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Friday, 11 June 2004






Dnevni avaz

SFOR satisfied with results of search

Lt. Mark Hope, SFOR spokesperson, said that SFOR was satisfied with the results of the search that was conducted in Banja Luka two days ago. He refused to give more details about the search. Nor could he clarify whether SFOR searched the apartment of Ljubinko Mitrovic, who is the head of the office of RS Minister of Internal Affairs Zoran Djeric. /The same in Nezavisne Novine, p.3 and Glas Srpske, p.2/


Nezavisne Novine

Packett dismisses General Dragicevic

On adecision of COMSFOR, Major General Virgil Packett, General Drago Dragicevic, the Inspector General of the Federation Minister of Defence, has been dismissed from his post. On 4 June this year, COMSFOR signed an order on the temporary suspension of three more Federation MOD official. "COMSFOR's order does not contain reasons for Dragicevic's dismissal and the temporary suspension of three more persons. I can only confirm that everything was done in accordance with Chapter 14 of the Instruction To the Parties, defined by COMSFOR," said one high-level official at the BIH Ministry of Defence.


Nezavisne Novine

Bjelica remains in custody

Lt. Mark Hope, SFOR spokesperson, said that Milovan Bjelica, President of the Srpsko Sarajevo City Assembly, would remain in custody until the investigation SFOR is conducting was completed.


Slobodna Bosna

"If need be, I will go to arrest Radovan Karadzic myself"

A Slobodna Bosna journalist interviewed COMSFOR, US General Virgil Packett on Wednesday 9 June, in the late afternoon at camp Butmir. At the beginning of the interview, General Packett gave the impression of a good-hearted and confident host. Instead of words of welcome, he said: "Ask anything you are interested in," emphasising that he had plenty of time for our paper. As the interview progressed and most of our questions required answers as to why even after nine years in our country SFOR had failed to arrest the most wanted war crimes indictees (primarily Radovan Karadzic, wartime leader of the Republika Srpska), General Packett's patience and relaxed manner lost its intensity, and in the end the US general abruptly ended the interview with our paper with the explanation that the Slobodna Bosna journalist had plenty of information on war criminals and their harbourers, and that there was no need for him to give any additional explanation.

Q: General Packett, in mid-May you said that SFOR had tightened the noose around Radovan Karadzic so much that "we can feel him breathing." If this is true, then why have you not arrested him yet? How, according to your information, has Karadzic been breathing lately?

A: First, I want everyone to understand that this is one "all inclusive." Therefore a lot of means, possibilities, and effort is necessary, but when I say effort then I am referring to collective effort. We have come close to the network that is supporting Karadzic and even to those people who are members of this network.

Q: SFOR has the means and the capacity to arrest him, doesn't it?

A: That is correct, but we are still making efforts to see that happen. There is enormous energy and this process will not stop. So we can talk all you want about the past and why this hasn't been done so far, however the energy that is necessary for something like that is here now and it will not stop until Karadzic starts answering for everything he did.

Q: If you have the means and the capacity, and if there is, as you say, the necessary energy for it, then why is it so hard to arrest Karadzic?

A: There is an enormous network of support that works for him. We are constantly working on that, we are getting close to them, we are getting closer.

Karadzic's "breath"

Q: It seems that you are still not that close to "feeling him breathe?"

A: That is your opinion. When I do something, I would like for you to be in my pocket to see it.

Q: You say that you are working on breaking up the network of people who support Karadzic. The international community in BiH has also taken steps in that direction. Is this network so strong that you have failed to break it in all these years?

A: Yes it is, and this network is the one that is sucking the life energy out of this country. The financing of such a network has an effect on the financing of schools, other institutions, and the infrastructure of the whole country.

Q: Yes, but in that way it does not effect SFOR's mission.

A: Actually, SFOR's mission is to provide a safe environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that is what we have done.

Q: Your mandate also includes arresting persons indicted for war crimes?

A: SFOR has the mandate to provide support to the ICTY in The Hague.

Q: Of course, in such a way that it will, among other things, arrest persons indicted for war crimes.

A: Yes, that is surely one of the ways in which this support can be manifested. We are here to help make this process possible, but that is not our responsibility, but the responsibility of this country. Why is it that there is an opinion in this country that the international community owes something to this country?

Q: The international community in BiH, as well as SFOR, was given that mandate exactly because authorities in this country, that is to say the authorities in the Republika Srpska, failed to arrest persons indicted for war crimes. So far, the RS authorities have not arrested one single indictee. This mandate was not given to you by the citizens of this country, but by the Dayton Peace Accords.

Energy is most important

A: This country is actually capable of doing it. However, the leadership of this country is not making it possible for this country to use its capabilities.

Q: All right, is the problem then that you are waiting for the local authorities to arrest Karadzic?

A: Well, for that purpose I wouldn't mind making myself available just to see Karadzic arrested. However, before I get to him, I think that somebody else is going to do it.

I say that there is a lot of energy that is going to bring Karadzic before justice. The role of SFOR is to make that process possible. And if an opportunity arises for us to arrest him, then we will do so.

Q: One gets the impression that your latest public appearances during which you practically announced that the arrest of Karadzic was a matter of days, were actually SFOR's attempt to improve its image after two failed attempts to arrest him. It never happened before that SFOR hinted at its intentions before an arrest. Aren't these encouraging statements more a display of impotence because so far, practically before the end of its mandate and before the NATO summit in Istanbul, SFOR hasn't arrested Karadzic?

A: I think you are actually confused about what our capabilities are and the term collective effort with the local authorities to make it happen. However, I will not restrict myself to history, as you are now. You see, we can talk about the past, but I would prefer to turn to the future and look at what the real possibilities are for the persons indicted for war crimes to be brought before justice to answer for what they did.

Q: Then, what are the real chances that they will be arrested?

A: There is the possibility of that happening every day.

Q: You believe that this will happen during your mandate?

A: Of course I believe that. And now I see a truly growing interest, which is now bigger than ever, and I am speaking about the past eight months of my mandate. Simply, the interest in Karadzic being consigned to history is growing. This is my feeling that is based on my contacts with people. More and more people have the impression that this country is not progressing because he is not in The Hague. People are fed up with it.

Q: I assume that you are referring to the people in the Republika Srpska who supported him, because others were not in a dilemma about whether or not he should be in The Hague?

A: I speak with people, some of them are from the Republika Srpska. I did not say that this is a prevailing interest, but that this is an interest that is starting to prevail. Radovan Karadzic is becoming a burden that people are trying to get rid of. Simply put, it is not an advantage to have Karadzic, but it is an advantage to choose Europe before Karadzic.

Q: From time to time, the ICTY Chief Prosecutor says in public that she has information that, for example, Karadzic is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and so on. She probably obtains this information from SFOR?

A: Ms. del Ponte and I speak often and share information; in that regard, we have a truly excellent relationship.

Q: If you know his whereabouts, then is the problem that there are political obstacles to his arrest?

A: You can reach any conclusions you want. I do not wish to discuss politics or possibilities with you, but I do wish to discuss the energy that is growing more and more and which is necessary for war criminals to be arrested. However, I would like to clarify something - let me say that the search for indicted war criminals, as long as there are any, will not cease. And if the decision is made for the European Union to take over the mission here, they are already committed to continuing this process. NATO headquarters will keep the same possibility. And there is also this energy that will help make this process easier. This is something that will not cease.

Q: How realistic is it to expect that Karadzic will be arrested before the beginning of the Istanbul summit?

A: I think that this is very possible. There are 19 days left. Again this is an excellent opportunity for this country to demonstrate its true intention. History is behind us, I think that they should not be looking for the possibility to present itself to them and for somebody to hand him over to them, I think that they should use this opportunity themselves.

"I search for him every day"

Q: Can I ask you if you know that Karadzic is hiding in Bosnia and Herzegovina at this moment?

A: I search for him every day, but I will not discuss the details. That is why I have his picture on my door, I think about him every day.

Q: You are pointing to an SFOR poster offering a reward for information on Karadzic and Mladic. How much has this method turned out to be useful in collecting information?

A: Well, it was certainly a very efficient method in the case of Saddam Hussein's sons in Iraq. I know that that is a different country, but you asked me a question and here, I am offering you an answer.

It is obvious that in the case of Saddam's sons, those were people who simply have a different approach. But I just want to say that it is necessary for the citizens of BiH to understand that all means will be used to make a brighter future possible for BiH.


Dnevni avaz

Podzic hands over his duties to Durakovic

The ceremony of handing over the duties from the outgoing Commander of the VF 5th Corps, Brigadier Sifet Podzic, to the incoming Commander, Brigadier Sead Durakovic, was held in the Adil Besic barracks in Bihac yesterday. Brigadier Sifet Podzic will be appointed as the Chief of the Joint Staff of the BiH AFs. (Photo on page 12) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p. 9), Dnevni List (p. 4)/


Dnevni avaz

Will 4,500 conscripts be sent homes? (Front page story)

Unless Atif Dudakovic, Commander of the VF Joint Command, Sulejman Tihic and Dragan Covic, members of the BiH Presidency, and Miroslav Nikolic, Federation Defense Minister, find a solution to the highly alarming problem of a lack of food supply in the VF at their session today, the VF Command will be forced to send 4,500 conscripts home until further notice. An extremely difficult situation with shortage of food in the VF might put us in a situation where radical measures will have to be used. Luckily, food suppliers have understanding for our outstanding payments. The situation has been difficult for the last several months, while only basic food products have been provided this month," said Brigadier Hamza Visca, Head of the Public Information Office of the VF Joint Command. (Photo on page 1, 3)


Dnevni avaz

BiH NCOs learn about the doctrine of the US Army

A seminar on the training of non-commissioned officers was organized by the Joint Contact Teams Programme (JCTP) in Sarajevo yesterday with the assistance of the US Embassy in BiH. "The purpose of this seminar was learning about standards, the organizational structure, defense doctrine and the mission of the US armed forces and informing 36 members of the BiH AFs about the role of a non-commissioned officer in the system of training at tactical level," said Alena Begovic, a representative of the JCTP in BiH. (p. 8)



Approved Bosniac officers are "second-rate"

Commenting on the appointment of candidates to generals' posts in the BiH AFs, Sulejman Tihic, Chair of the BiH Presidency, told journalist during a one-hour conversation in the BiH Presidency yesterday that SFOR had the final word on these appointments and that there were many things about the vetting process that were illogical. The candidates that were expected to pass the SFOR vetting, primarily Selmo Cikotic, were not approved by SFOR. "I was convinced while proposing the candidates that the nine Bosniac candidates who were initially proposed would pass the vetting process. This is especially true for Selmo Cikotic, who the US Embassy said to be an extremely competent officer, but he did not pass the SFOR vetting process," said Tihic, adding that the Bosniac officers approved were "second-rate" compared to those who were initially proposed, but that they were no less competent than the staff members from the other two peoples. (Photo on page 6)


Dnevni avaz

Approval for Brigadier Emir Redzovic was not withdrawn

Despite speculation in the Serbian media yesterday that SFOR's approval for Brigadier Emir Redzovic had been withdrawn, the paper learned from the BiH Ministry of Defense that this information was not accurate. "We have not been informed by SFOR about any changes in its decisions, and we do not want to get involved in speculation. It is well-known that the vetting is done by HQ SFOR, which is the one making the decisions," said Enes Becirbasic, BiH Deputy Minister of Defense. As of yesterday, no new results of the vetting process of the remaining four candidates for generals' posts in the BiH AFs were received from SFOR. (Photo on page 4)



What is behind the formation of the Croat Bloc in BiH?

Ivic Pasalic, formerly Franjo Tudjman's close assistant and one of the Croat hard-liners who split with the HDZ, is considered to be the founder of the Croat Bloc in BiH. Stanko Sopta also known as Baja, Mijo Jelic, former HVO officers, and Ivan Bacak, former senior HDZ BiH official, are considered to be Pasalic's closest assistants in BiH. In fact, they are the ones who run the BiH Croat Bloc and not Mario Vasilj, Ivan Madunic and Marko Krilic. Sopta and Jelic still have an influence on the VF-H and the Croatian Army. Pasalic recently sent the two of them to visit Mirko Norac, a Croatian general suspected of war crimes, in the Rijeka prison. His aim is to regain popularity by using ethnic tensions and Croatian war crimes suspects who the common people consider to be heroes. Pasalic is also counting on support from discharged Croat military and intelligence officers (former SIS officers) who feel that they were abandoned by the HDZ. On the other side, Barisa Colak, President of the HDZ BiH, is in constants contact with Sopta, through whom the HDZ can regain the trust of Croat officers, which was seriously undermined after the breakdown of Croat self-rule. There are allegations that Colak, if he loses to Martin Raguz at the next party elections, could find his place in the Croat Bloc. (Photo on page 18)


Jutarnje Novine

Sulejman Tihic: It is high time for the international community to reassess the existence of the RS

At a briefing with reporters and editors yesterday, Sulejman Tihic, the Chair of the BiH Presidency, said that, due to violations of international law and breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights, it was high time for the international community to reassess the existence of the RS. He criticised the RS for not processing a single war crimes case. Tihic also said that BiH should not be admitted to the Partnership for Peace programme while war crimes suspects were still at large. (Photo on page 2) /The same in Glas Srpske (p.3), Blic (p. RS2)/



Agreement to be signed between BiH and the US

Today, the BiH Ministry of Defense and the US Dept. of Defense will sign an agreement on procurement and mutual provision of services between these two ministries. The agreement will be signed by the BiH Minister of Defense, Nikola Radovanovic, and Major General Edward L. Lafountaine, on behalf of the US Dept. of Defense. (p. 8)


Jutarnje Novine

US policy towards BiH will not change

During his visit to Mostar yesterday, the US Ambassador to BiH, Clifford Bond, stated that the US policy towards BiH would remain the same regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats were in power, and that the US would continue to support BiH's sovereignty and its efforts for joining the EU. This was Bond's reply to a journalist's question about whether the US policy towards Mostar and BiH would change with the incoming US Ambassador appointed several days ago. (Photo on page 4) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p. 2), Nezavisne Novine (p. 2)/


Slobodna Bosna

Showdown with mafia starts with arrest of Ferid Okic, a leader of a group of criminals

Albanian Ferid Salihi, who was born in Kosovo in 1967, was arrested in Sarajevo last week by order of the BiH Prosecutor's Office and on suspicion of having been involved in the trade in weapons, gold, narcotics and trafficking of women. The BiH Prosecutor's Office released this information, but stated that this person was named Ferid Okic, who was residing in Tuzla. Okic, that is Salihi, is charged by the BiH Prosecutor's Office with organizing and running a group of about ten criminals. According to the Prosecutor's Office, this group took part in at least three cases of kidnapping in Sarajevo and Tuzla in the past several years. Ferid Salihi, or Okic (his mother is Bosnian from the vicinity of Lukavac and in her counterfeited personal documents Okic is entered as her maiden name, while his father's last name Salihi is used in Kosovo), participated in the kidnapping of Velimir Mandic in the center of Bijeljina four years ago in order to extort money from his brother, Momcilo Mandic. Okic took Mandic to the Park Motel in Srebrenik with his "group of criminals", where he exchanged the hostage for KM 500,000 in cash. The Park Motel is owned by Sadinet Sido Karic, who is also the owner of the Sidoil company, and who is one of the leading names in the import of goods from Turkey. And this is how Karic and Okic crossed paths because the weapons traded by Okic were brougt in via Istanbul. A Slobodna Bosna source has confirmed that the arrest of Okic was linked to Karic being released from custody last month because, allegedly, in order to meet conditions for his release, Sido Karic agreed to co-operate with the court and the Prosecutor's Office, and Ferid Okic, who was well-known in the territory of the FBiH as one of the first powerful Albanian mafia members in this region, was the first to be sacrificed. The paper's sources in the Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs consider that this was a showdown between the Albanian and Sandzak (part of Serbia) mafia over gaining a monopoly in BiH and that the opening of the "Okic et al" case was meant to give a final blow to the Albanian mafia, who are referred to as "Siptari" in police jargon. (p. 14)



Jelavic refuses to enter a plea

Yesterday before the BiH Court, Ante Jelavic, Miroslav Prce, Miroslav Rupcic, Ivica Karlovic and Father Ivan Sevo refused to enter a plea because "they have not received the official court decision on their request for the exclusion of Judge Bernard Boland as the judge in the preliminary hearing." Their defence lawyers said that they had learned about the decision from the media and not from the court. However, Judge Boland entered the plea of not guilty for each of the defendants to all counts of the indictment. Jelavic and the other four defendants are suspected of being involved in economy crime and embezzlement in Hercegovacka Banka. The court also decided to leave Jelavic, Prce and Rupcic in detention pending their trial. (Photo on page 3) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p.4), Jutarnje Novine (p.4), Dnevni List (p.3), Glas Srpske (p.11), Vecernji List (p.3)/


Slobodna Bosna

Jovan Cizmovic, a former Karadzic' and currently Cavic's advisor welcomed, Ashdown in Prijedor prison camps in 1992

According to reliable sources close to the Hague Tribunal, the ICTY Prosecutor's Office has been conducting an investigation against Jovan Cizmovic, a former Radovan Karadzic's and currently Dragan Cavic's advisor. Cizmovic, a Banja Luka lawyer and former co-ordinator for the Serb Autonomus Provinces (SAO), enjoyed th undivided support of Radovan Karadzic, Dragan Cavic and Paddy Ashdown who appointed him to oversee the work of the RS Commission investigating events surrounding the fall of Srebrencia in 1995. In 1992, an international delegation led by Paddy Ashdown conducted an inspection of prison camps in the Prijedor region. Karadzic sent Cizmovic to cover up the traces of crimes in these camps and welcome Ashdown who was then considered to be Karadzic's friend. (Photo on page 16)



Panic within Karadzic's network

The information that persons who are or have in the past supported Radovan Karadzic will be processed by the BiH Court is news that will have a serious impact on those helping Karadzic. A reliable and well informed source claims that Karadzic's messengers and intelligence officers have become extremely active on both sides of the Drina River collecting money for Karadzic's protection. In Pale, buildings owned by Radomir Kojic, the owner of the Kristal Hotel on Jahorina Mount and the Unipak Demining Company, have been under surveillance of SFOR Italian Carabinieri for 15 days. Pale residents believe that a "big fish" must be in these buildings. According to reliable information, on 1 June, a long-time Karadzic bodyguard, who was born in Hadzici, was seen leaving the building. Panic among Karadzic's supporters in the Prnjavor region is spreading. Karadzic visited Nemanja Vasic, the current Director of the RS Directorate of Roads, two years ago in this region. While in Prnjavor, Karadzic used to spend time in a villa owned by a businessman nick-named "Komerc mali." Dani learned that Karadzic was in Prnjavor on 31 March 2004, just a day before SFOR troops launched an operation in Pale during which Jeremija Starovlah and his son Aleksandar were injured. (Photo on page 8)


Slobodna Bosna

Before the war, police were "built' by Delimustafic, Mandic and Stojic; today their job is entrusted to their drivers and assistants - Dzuvo, Zaric and Cosic

Even though the law on the BiH Intelligence Security Agency (OSA) came into effect on 1 June, the agency will be united and become operational in spring 2005. Almir Dzuvo and Risto Zaric have been appointed as Director and Deputy Director of the OSA respectively. However, Mladen Alpeza, the Croat candidate for the OSA Inspector General, did not pass the OHR check allegedly because he had been involved in Croat self-rule. But, the truth is that Ivan Vuksic and Kristina Silic, Federation Intelligence Security Service officers supported by the OHR, in fact lobbied against Alpeza. Ivan Cosic, former Herceg-Bosnia Canton Minister of Internal Affairs, is most likely to be the OSA General Inspector. Dzuvo and Zaric have already taken over their functions. Dzuvo is expected to appoint Adi Sijercic as co-ordinator for operations of the FOSS and RS Intelligence Service (OBS). During the war, Sijercic was a military intelligence officer close to Hasan Cengic. Dzuvo also plans to appoint Muris Druskic as the Head of the OSA for Sarajevo. Druskic is also considered to be a close assistant to Cengic. Dzuvo is often visited by Alistair Sommerlad, the most influential British spy in BiH. Risto Zaric will probably appoint Trifko Buha as a co-ordinator for FOSS and OSA activities and the OSA Head of Operations. Their choice of assistants clearly shows that they are not planning to form a unified and functional agency but to extend the existence of three intelligence services under one roof. (Photo on page 8)



Ashdown calls on Tihic, Paravac and Covic to consider resigning from their current posts (Front-page story)

Yesterday, Paddy Ashdown called on Sulejman Tihic, Borislav Paravac and Dragan Covic to consider resigning from the Presidency. At the same time he called on BiH citizens to think about the election of a single head of state. Commenting on the results of the audit of the financial operations of the BiH institutions in 2003, Ashdown said that "after such a report, in normal countries top officials would resign." "The auditor's report represents a basis for criminal charges for the 'theft of public funds,'" he said. He urged the BiH Parliament and BiH Prosecutor's Office to take appropriate actions. After being reminded that the Council of Ministers and the BiH Parliament had approved additional funds for the budget of the BiH Presidency, Ashdown said that other state institutions should also be held responsible for excessive spending of tax-payers' money. (Photo on the front page and page 4) /The same in Dnevni avaz (p.4), Dnevni List (p.2), Jutarnje Novine (p.5), Nezavisne Novine (p.3), Glas Srpske (p.2), Vecernji List (p.2)/


Nezavisne Novine

Donald Hays: RS Government obstructing audit of banks in RS

Donald Hays, Principal Deputy HR, accused the RS Government of obstructing the audit of banks in the RS, especially those banks facing the most serious problems. He also said that the RS Government had failed to appoint a supervisor for banking in the RS for a year, even though the acting supervisor, Dusanka Novakovic, enjoyed the support of all institutions. However, he did not know the names of members of the RS Government who were obstructing her appointment. Peter Nicholl, the BiH Central Bank Governor, announced that the supervision of banks would be introduced shortly. (Photo on the front page and page 3) /The same in Oslobodjenje (p.7)/


Dnevni avaz

Mikerevic receives death threats

Spokesperson for the RS Premier, Goran Radivojac, confirmed for Fena last night that the Office of the RS Premier had received a "threatening letter from the Al-Jihad Islamic terrorist organization" several days ago, in which Mikerevic and the employees in his office were threatened with death. Radivojac said that he had handed over this letter to the relevant bodies of the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs. "We have information that the location from where the letter was sent has been established, and that appropriate steps will be taken," said Radivojac. (Photo on page 12)



Are banned Islamic organisations still active in Bosnia?

Saudi Arabian and US officials held a joint press conference on 2 June 2004 in the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington to announce the new measures that they would take against Islamic humanitarian organizations suspected of redirecting humanitarian funds towards support of terrorism. After 11 March 2002, in their joint activities, the Saudi and US authorities proclaimed the Al-Haramain offices in 11 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa to be global terrorist organizations. By decision of the Saudi authorities, this organization was closed and all Saudi humanitarian work abroad was put under the control of the Saudi National Entity for Charitable Work Abroad. At this press conference on 2 June, BiH was mentioned as an illustration of a phenomenon where humanitarian organizations that have already been banned are re-emerging again. Asked whether the Saudi authorities were able to close this and other organizations, Adel Al-Jubeir, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Saudi Prince Abdullah, said: "We established that the re-emergence of these organizations has very little to do with the Main Office. For example, we banned the Al-Haramain offices in BiH three times. When they opened for their second and third time, we believe that this had nothing whatsoever to do with Al-Haramain in Saudi Arabia and that there were individuals there who changed the name and re-registered the organization, after which we again banned their work." (Photo on page 20)


Slobodna Bosna

Russian multi-billionaire Bout smuggled weapons in "Bosnian" airplanes

Almost nine years after the phantom flight of their Boeing 707, officials of Air Commerce are not aware of the fact that the name of their company was used by Victor Antaloevic Bout, one of the biggest weapons smugglers in thr post cold War era and proven business partner of Hasan Cengic, wartime logistics man of the BiH Army, post-war businessman and deputy in the BiH Parliament. Bout's Boeing 707 did not only fly under the code of Air Commerce, but also kept it even after Bout had founded his own air company Air Cess in Liberia. It is not known how Bout found out the code of this company and misused it, but it is assumed that he was helped by his business partner Haasan Cengic. In spring 2003, UN experts for tracking and control of the biggest weapons importers and exporters were in Sarajevo and they were particularly interested in Hasan Cengic.

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