|To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson|
No. 140, 26 July 1994
RUSSIA PARLIAMENTARY HEARINGS ON 1995 DEFENSE BUDGET. The Russian Federation Council on 25 July held six hours of closed hearings to discuss Russia's military budget for the upcoming year, Interfax reported. Participants were said to have included representatives from the Defense Ministry, the General Staff, and the defense industrial sector. The news agency quoted well-informed sources as saying that First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin had proposed a defense budget of some 60 trillion rubles for 1995 (the 1994 defense budget is 40.6 trillion). He also reportedly emphasized the need to support producers of dual-use technologies in the aerospace industry, ship-building, and missile production, and complained that spending on new weaponry and machinery, as well as on research and design, had been cut radically in recent years. Kokoshin and other speakers also expressed concern that Russia was falling seriously behind the West in the production of advanced conventional munitions, at least in part because of too much emphasis in the past on the development of nuclear weaponry. In remarks made after the hearings, the head of the Federation Council's defense committee, Petr Shirshov, said that the 1995 military budget should be at least 80 trillion rubles. He also said that a series of recommendations aimed at improving military-technical policy would be drawn up based upon the testimony at the hearings, and that these recommendations would be sent to the Duma, the president, and the government. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA PROPOSES ASIA-PACIFIC SECURITY ORGANIZATION. Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok on 25 July, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev proposed the "step-by-step" construction of a security mechanism for the Asia-Pacific region, AFP reported. Specifically, Kozyrev was quoted as calling for the establishment of "one or two working groups" to explore ideas generated at the forum to prepare the agenda for the next meeting, with the ultimate goal being the formation of a "regional security mechanism" and greater cooperation throughout Asia. Russia has made similar proposals in the past. According to ITAR-TASS, Kozyrev also used his speech at the forum to address problems on the Korean Peninsula. He expressed Russia's support for dialogue between North Korea and the US and repeated Moscow's oft-stated proposal to hold an international security conference devoted to the entire range of problems facing the Koreas. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. INDIA AND RUSSIA DISCUSS ARMS, ROCKET SALE. The chief of the Indian Air Force, Swaroop Krishan Kaul, is in Russia to discuss the possibility of purchasing advanced Russian Su-30 fighter planes, an Indian Air Force spokesman said on 25 July. According to AFP, Kaul will also discuss upgrading India's Soviet-built MiG-21's and the purchase of additional MiG-29's. The news agency reported that Russia is believed to have offered 20 Su-30's to India and agreed to allow New Delhi to mass produce the plane under license. India, long a major buyer of Soviet military hardware, has said it needs the modern aircraft to counter American F-16's possessed by Pakistan. Meanwhile, Reuters on 25 July quoted an Indian government minister as saying that Russia has agreed to sell seven cryogenic rocket engines to India but will not transfer their technology. At the end of 1993 the US opposed a deal whereby India would receive both the rockets and related technologies, arguing that the technology transfer would violate the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime). The issue raised tensions in all three capitals, and Russia eventually agreed to supply India with the rocket engines only. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. SITUATION IN CHECHNYA: ROUNDUP. Presidential spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov said on 25 July that President Boris Yeltsin has been receiving lately a growing number of complaints about human rights violations in Chechnya, Reuters reported. (Chechnya declared independence from Russia in 1991, but it has not been recognized.) Last week there were reports about renewed clashes between opposition and government forces in Chechnya. On 23 July leaders of the Chechen opposition called on Yeltsin to recognize the opposition Provisional Council "as the only legal government body" of Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 July. The same day, ITAR-TASS also quoted the Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev as saying that presidential elections would take place in his republic in October 1995. Dudaev added that he had not yet decided whether to run in the elections. Meanwhile, according to ITAR-TASS, Dudaev has sent a letter to former USSR Prosecutor General Aleksandr Sukharev, urging him to "investigate the legality of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreements" which announced the demise of the USSR and the creation of the CIS. In his letter, Dudaev reportedly said that the USSR was dissolved against the will of the majority of its citizens and that this event resulted in major economic hardships, inter ethnic-conflicts, and other forms of political instability. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. GORBACHEV ACCUSED OF HIGH TREASON. At a news conference on 25 July General Valentin Varennikov, the only defendant in the August 1991 coup trial to have refused the amnesty, accused former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev of having acted deliberately in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Varennikov said that he himself had believed in August 1991 that Gorbachev had "wrecked" the USSR because of negligence, but the materials of the case convinced the general that Gorbachev was a traitor and had acted deliberately. Varennikov added that he has requested the office of Russia's Prosecutor General to prosecute Gorbachev for high treason. The news conference, called on the occasion of Gorbachev's appearance as a witness at Varennikov's trial on 7-8 July, was reported in all Russian TV newscasts of 25 July. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK SOLDIERS CAPTURED. In the largest operation of its kind to have been launched within Tajikistan since the end of the civil war, more than 100 Tajik rebels attacked Tajik government forces near Tavil-Dara, east of Dushanbe, on 22 July, Interfax reports. The rebels reportedly captured at least 53 soldiers, a tank, an armored personnel carrier and two trucks; initial reports also indicate that at least 10 soldiers may have been killed in the attack. The rebels, many of them Afghan-trained, control much of the mountainous terrain in the area. A Tajik defense ministry spokesman said on 25 July that initial attempts to make contact with the rebels near Tavil-Dara, and to negotiate the release of the soldiers, had been unsuccessful; he did not rule out a large-scale military operation to free the soldiers. The commander of the Russian border guards in Tajikistan told ITAR-TASS that his forces are on high alert after the incident, and that the border guards would not allow the rebel forces to take their prisoners into Afghanistan. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. OPPOSITION LEAFLETS IN DUSHANBE. Leaflets urging Russian soldiers stationed in Tajikistan to stay out of the conflict between Tajikistan's government and opposition appeared in Dushanbe on 25 July, Interfax reported. The leaflets, which asserted that the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party will eventually dislodge the present regime of former Communists, was signed by Said Abdullo Nur, who was described as head of a "government in exile." According to the report, this is not the first instance of such leaflets appearing in the Tajik capital--similar leaflets, signed by opposition field commander Rizvon circulated in Dushanbe in May. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. IAEA CHIEF IN KAZAKHSTAN. Hans Blix, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Almaty on 25 July, where he is expected to sign on 26 July an agreement with the Kazakh government which will put all of Kazakhstan's nuclear materials and facilities under IAEA control, Interfax reports. Kazakhstan, which had a large number of nuclear missiles left on its territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has agreed to have those missiles disarmed and removed to Russia for destruction under international control; it also ratified the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty in December 1993. The Kazakhstan government also hopes that the IAEA team accompanying Blix will carry out an extensive study of the environmental impact which the Soviets' nuclear testing at Semipalatinsk had on the region; President Nursultan Nazarbaev has long complained that Kazakhstan was left alone to deal with this Soviet legacy, which he claims affected more than 500,000 people. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKMEN-IRANIAN ENERGY COOPERATION. On 22 July Iran's Minister of Energy completed discussions with Turkmen officials in Ashgabat on energy and water resources, ITAR-TASS reported. The discussions included the possibility of sending electricity produced in Turkmenistan to other countries using Iran's electric power grid, and also of the possibility of uniting the two countries' electric systems. The question of costs remained unresolved. The discussions also dealt with joint construction of reservoirs on border rivers and the setting up in Turkmenistan of facilities to produce equipment for water management. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS CSCE EXAMINES RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING IN MOLDOVA. On the second anniversary of Russia's peacemaking operation in Moldova, amid proliferating reports of Russian acquiescence in violations of the armistice convention by "Dniester" forces, a representative of the CSCE's Chairman in Office arrived in Moldova to assess Russia's peacemaking operation, Basapress reported on 22 July. Moldovan officials told the agency that the problem was being discussed "in the context of Russia's demarches to obtain an international mandate as a peacemaker in this region." They said that they gave Bascone evidence on the formation of "Dniester" paramilitary units in the demilitarized zone, particularly in the sector controlled by the Russian troops. On 20 July, for the first time in two years and possibly in connection with Russia's quest for an international mandate, the Joint Control Commission was able for the first time in two years to allow the CSCE to watch the peacemaking operation in Moldova, under an agreement for cooperation it signed with the CSCE Mission in Chisinau. The arrangement had long been urged by Chisinau but had been blocked by Russia and Tiraspol. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BENDERY UPDATE. Lt.-Colonel Valerii Prudnikov, commander of Moldova's police unit in Bendery, site of the largest battle in the war of 1992, detailed to Basapress on 22 July recent violations of the armistice convention as they affect the police. The convention, treating the lawful police and rebel "Dniester" militia equally, had established numerical parity and an equal division of responsibilities between them in demilitarized Bendery. Yet in recent months the "Dniester" militia has grown to more than 500 compared to the 104 policemen; it has disconnected almost all police telephones and severely restricts police movements; the "Dniester" KGB (it is still called that) has taken over offices in the police building itself and installed additional armed men there. Russian peacemakers responsible for the sector have condoned these moves. Prudnikov said that the Joint Control Commission is unable to take any action because of "Dniester" and Russian veto power. On the other hand, "Dniester" president Igor Smirnov's spokesperson expressed satisfaction, telling ITAR-TASS on 21 July that "Russia's peacemaking mission on the Dniester has produced a valuable experience for settling armed conflicts on the territory of the CIS." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE NEW LATVIAN PRIME MINISTER NAMED. On 25 July Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis told a press briefing that he had asked Andrejs Krastins, a Saeima deputy chairman who is a board and council member of the right-wing Latvian National Independence Movement (LNIM), to form a new Cabinet, BNS reports. Ulmanis said that although Latvia's Way and the LNIM were ready to form a new government, he felt that another political force should be given the opportunity to do so. He agreed with Krastins that maintaining the former government's policy in security, developing the state financial system, and drafting an agricultural policy should be the main principles of the new government. The Latvia's Way faction announced that it found it impossible to delegate its ministers to the LNIM government and felt that its formation did not correspond to the principles of democracy in the Constitution. If the Saeima does not approve Krastins, Ulmanis said that he would continue talks with other political groups and dissolve the Saeima only if no solution to the crisis was found. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. BOUTROS-GHALI SAYS THAT UNPROFOR MAY HAVE TO GO. International media report on 26 July that the UN secretary-general said the previous day that the world organization's forces in the former Yugoslavia could be endangered if Muslim "safe areas" are expanded or if the arms embargo against the Muslims is lifted. One or both measures could be endorsed by the Contact Group following the apparent Serb rejection of the latest peace plan, but Boutros-Ghali apparently fears that these steps would invite Serb retaliation at UN expense. The UN commander in Bosnia, Gen. Sir Michael Rose, has said his men would be "sitting ducks" in such a case. The secretary-general adds that the Contact Group might consider setting up its own force under UN authorization to replace UNPROFOR. Reuters notes that "critics argue the UN's humanitarian success in Bosnia has masked massive political failure. They charge that peacekeeping, with its emphasis on negotiation and consent, has been a convenient tool for appeasing the Serbs--and they point to 200,000 dead and a million homeless, most of them Muslim, as proof." Finally, The Guardian on 25 July said that the UN has threatened to pull UNPROFOR out of Croatia in a week if the blockade of its control posts by refugees is not lifted. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UN CHARGES SERBS WITH HEAVY WEAPONS VIOLATIONS. The Washington Post on 26 July reports that Bosnian Serb forces violated the heavy weapons ban by lobbing shells into the Gorazde area over a dozen times in the previous two days. One Muslim woman was killed while she was helping with the harvest. The UN, in response, sent the Serbs a letter warning of NATO retribution. In another story regarding Serbs and guns, news agencies said on 25 July that the Sarajevo airport has reopened for UNPROFOR flights after the Serbs pledged not to fire on them. The humanitarian airlift, however, remains suspended. And in one of the more bizarre stories reported out of Bosnia in recent weeks, Reuters reported on 25 July that two French soldiers serving with UNPROFOR have defected to the Serbs. Bosnian Serb military sources said that the men wanted to "fight the Muslims who have flooded France." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV TO TALK WITH MLADIC. RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service said on 25 July that Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev will visit Serbia today. Observers in Moscow noted that it was especially interesting that he met with President Yeltsin before leaving, and that Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic is the only specific individual with whom it has been announced that Grachev is planning to meet. Also in Moscow, diplomats from the Contact Group gathered to discuss possible responses to the Serb rejection of the partition plan, but Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that, while Russia is "taking the necessary steps" to encourage Serb compliance, the plan "is well-balanced and realistic . . . [and] it would hardly be expedient to depart from it now." Experts from the Group are expected to meet Thursday and Friday, but the planned 30 July gathering of foreign ministers could be postponed somewhat, AFP quoted Russian special envoy Vitalii Churkin as saying. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DJINDJIC SEES NO REASON TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENT. On 26 July the Serbian press continue their coverage of the fallout of a fight that erupted in Serbia's parliament on 22 July in which deputies of ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj's Serbian Radical Party (SRS) clashed with police. A Borba piece reports on Democratic Party (DS) Zoran Djindjic's reaction, which seems to indicate that a rift may be developing within the opposition ranks over how to handle responsibility for the brawl. According to Djindjic, the DS stands to make no gains by joining with the SRS, and likely Vuk Draskovic's Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition, in boycotting upcoming parliamentary sessions. Djindjic stated "it would be irresponsible for us to abandon the legislature . . . and go out into [the political] sea where Mr. Vojislav Seselj, and from time to time Mr. Vuk Draskovic, splash around." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS RETURN TO PARLIAMENT. The parliamentary wing of the ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD) has decided to return to the legislature, Borba reported on 25 July. The party left the assembly early that month, following the sentencing of former PPD ministers, who were found guilty of gathering weapons and forming a paramilitary unit. The return of the parliamentary faction is a result of the recent third party congress, in which Abdurrahman Haliti was elected new party leader, Rilindja reported on 22 July. His predecessor, Xheladin Murati, was elected at a congress on 1 February, in which the main ethnic Albanian party split into a minor and a major, "radical" parliamentary wing. In fact both factions still have the same name and do not differ much in their programmatic position. According to Rilindja, Haliti said that his party wants "equal civil and national rights for the Albanians in Macedonia." The larger faction of Arber Xhaferi broke away in February, charging that the parliamentary faction had failed to attain this goal by joining the governing coalition. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND PREDICTS 4.5% GROWTH. Despite optimistic forecasts of hearty economic growth, Poland is faltering in its efforts to master inflation. Central Planning Chief Miroslaw Pietrewicz told a press conference on 25 July that GDP will grow 4.5% and industrial production, 8.5%, in 1994. But inflation will exceed planned levels, amounting to 26% rather than 23% in a December-December assessment, or 31% rather than 27% on average. Pietrewicz attributed this inflation to the surge in salaries prompted by the four-month lack of wage controls in state firms, along with increases in pensions and other benefits required when the average wage rises. Real wages in industry are expected to rise 4.3% in 1994, he said. Unemployment will reach 17.1% by the end of the year. Poland's balance of trade will improve, with exports rising by 10% and imports only by 5%, but 1994 will still see an overall trade deficit of $1.7 billion ($600 million less than in 1993). In its editorial, Zycie Warszawy expressed alarm at the high wage growth in state firms, 40% of which are still in the red, and the simultaneous slow-down in the registration of new firms in the private sector, which recorded a 37.3% increase in production the first half of 1994. Rzeczpospolita notes that the private sector accounted for 60.5% of employment and 55% of GDP in the first six months of 1994. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. DEMONSTRATIONS AT CZECH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT END. Czech and West European environmentalists have ended a demonstration at the nuclear power plant at Temelin. Demonstrators began blockading the plant on 24 July. (See RFE/RL Daily Report, 25 July 1994). On 25 July the State Electric Company called police to clear at least one entrance. A police spokesman told CTK that 30 persons were detained; most paid fines. Two demonstrators were slightly injured when cars drove into the plant. A spokesman for the demonstrators told reporters that participants considered the event successful and similar protests would probably continue to take place. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH REPUBLIC RESPONDS TO CLINTON'S PLEA ON RWANDA. A spokesman for Czech Deputy Prime Minister Josef Lux told CTK on 25 July that the Czech ministry of defense will send humanitarian assistance to Rwanda within a few days. A team of Czech doctors may also be sent. The decision came in response to a letter by US President Bill Clinton, sent to Lux on 25 July, in which the US President asked the Czech Republic to participate in the relief effort in Rwanda. Lux is currently acting in place of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, who is on vacation. On 25 July Clinton also sent a letter to Czech President Vaclav Havel, explaining the US position on Haiti. Lux communicated the contents of the letter to Havel, who is also on vacation, over the phone. The contents of the letter were not made public. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR OFFERS LOAN TO ROMANIES. Movement for a Democratic Slovakia Chairman Vladimir Meciar recently offered a loan of one million koruny to Romany groups for their election campaign under the condition that they run for elections as a unified initiative under the name of the Romany Civic Initiative, Sme reported on 25 July. Five Romany parties held a conference on 23 July in Kosice, confirming their determination to produce a joint candidate list, which was seen as their only chance to pass the 5% barrier to gain representation in the parliament. At the time the negotiations were taking place, however, a new Romany party was being created in Poprad, while the following day, an announcement was made that another Romany bloc would be formed, Pravda reported. The MDS loan allegedly came to prevent Romanies from supporting the parties in opposition to the MDS. The offer produced mix responses among Romany leaders, but an advance of 50,000 koruny as well as a car has already been presented. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. IMF APPROVES STAND-BY LOAN FOR SLOVAKIA. On 22 July the IMF Board of Directors announced that it had approved a loan of $263 million for Slovakia's economic renewal and general stabilization, TASR reported. Of that total, $94 million is the second part of the STF which Slovakia was granted last year, while the actual stand-by loan amounts to $169 million. The loan will be used to support hard currency reserves and the balance of payments, as well as to maintain internal convertibility for the koruna. In order to be granted the full amount of the loan, Slovakia will have to follow certain macroeconomic guidelines established by the IMF. Slovakia also recently received a loan from the G-24 countries. In other financial news, the Slovak National Bank announced on 22 July that it will issue $258 million in bonds in Japan. Two weeks before the signing of the issue, Slovakia was given a BBB rating by the Japan Bond Research Institute. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN JOURNALISTS PROTEST CANCELLATION OF TV NEWS PROGRAM. The staff of the news program Hirado (Newsreel), a major evening news program, protested at a press conference on 22 July against the cancellation of the program and the firing of the program's chief editor by new television chief Adam Horvath, MTI reports. The program has as a rule been very critical of former Communists, and many of its critics charged that it was openly supportive of the conservative government. Horvath criticized the program for being politically biased and for lack of professionalism. He sent about 30 Hirado staff reporters and 20 part-time employees a letter informing them about their show's cancellation and telling them that they were not fired and would be called back when they were needed. A spokesman for the Hirado staff said that Horvath sought to silence them despite pledges that there would be no purges under the new management. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. LAW ON BULGARIAN JUDICIARY CAUSES DISARRAY. Standart and Demokratsiya report that the new law on the judicial system, passed by parliament on 14 July, will be in force as of 26 July, but that it remains unclear whether parts of it can be implemented. Bulgaria's Minister of Justice, Petar Kornazhev, is of the opinion that a new Prosecutor General and Chairman of the Supreme Court have to be elected in early September, since the incumbents fail to meet the requirements (on five years experience as judge or prosecutor) laid down in the new legislation. The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), on the other hand, has reached the conclusion that the incumbents cannot be forced to leave before having completed the 7-year term envisaged by article 129 of the 1991 constitution. The SJC also notes that the constitution precludes the possibility of a judge appointed more than three years ago being replaced. Since it is the SJC which is charged with electing top jurists, it seems unlikely that the law will be enforced until the Constitutional Court has settled the issue. Kjell Engelbrekt and Antonina Bakardjieva, RFE/RL, Inc. BLACK SEA STATES BEGIN NAVAL EXERCISE. On 25 July seven countries plus the United States launched a unprecedented naval exercise in the Black Sea, BTA and Western agencies report. "Breeze '94" is scheduled to go on for four days and involve ships from the US, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, as well as observers from Georgia. The US Embassy in Sofia released a statement saying that US participation in the exercise should be regarded as a sign of "our enduring interest in the stability of Eastern Europe." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. RESULTS OF UKRAINE'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Final results of the 24 July parliamentary elections in Ukraine showed they were valid in 65 of the 112 districts and resulted in the election of 20 new deputies. Runoff elections in the 45 districts in which there was no clear winner will take place on 7 August. The other 47 districts which did not have the required 50% voter turnout to make the elections valid will hold a new round of elections in November. Of the 20 new deputies, 18 have no party affiliation. The elections were not valid in 18 districts of Kiev and 2 districts of Sevastopol, UNIAN reported on 25 July. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLIAMENT EXAMINES ISSUE OF TROOPS IN CRIMEA. The Crimean parliament met on 20 July and examined the issue of rental payments from the Ukrainian and Black Sea Fleet forces in Crimea, Ukrainian television reported on 24 July. The meeting was held in a closed session. Currently the Black Sea Fleet is reportedly making only irregular payments for its use of Crimean land, while the Ukrainian armed forces are making no payments at all. The Crimean Supreme Council has raised the issue of payment for the land used by troops with both Moscow and Kiev and is considering expelling the forces if they do not pay for the use of the land. If Ukraine and Russia should refuse to reduce their forces, then the Crimean parliament will demand that they compensate the peninsula for the loss of the part of its autonomous territory which is used by the troops. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW BELARUSIAN MINISTERS BEGIN WORK. The new Belarusian cabinet met on 25 July, Interfax and Belarusian television reported. The first meeting was reportedly devoted to making further ministerial appointments which do not require parliament's endorsement. Parliament had approved almost all of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's nominees for the six key ministerial posts. On 27 July the new foreign minister, Uladzimir Syanko, and the new interior minister, Yuriy Zakharenko, will formally take over their new offices. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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