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FEBRUARY 9, 1995

                  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                    DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
                          I N D E X
                 Thursday, February 9, 1995

                                      Briefers: Phyllis Oakley
                                                Christine Shelly

   Upcoming Rwanda/Burundi Regional Refugee Conf ....2,5-6
   U.S. Financial Pledges/Contributions .............3,7
   Remarks by Assistant Secretary Oakley ............1-3
   Introduction of Ambassador Friedman/
     Desk Officer Kevin Aiston ......................2
   Genocide Trials/Tribunals ........................4
   Transport of Food Supplies to Refugee Camps ......4
   Draft Plan of Action .............................5
   Locations/Numbers of Rwandan Refugees ............6
   U.S. FY96 Financial Aid to Rwanda ................7

   Senator Helms' Proposed Bill on Tighter
     Sanctions ......................................8

   Budget--US Assistance Levels by Country ..........8-9

   Yitzhak Rabin/Yasir Arafat Meeting--2/8 ..........9
   EU/French FM Juppe/Yasir Arafat Meeting ..........9-10
   Palestinian Efforts to Address Terrorism,
     Violence/Israeli Border Closure ................10-11
   Foreign Ministers Washington Meeting, 2/10 .......11-12
   U.S. Contacts with Syria .........................12

   Capture/Arrest of Ramzi Ahmad Yusuf/Reward .......12-13

   Border Dispute--Meeting between Parties ..........14
   Secretary Christopher/Undersecretary Tarnoff
     Meeting w/ Ecuadoran Delegation ................14

   Report of Turkish F-16 Crash in Mediterranean ....14-15
   Greek Veto of Turkey Entry into Euro Customs
     Union ..........................................15


DPC #21

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1995, 12:40 P. M.

MS. SHELLY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to introduce Phyllis Oakley, our Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration -- that's otherwise known as PRM -- who will discuss the upcoming Rwanda/Burundi Regional Refugee Conference which will take place in Bujumbura from February 15 through 17.

Mrs. Oakley will head the U.S. delegation to the conference. She also plans to visit Rwandan refugee camps in Goma, Zaire, and in Ngozi, Northern Burundi.

Over the years, Assistant Secretary Oakley has had a distinguished assignment record which has served her well for her position as the first Assistant Secretary for PRM. She was a Special Assistant on the Middle East to the Under Secretary Philip Habib. She served as Special Projects Coordinator in AID's Afghan Cross-Border Assistance Program, and as the Department's Afghan Desk Officer.

However, of far greater importance, of course, is the fact that she served as the first woman Deputy Spokesman for the Department, and that clearly overshadows all of these other important assignments that she's had. I'm not too parochial, am I, in this perspective? Anyway, without any further introduction, let me pass the microphone to her. She'll follow the usual format, after which I'll continue with your questions on other subjects.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: Thank you very much. I'm glad to be back, I guess. But it does feel very familiar to be back here, and I guess it's been, oh, a long time since I have been here.

I apologize for my throat. I have a cold, but I hope that it will not impede a good exchange with you.

What I'd like to do today is talk to you about this situation in Rwanda and Burundi. I know all of you were as caught up in the humanitarian crisis that developed last spring and summer, as we were here. The Department of State, of course, was very involved in all the humanitarian efforts that went on last spring and summer.

What I'd really like to point out today is that we continue to be involved out there with the many aspects of a coordinated policy of trying to help these governments achieve some sort of reconciliation; to look to the repatriation of the refugees, to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice, and basically to move both of these countries along.

The focus of why I'm here today, is that we have cooperated with the OAU, the U.N., and the UNHCR to call for a refugee conference that will be held February 15 through 17 in Bujumbura. It will bring together many of the outside countries that are interested in this area. It will have the representatives of the countries in the area, and lots of the U.N. organizations, who have played such an important role in the efforts over the last six to eight months. Also, many PVOs, who have been very active and helpful in trying to move these societies along.

Let me introduce before I forget Ambassador Townsend Friedman, who is the Special Coordinator for Rwanda. He had formerly been Ambassador in Mozambique. He will be going out with us. And I think we have the Desk Officer here, Kevin Aiston, who will also be able to answer any questions, if you need very specifics on the political situation in either Burundi or Rwanda.

Let me say that we attach importance to this proposed conference. We see it as an important opportunity to focus on the diplomatic and practical steps needed to permit large- scale repatriation of Rwandan and Burundi refugees, as well as an opportunity for regional players to discuss the inescapable political context.

We envisage a conference that is going to come up with some practical steps; that it will have concrete things that can be done in regard to camp security, land tenure questions, confidence-building mechanisms and indemnification.

We hope that it does not simply end up as speechifying and just exhortations to give more money. There has been a drafting group that's been meeting in Addis Ababa, organized by the OAU and the UNHCR. It's now circulating that there will be another preparatory meeting in Bujumbura from the 12th to the 14th. The conference will begin on the 15th through the 17th. We understand that they're expecting over 300 people. I will head the delegation, which will also include our Ambassadors in the area.

We have promised the UNHCR $50,000 toward the cost of the conference, which has budgeted $288,000. The Belgian, Canadian and Dutch Governments have also contributed. Another aspect of our discussions out there will be the two active volcanoes in the Goma area. I think many of you, who followed this situation last year, remembered that there had been the threat of eruptions. These have occurred in the Goma area. There are volcanologists out there studying this. There has been some increased activity. I think I don't need to explain or highlight the potential for further human disaster if we should have a massive eruption, and I think we all know the need to be prepared.

Other parts of our Refugee Bureau have been off visiting the camps in Tanzania. I will be going to Goma before I go to Bujumbura. Others will be going down to the Bukavu area. Certainly, the Governments of Zaire, Burundi and Tanzania have fulfilled their obligations very admirably in welcoming all these refugees, who poured out so suddenly.

I don't really need to go on about the major efforts that the United States made, particularly all during the summer. I think nobody really had a good idea on the numbers, but certainly over a million refugees poured over into the Goma area.

We have contributed $272 million as a total. That includes some of the DoD contributions but not all that they provided in the sense of the airlift, logistical support and the water purification.

I do not need to remind you that this is a complex humanitarian situation that involves many, many aspects of the United States Government, within the State Department, and AID. It involves the bureaus of PM, IO, U.N. activity and special representatives. And, as I said, it's the blending of the human rights, the humanitarian and the political aspects that will finally, I think, come together to move the peanut forward toward reconciliation -- certainly above all refugee repatriation.

I think that's enough. If any of you have any questions about this, I'd be glad to take them.


Q First of all, welcome back.


Q Some refugee and human rights groups say that it's going to be pointless to try any massive repatriation until first there is some sign that justice is being done -- genocide trials and such. Do you agree or disagree?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: Yes, I agree. I think this is what I'm talking about, a complex humanitarian emergency. We know that the human rights situation monitors and the tribunal to bring those perpetrators of genocide to justice is an integral part of creating the situation and the conditions, inside Rwanda, that will permit refugees to feel comfortable about returning.

I think the point again that I would emphasize is that we have to work at all of these aspects at the same time. We have to get a government that's up and running in Rwanda. We have to make sure that there is a process of justice, and that people are brought to court over these really incredible massacres that occurred of at least half a million Tutsis last spring.

In the end, there has to be some political process and agreement and reconciliation, so that we're able to say we feel we've made a fundamental difference and that we won't see a repeat of this terrible ethnic conflict in 10 or 15 years.

Q Mrs. Oakley, there are reports that many of the relief agencies are saying that money and food are running out, and that donors are not stepping forward to give more money so that they can buy more food, and there's only about eight weeks of food left in some of these major camps.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: The responsibility for running the camps lies with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Ogata. She has been personally involved in this situation from the very beginning. The food comes through the World Food Program. There are many other organizations that are at work out there.

There have been some pipeline problems in getting the food to this very central African location. There have been problems of roadblocks and checks and getting the permission of the various governments to move the food. But I think that is a problem that can be dealt with.

I think the other problem, which is the moral problem that many of the PVOs have talked about, is perhaps more difficult. These people have said, "Look, we're in these camps now providing food and medicine and care to groups that were responsible for this genocide; and is our activity here just to support these groups so that at some point they will be able to go back and repeat this terrible kind of human tragedy?"

I think the answer to that is that we've all been aware of the moral dilemma. None of us has the means to solve it. But it does make it all the more imperative to push for the conditions so the refugees can go back voluntarily, that the hold of the ex-Rwandan Government officers and army people can be broken in the camps, that the refugees are able to move freely of their own free will, and that there is a policy of reconciliation.

All of it has to be handled at the same time, which makes it very complicated. But I think that the international community has done, after perhaps a slow start, a pretty good job of trying to balance all of these elements. Certainly the United States Government intends to stay involved in this and pushing on the same things.


Q You talked about concrete steps that you want to come out of this conference, do you see, or is the U.S. going to propose some sort of a blueprint, a specific timetable, for trying to get a political process going, for trying to get this government up and running, as you say, is so critical?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: I don't think that we're going to be proposing timeframes or what-not. I think all of us feel that it has to move together. Again, I'd say, it's all been too slow for what we would have wanted. And yet when we look back from where we are now, at the beginning of February, we really have come a long way since last July and August, when I first went out again to the Goma area.

But there is this draft plan of action that is being drawn up not by the United States, but by a community of people who were interested. I think the point to keep in mind is that we're working with a lot of other people to develop this whole program. We want it to be specific, that it address these specific issues and at least come up with some sort of plan. I think it is also important for the refugees to know that representatives of the governments involved in the area and the international organizations are all looking at these things even if we can't expect that we're going to have, by this date -- that all the indemnification will take place.

Q You said one million refugees in Goma. Those are Rwandans?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: I think many of us have used a lot of figures on the refugee numbers. In the total, we have said that there were about two million Rwandan refugees who poured out of Rwanda over the spring and the summer. If you remember, the first groups went into Tanzania. That is where there is a very large group in camps that was organized by the Tanzanian Government with the UNHCR. I think that number is about 500,000.

In the Goma area now, certain refugees have gone back. They have been able to do a registration recently. Our figures are that there are about 750,000 refugees in that area. I think down in the Goma area, there are between 250,000 and 300,000. (TO STAFF) Is that right?

STAFF: Bukavu.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: Bukavu, excuse me. So those are the three major concentrations of refugees. There are also some refugees in Burundi as well.

Q Are there also now some Burundi refugees going across on their own?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: Yes. The number for those is much lower than it is for the others. But, as you know, in this area, there have been repeated waves of violence since 1959. This is one area where people really had to designate the year in which certain refugees left. There are old refugees, new refugees, and mid-term refugees.


Q Who will be attending besides the U.S. and UNHCR, and at what level?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: I think that the level varies. Usually, it is from the Foreign Ministry. Sometimes it gets into cooperation. I think roughly about at my level. Certainly, the French, Belgian, German, Italian and Japanese Governments have also been part of this. The Dutch have been part of the support group that the United States has organized, and has been meeting to help focus attention and to coordinate relief activities.

So there will be, I guess -- what? -- 20; and then the governments of the area, certainly: Zaire, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, as well as OAU officials. So I think we'll have an interesting meeting that will, hopefully, be able to push things forward.

Q Is there any money budgeted in '96 for Rwanda?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: Whose budget? Ours in the State Department?

Q Yes.


Q Do you know how much?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: No, I don't have that but we can get that for you. Usually, George, we have in our budget figures that go up on the Hill, we do it by assistance and then we do it by region. There will be a large number budgeted for Africa. We've always been able to have some flexibility within the year, although the plans are generally laid out, because these humanitarian situations change so quickly.

Q Won't this be a series of exhortations for money? Do the other participants, do you think, share your stress on needing to clean up the moral problem?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: To varying degrees. But everybody has been aware of this problem. They've talked about it. There are so many of the private voluntary organizations from Europe who have had representatives working there and have been back in touch with their governments about that. Not everybody to the same degree, but, certainly, it has been a factor. I think, really, the Europeans were the first ones to really accentuate the moral problems.

Q You also seem to be downplaying the reports of a shortage of food as basically a pipeline problem. Are you downplaying that in favor of -- is there a quid pro quo here, in other words, of cleaning up the more complicated issues?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OAKLEY: No. Once again, UNHCR has the responsibility for organizing this. Sometimes there are problems. I have really not been aware of one.

UNHCR feels that their responsibility is not to make these political judgments. They're there to help the refugees and keep the food going.

Mrs. Ogata is going to be in Goma on Sunday. I will be visiting with her there and in Bujumbura, and we will certainly be looking at all these problems with our European allies.

Thank you.

(Following Assistant Secretary Oakley's departure, Acting Spokesman Christine Shelly resumed the Daily Briefing at 12:58 p.m.)

MS. SHELLY: Questions? Other subjects?

Q Are you for more sanctions against Cuba?

MS. SHELLY: Are we for more sanctions against Cuba? I think that's a back-door way into the Jesse Helms potential legislation question.

Q Do you have a position on that?

MS. SHELLY: Our policy toward Cuba is based on the Cuban Democracy Act. That's the law of the land, and we're in full compliance with that law. Our policy is obviously to promote the economic and political reforms in Cuba and to try to see developments unfold in a way that would make that happen.

The issue of possible tightening of sanctions is something which, it is my understanding, is what's at the heart of Senator Helm's proposal. We still have not seen that proposed legislation yet, and so I don't want to touch on something that we obviously will be dealing with slightly farther down the road.


Q Christine, how do you feel about attempts, though, to tighten the embargo?

MS. SHELLY: Again, Betsy, I think it gets into the question of his legislation. There is an embargo in place. That is something that we certainly continue to support. But as to adjustments to that, since, again, it gets directly into what I understand is at the heart of that legislation, until we have an opportunity to look at the legislation to see specifically what's in it, I don't think I want to get into the "what-if" scenarios.


Q At the budget briefing the other day, you said -- not you said but some official said that we would be getting country breakdowns later in the week. It's later in the week, and I just wonder when we could expect those?

MS. SHELLY: Let me check on that. I don't have them yet, but let me see when those are going to be available.

Q Christine, one more on Cuba. Has there been any other decision about getting the legal Cubans out of Cuba into Miami -- those that have been allowed?

MS. SHELLY: Nothing new on that for today.

Q Christine, do you have any reading of what happened in the meeting yesterday between Rabin and Arafat? Do you have any idea of what impact it's going to have on the process?

MS. SHELLY: I don't have much of one to share on that. When we do a briefing on this tomorrow, you might want to ask that question again.

What I've seen so far are just some press reports that came out of the meeting. My reaction on it is fairly general because I, as I said, I don't have a readout on the meeting through official channels. Obviously, it was a difficult meeting. The indications are that the parties are wrestling with some very difficult issues.

The Israelis are obviously -- and I think understandably -- focused on the security issues. The Palestinians are very preoccupied with having the process go forward, particularly given the very real economic difficulties that they are experiencing.

There are issues and problems that are there. They have to be worked through. The parties are trying to do that. I think the fact that they met is an indication of that, and they indicated they would also meet again next week.

We will continue to do what we can to support both sides as they try to work through the problems.

Q Mr. Arafat met with the EU Commission led by Foreign Minister Juppe in East Jerusalem. First of all, do you think the fact that they met in East Jerusalem was appropriate? And, secondly, Mr. Juppe said very clearly that the EU supported Arafat's call to lift the closure of the Gaza Strip. Is that our position as well?

MS. SHELLY: Sid, we know, of course, these meetings have taken place. I don't know what we have in the way of any kind of official readouts from the parties involved in them. But until we have something like that, I don't think we're going to want to comment.

On the Jerusalem question, it's a sensitive issue. You know that. The Secretary has also said that insofar as our actions are concerned, we would not want to do anything which would complicate the equation at this point. I just think that we don't feel the need to make a specific comment about what Juppe, in his EU capacity, was doing on that score.

Q About wanting to see the transcript of Alain Juppe's press conference to know whether you favor the early lifting of the closure of the Gaza Strip or not. Do you favor that or not?

MS. SHELLY: Sid, I want a chance to see the entirety of what he said, and then we'll decide if we would like to comment on his comments.

Q Leave Juppe out of it. Does the U.S. favor lifting the closure of the Gaza Strip now?

MS. SHELLY: Sid, this is an issue between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I don't think that it is productive for us to get into the middle.

Q You're right smack in the middle of it, though. In your opening statement, you said we're doing everything we can. Now you're saying it's not appropriate for you to be in the middle of it.

MS. SHELLY: I'm saying that we're doing everything we can to support the sides as they work through the problems. That does not mean that we get out there and pronounce ourselves and take a position on every single issue that is out there. I don't have any trouble understanding the gist of what I'm saying on that.

There's completely a difference between indicating that we are trying to work with the parties and be helpful versus taking a public position on issues which are clearly sensitive and are being worked.

Q I'll take it a different way, Christine. The Foreign Minister of Israel yesterday said that the Palestinians are displaying in the last few days an attempt on their part to take control of things, possibly with all of these -- rounding some militants and other fundamentalist by Arafat and others. He said this is a condition to lift the closure of the Gaza and the West Bank areas.

Will you welcome such things, and will you address this issue if you don't want to commit yourself straightforward, flatly, inquire or ask or appeal to Israel to lift the closure in this excommunication between the people there and the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip with Israel proper.

MS. SHELLY: We said yesterday at this briefing that the Palestinians clearly, in the most recent timeframe, in the last couple of weeks, were taking measures to address the violence situation, the terrorist problem. It was clear that they were engaged in a serious effort to do so.

We've often said before that we note the progress but also note that more can be done. I think that's still exactly where we are. Beyond what we've said on this yesterday and previously, I don't intend to go any further. That's what our position is, and it continues to be.

Q Can you call on Israel to be reciprocal with the attempt on the part of the Palestinians? Because it looks like the balance is trying -- you know, to correct the situation. Israel is saying that if you'll do this, we'll do that. Could you come as an arbitrator of good will to try to change the situation for the better?

MS. SHELLY: No. Because, frankly, you're inviting me to get in the middle of it and that's exactly what we don't wish to do.

Q Like my colleague said, you are in the middle anyway; you are the chief sponsor of the whole peace process in the Middle East. You cannot deny that.

MS. SHELLY: We also are very careful about the degree to which we are engaged in public characterizations and discussions and exhortations to the parties in handling our responsibilities.

Q How important will you see this upcoming meeting on Sunday? And what role do you think you will be having at this meeting between the Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians, and the PLO?

MS. SHELLY: I already said virtually every day this week that we expect to have a briefing on this tomorrow. I still don't have the time and the modalities of that yet.

Simply, in the general sense, Sunday's meeting is part of the effort to reinvigorate the negotiations and to support the parties as they work through these problems.


Q It's a follow-up on his question which -- he partly asked the one I was going to ask.

Given the fact that two of the four principals of the parties who are going to be meeting here Sunday met yesterday and made no headway, what can be achieved by lower- level officials in Washington on Sunday?

MS. SHELLY: Again, that's a question to raise tomorrow. As I said, I've used what I have on this. It's a very limited guidance for today; but that's one of the reasons that we're having a Backgrounder on this tomorrow.

Q Perhaps you have something on Syria today. There's been a lot of very negative words coming out of Damascus in the last few days relating to the negotiations and Israeli obstinacy. What's going on with Syria now? Are you all -- is the Secretary talking to them? Is there any effort to get them to -- have they started their talks again in Washington? I understand the Ambassador is now back.

MS. SHELLY: I don't have any announcements on that today. We'd like to see progress on that track, as you know; but again I'd suggest raising the question tomorrow.

Q And you said that tomorrow would be ON BACKGROUND?

MS. SHELLY: I didn't say. I think I know what your preference is. We're still working on it.


Q I just wonder --

MS. SHELLY: I know. That's absolutely understood. No breakdown in communication here.


Q A man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing was arrested in Pakistan and brought to this country last night. Has the U.S. promised Pakistan anything in return for his being turned over to this country?

MS. SHELLY: Not specifically that I'm aware. They arrested Yusuf and turned him over to U.S. authorities in accordance with the requirements of international law. We certainly appreciate all of the efforts involved in his capture.

Q Who gets the reward?

MS. SHELLY: On that, I don't have anything specific. As you know, we had the announcement for a reward of up to $2 million for information leading to the arrest of Yusuf. The possibility of paying a reward in this case is currently under consideration.

Q By State or FBI or who?

MS. SHELLY: I think it was a State Department reward program, so it's under consideration here.

Q So there is an individual out there who you can identify as providing information leading to this arrest?

MS. SHELLY: I decline to be more specific.

Q Is there a specific amount earmarked for the arrest of this gentleman?

MS. SHELLY: No. "Up to $2 million" was what was in the announced offer, and at this point I think it's too early to speculate on exactly how much that might be.

Q Why can't you be specific about this matter? Is there some -- I mean, it's no longer -- you know, the guy's been arrested. He's in custody. What's your worry about being specific?

MS. SHELLY: Because I have good reasons for deciding to be less specific rather than more specific. There are obviously considerations related to the circumstances. As you know, there is a law enforcement part of this; and we need to be very, very careful that we don't get involved in doing anything which might jeopardize the ability of our law enforcement authorities to proceed with the case.

But I'm simply at this point today not in a position to be any more specific about the possibility of paying a reward.

Q Will you be specific about if he was brought to this country in a U.S. carrier or a Pakistani carrier?

MS. SHELLY: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.


Q At the time of the Pope's visit to the Philippines, this building released some travel warnings which were somewhat puzzling at the time, saying that people traveling on American carriers to the Philippines and to other parts of the world in that direction --

MS. SHELLY: It was involving East Asia, yes.

Q -- should be careful because of unspecified threats against these carriers. Was he part of the reason for these alerts, or is the alert still valid? Are there other things still going on in that region?

MS. SHELLY: I don't know the answer to that, and I'll be happy to look into that. There was a specific threat which was received, and we put out advisories and worked to implement all of the appropriate security measures, working with airlines that were traveling into and out of the East Asian region. But I don't have any specific information on that point, but I'll be happy to check on it.

Q Do you have anything on the meeting yesterday involving the envoy from Ecuador?

MS. SHELLY: I just have a little bit of an update on the situation, and it also touches on that meeting.

Representatives of the two parties -- Ecuador and Peru -- are still meeting under the auspices of the four Rio Protocol Guarantors. The U.S. and the other guarantors remain convinced that through constructive good-faith dialogue, the two parties will be able to reach agreement on ending the fighting.

An Ecuadoran delegation, headed by President of the Ecuadoran Congress, Heinz Moeller, met yesterday with Secretary Christopher and Under Secretary Tarnoff. The Secretary emphasized the impartial role of the guarantors, the importance of an immediate cease-fire, and the significance all parties attach to the ongoing talks in Brasilia.

Q A Turkish F-16 crashed in the Mediterranean yesterday, and there have been several versions of the event. Some say the F-16 was flying over international waters and it involved a mechanical problem. The others say yes, it was a mechanical problem, but it was flying over Greek territorial waters. And yet some other people said that there were Greek jets, you know, chasing the Turkish jet.

What is the Administration's version of the events? Are you concerned with it, and did you send any messages to Turkish and Greek Governments?

MS. SHELLY: It's the type of incident that, obviously, is always of concern to us. I don't know whether the United States nationally would be in a position to know all of the facts concerned. I think it's something that the facts might possibly be looked at more in the NATO context.

I'm not aware of any explanation other than a mechanical problem taking place. We are obviously concerned about incidents of that kind having an impact on the relationship, but again our exchanges with them on incidents of this type are something that we would not be terribly likely to discuss publicly.

Q On the same subject. According to some wire reports this morning, the Greek Government -- they used their veto power against Turkish entrance for European Customs Union. Do you have any reaction?

MS. SHELLY: No, I haven't seen the report. I don't have any information on that.

Q Thank you.

MS. SHELLY: Thanks.

(The briefing concluded at 1:14 p.m.)


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