANIAN UPRISING CONTINUES. Radio Bucharest
reported that 17-December has been declared a day of mourning
throughout Timis County. Nearly one hundred people were killed
at Timisoara on 17 December 1989 in an anti- communist uprising
that erupted a day earlier. In Bucharest both the National Salvation
Front and the Democratic National Salvation Front commemorated
the "Days of the Romanian Revolution." Adrian Severin, a leading
NSF figure, was quoted as saying that "we are now witnessing
the end of the revolution and the beginning of a menacing restoration."
DNSF representatives, on the other hand, painted an optimistic
picture of Romania's future at a symposium dedicated to the same
event. The DNSF, which broke away from the NSF in April 1992,
is generally seen as a haven for former communists loyal to President
Ion Iliescu. It emerged as the strongest political force in Romania
from general elections in September. (Dan Ionescu)

ROMANIA MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOINING IMF, IBRD. Radio Bucharest
reported on 15-and 16 December on a series of events in Washington
to mark the 20th anniversary of Romania's joining the International
Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development. On 15-December former Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan
presided over a seminar on Romania's transition to a market economy,
and a second seminar, on prospects of economic reforms in Romania,
was held on 16 December. Both gatherings were attended by a high-ranking
Romanian delegation, including Finance Minister Florin Georgescu
and National Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu. Romania officially
joined the IMF and the IBRD under Nicolae Ceausescu, on 16 December
1992. (Dan Ionescu)

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Charles Trumbull










[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

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