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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-01-06

Anadolu Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.gov.tr/>


[01] AA News

06 January 2000 Thursday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on January 6, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

COTTARELLI, CHIEF OF IMF TURKEY DESK, IN TURKEY
Carlo Cottarelli, the Chief of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey Desk, arrived in Turkey to attend a meeting which will be organized by the Banks Union of Turkey. Cottarelli said that positive consequences of the important decisions taken in the Turkish economy, were began to be seen. He noted that according to their first impressions, economy was going on the right direction. Cottarelli said that as the first outcome of these measures, interest rates began to decrease, and noted that inflation would begin to fall in stages if these policies continue.

ABS BREAKING SYSTEM AGAINST PRICE INCREASES
Recep Onal, the State Minister responsible for the Treasury, said,

''the government prefers to slow down the price increases like automatic breaking system (ABS). We have no intention of directly intervening on the contracts and prices that were agreed upon in the private sector.'' Addressing a meeting organized by the Ankara Chamber of Trade (ATO), Onal stressed, ''we aim at creating a serious primary surplus in the public sector, decreasing real interests, fixing the rate of domestic borrowing and the gross national product (GNP), and reducing the inflation rate. Our current economic programme is not a classic stabilization programme, it is an anti-inflation programme. The stabilization programmes generaly intervene in prices. And the growth rate are being ignored usually for the success of the classic stabilization programmes. But our stability programme for struggle against inflation envisages 5.5 percent growth rate in the year 2000.''

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

THE WORLD BANK MOBILIZED FOR TURKEY
James D. Wolfensohn, the Chairman of the World Bank, sent a letter to Recep Onal, the State Minister, on December 27, 1999, and eulogized the government. In his letter, Wolfensohn said that they were working with the European Union (EU) and Japan to find an additional resource of 3 billion U.S. dollars for Turkey to guarantee 10 billion U.S. dollars of total financing. He stressed that the government's reforms would modernize Turkey's key institutions and release the country's great economic potential.

DENKTAS: ''FIRST SOVEREIGNTY''
President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) received General Atilla Ates, the Commander of the Land Forces. Addressing the meeting, Denktas stressed that the presence of peace keeping forces was a big relief for the Turkish Cypriots who were greatly disturbed between 1964 and 1974. Meanwhile, General Ates noted that significant developments have been recorded regarding the Cyprus question recently. He also assured Denktas that Turkey would continue to protect her rights on Cyprus as a guarantor country which were granted by international agreements.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

AGCA WANTS TO RETURN TO TURKEY
Mehmet Ali Agca who assasinated Abdi Ipekci, a leading journalist, wants to be extradited to Turkey. The Italian Justice Ministry said that it was impossible for the time being to send Agca to a prison in Turkey. Ferdinando Imposimanto from the Social Democrat Party (SDI) which applied to the Justice Ministry for Agca's release or his transfer to Turkey, said that Agca's transfer to a prison in Turkey did not look practically possible.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

HEAVY SNOWFALL PARALYZES DAILY LIFE AND TRAFFIC
Heavy snowfall continues to paralyze daily life and traffic in different parts of Turkey. Nearly 3 thousand village roads in Hakkari, Kirsehir, Yozgat, Nigde, Sivas, Tokat, Icel, Adana, Konya, Kayseri, Cankiri, Sanliurfa, Kutahya and Bitlis provinces were closed to the traffic due to heavy snowfall. Highway teams are continuing their activities to re-open the roads. Meanwhile, primary and high schools in these provinces recessed.

EXPORTS FROM AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR REACH 2.2 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS
The total exports from the automotive sector reached 2 billion 238.1 million U.S. dollars in 1999. The exports of automobiles increased from 137.3 million U.S. dollars to 712.1 million U.S. dollars. According to figures of the Uludag Exporters' Union, the exports of automobiles climbed by 418.6 percent and the exports from the automotive main industry rose by 154.1 percent. The total exports from the automotive main industry was 1 billion 52.7 million U.S. dollars in 1999, and 414.3 million U.S. dollars in 1998.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

PROBLEMS OF THE PRISIONS DISCUSSED AT PRIME MINISTRY
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that a protocol would be signed by the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Health Ministry, and Gendarmerie General Commandership to improve conditions in prisons. He said problems will be solved to a great extend with the implementation of this protocol. Problems of prisons were discussed in a meeting which took place at the Prime Ministry. Husamettin Ozkan, the Deputy Prime Minister, Sadettin Tantan, the Minister of Interior, Hikmet Sami Turk, the Minister of Justice, Osman Durmus, the Minister of Health, General Rasim Betir, the Commander of Gendarmerie General Commandership, and several other senior officials attended the meeting. Ecevit said that problems in prisons were a bleeding wound, which caused sorrow of people.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

CLINTON EXPRESSES SATISFACTION OVER DEVELOPMENTS ON CYPRUS
The U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed satisfaction over the developments on Cyprus. Clinton sent a report to the U.S. Congress regarding the Cyprus question. In his report, Clinton described beginning of the proximity talks as a pleasing development. He stressed that the target of the proximity talks was to create an appropriate ground for meaningful negotiations with the aim to find a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus question.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

CAKICI USES HIS RIGHT TO KEEP SILENT
Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss, was interrogated by Aykut Cengiz Engin and Ahmet Gurses, the Republican Prosecutors of the Istanbul State Security Court (DGM). Engin and Gurses, the Prosecutors of Istanbul DGM which carries out the investigations about Turkbank tender and Nesim Malki murder, have interrogated Cakici as a ''witness'' for more than three hours. Cakici did not give any information during the interrogation.

[03] GENERAL BASER, DEPUTY CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF, TO PAY A VISIT TO THE U.S.

WASHINGTON D.C., Jan 6 (A.A) - General Edip Baser, the Deputy Chief of General Staff, will pay an official visit to the U.S. in February as the guest of General Joseph Ralston, the U.S. Deputy Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General Baser's contacts in the U.S. are expected to focus on the defense relations between two countries, and Turkey's purchase of weapon from the U.S.

Defense sources in Washington D.C. said that announcement of Turkey's candidacy to the European Union (EU) and significant progress in Turkey's human rights records created a positive atmosphere in the U.S. Congress.

The U.S. Congress which has allowed joint production of armor-piercing 25 mm bullets by the U.S. Alliant-Tech Systems and Turkish Machinery and Chemical Industry Authority (MKEK) in Turkey, is more positive about the assault helicopters project.

Two U.S. companies, a French-German consortium, an Israeli-Russian partnership, and an Italian firm are competing in the tender which was put out for joint production of 145 assault helicopters worth of 4 billion U.S. dollars.

The Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement between Turkey and the U.S., the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), and other defense issues are expected to be taken up during General Baser's visit to the U.S.

[04] TURKEY-IMF - IMF'S TURKEY DESK CHIEF: ''DECREASE IN INTEREST RATES WILL ALSO REFRESH THE ECONOMY''

ISTANBUL, Jan 6 (A.A) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli said on Thursday that the decreasing trend in nominal and real interest rates would continue.

Speaking to reporters, Cottarelli recalled that Turkey's economic programme depended on credibility, and said that the interest rates would absolutely decrease if the programme was implemented firmly.

The IMF's Turkey Desk Chief said that the decrease in interest rates despite strict economic policy would also revive the economy.

Carlo Cottarelli said that the first signals of the government's economic measures were hopeful, and the decrease in interest rates proved this fact.

Noting that the IMF planned to open an office in Turkey through the end of March, Cottarrelli said an IMF official would be appointed to this office, and he would work in Washington D.C. as the responsible official for this office.

Cottarelli said this IMF office would work during the process of stand-by deal, and control whether or not the policies in the letter of intent were implemented, and follow the daily economic developments in Turkey.

[05] 169 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS REPAID IN FOREIGN DEBT SINCE JANUARY 1, 2000

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Turkey has repaid a total of 169 million U.S. dollars of foreign debt since the beginning of this year.

The Central Bank data shows that the Treasury repaid 154.76 million U.S. dollars; the Central Bank repaid 13.73 million U.S. dollars; the Ministry of National Defense and the Defense Industry paid 0.52 million U.S. dollars between January 3 and 5, 2000.

Meanwhile, the total foreign debt repayment had been 12 billion 494.21 million U.S. dollars in 1998, and 12 billion 556.89 million U.S. dollars in 1999.

[06] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVES OF CENTRAL BANK INCREASE BY 17.8 PERCENT IN 1999

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - The foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank increased by 17.8 percent in 1999.

The Central Bank data shows that the foreign exchange reserves, which climbed by 3 billion 514 million U.S. dollars, increased to 23 billion 235 million U.S. dollars on December 30, 1999.

The Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves were 19 billion 721 million U.S. dollars on December 31, 1998.

Meanwhile, according to the December 17, 1999-based statistics, Turkey's total international gross reserves increased 1 billion 694 million U.S. dollars to 39 billion 235 million U.S. dollars between December 10 and 17, 1999.

The international gross reserves of Turkey were 37 billion 541 million U.S. dollars on December 10, 1999.

As of December 17, 1999, Turkey's international reserves were composed of 1 billion 11 million U.S. dollars in gold reserves; 23 billion 992 million U.S. dollars in the Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves; and 14 billion 233 million U.S. dollars in the commercial banks' foreign exchange reserves.

[07] TURKEY-IMF - IMF'S TURKEY DESK CHIEF: ''BANKS OPERATION WAS NECESSARY''

ISTANBUL, Jan 6 (A.A) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli said on Thursday that the transfer of some banks to the fund was a necessary operation.

Speaking to reporters, Cottarelli said the banking operation aimed at cleaning and reinforcing the system within the framework of the new banking revision.

Recalling that the necessary measures were taken and continued to be taken in Turkey for the banking system, Cottarelli said that the most important issue was the operation of the Banking Arrangement and Supervision Committee which was composed of independent and professional members.

Cottarelli said the Banking Arrangement and Supervision Committee would give confidence to the markets when it started working.

Stressing the importance of observation of banks, qualities of assets, sufficiency of capital and open position, Cottarelli said this situation would reinforce the system.

Responding to a question, Cottarelli said the private sector believed in and supported targeted inflation rate.

Cottarelli said the private sector, within this framework, had a harmonized policy with the public, and the statements of the Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen (TUSIAD), Sabanci and Koc groups proved this support.

Cottarelli said there was a flexible workforce market in Turkey so the the private sector would work in harmony with a programme which targeted to decrease the inflation.

Responding to a question about the World Bank loan to Turkey, Cottarelli said Turkey was not in need of a supplementary external financial source but it needed confidence in the economic programme.

''The programme, which began at the start of this year, had drawn a very positive response in terms of interest rate declines. The start has been very promising. What the Turkish economy needs is not so much external money. What it needs is confidence in the programme,'' he said.

Cottarelli said the disinflation policy which was based on foreign currency policy, was a very important policy, which would be made more flexible after 18 months.

Cottarelli said this process based on foreign currency policy was beneficial to decrease the inflation but long-term inflexible continuation of this process might not positively affect the increasing competition atmosphere.

Cottarelli noted that Turkey's economic programme was a stability programme based on foreign currency policy which was announced earlier.

The programme involves a large fiscal adjustment, with measures amounting to about 7.5 percent of GNP, Cottarelli said.

He said the coalition government needed to work harder on the expenditure side to realise its targets, adding that spending should be kept constant in real terms in the 2001 budget.

Cottarelli said growth should be helped in 2000 by signs of a recovery in Europe, expectations that there will not be a repeat of 1999's weak agricultural output and the likelihood of a recovery in the vital tourism sector this year.

He added that privatisation receipts, under the country's ambitious sell- off programme, would play an important role in 2000 in addition to the planned fiscal tightening.

Cottarelli said there had been a very good response from leading business groups to the calls to cut inflation.

Cottarelli said Turkey's foreign currency policy was a powerful programme so there was no need for a monetary committee.

Responding to a question about agricultural reform, Cottarelli said the subsidy system brought many burdens on public financing, and sytem based on direct income support was beneficial for both the public and farmers.

Responding to a question about Turkey's rating, Cottarelli said Turkey targeted to increase its credibility with the announced programme, and he hoped the international rating organizations would increase Turkey's rating.

[08] PRESIDENT DEMIREL RECEIVES PREMIER ECEVIT - ECEVIT ANNOUNCES THAT HE WILL LAUNCH INITIATIVES FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE TO EXTEND THE TERM IN OFFICE OF DEMIREL

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he will launch initiatives for a constitutional change that will provide facilities to extend the term in office of President Suleyman Demirel for another period.

Speaking to journalists following his meeting with President Demirel, Ecevit said, ''I believe that stability will be further strengthened if term in office of Demirel can be extended for another period. A change should be made in the constitution to this end. I have told Demirel that I want to launch an initiative on the issue. As you know, no request, or even implication came from Demirel. Yet, he always had the understanding to abide by when he is called for duty for the state.''

[09] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT EVALUATES OCALAN QUESTION: ''I HOPE THAT THIS PROBLEM WILL BE SOLVED IN THE MEETING ON JANUARY 12''

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he hoped that problem of execution of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, will be solved in a meeting on January 12 which he will hold with coalition partner parties.

Ecevit said, ''I hope this issue will be overcome at the meeting of leaders on January 12, in fact, I think it must be overcome. Otherwise, the success we have achieved and the steps we have taken, will be damaged. We have set out on an enlightened path, I hope that Ocalan will not cast a shadow on that path.''

Ecevit responded to the questions in a tv program in private NTV television. When asked if he was hopeful that Ocalan question can be solved without creating confusion in the government, Ecevit said, ''it should not cause a problem. This three-party coalition government began to obtain very positive results in solving its longstanding problems and instability.''

Ecevit said he and his party have opposed to capital punishment for a long time. ''I hope that our coalition partners will reach a consensus of opinion on the issue. This is not a problem related to Abdullah Ocalan. In any case, nobody can think or claim that I am trying to protect Abdullah Ocalan because I was the Prime Minister who ordered his capture in Africa.

Ecevit said, ''we have to discuss this among ourselves by putting emotions to one side. I hope this problem will be overcome at the meeting of leaders on January 12, in fact, I think it must be overcome. Otherwise, the success we have achieved and the steps we have taken, will be damaged. Since Ocalan was arrested, without any need for an execution, separatist terrorism has greatly decreased, down to nearly zero. Turkey should not be expected to take a step that would return the atmosphere into confusion.''

[10] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''I HOPE THERE WILL BE CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF FOREIGN CAPITAL INFLOW TO TURKEY AFTER THE MEETING IN DAVOS''

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he hoped there would be considerable amount of foreign capital inflow to Turkey following the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Prime Minister attended a programme broadcast of the private television channel NTV.

Responding to a question, Ecevit said the Turkish economy would be one of the prior issues on the agenda of the Davos meeting.

''This is very pleasing. A representative has been sent to Turkey during the preparation stage of the meeting. Turkey attracts great interest. The harmonization between the government and the Parliament provided political and economic confidence and prestige to Turkey,'' he said.

''Besides, the dynamism in the Turkish economy and people started to attract the attention of whole world. Turkey sucessfully headed towards industrial economy from agricultural economy, and towards exports from imports in last 20 years despite the economic disorganizations, illnesses and inflation addiction all which dissuade production. Thus, foreign entrepreneurs attach great importance to opportunities for cooperation in Turkish economy,'' he said.

Stressing that Turkey's importance in its region increased very much, Ecevit said the influence of Turkey in this very sensitive region increased more after collapse of Soviet Union, foundation of Turkish Republics, and real sovereignty of Balkan countries.

Ecevit stated that Turkey became a country which guides those countries in transition to democracy and market economy, and helps them make benefit from its experiences.

Emphasizing that the Turkish private sector made many investements in those countries before the state, Ecevit said, ''they made great contributions not only to economic field, but also to cultural field. Also, the world financial circles realized that cooperation with Europe in those counries will be much more beneficial concerning their interests.''

Stressing the importance of Turkey in future concerning energy issue, Ecevit said, ''the interest of foreign capital circles increases when all of these are evaluated together. The only obstacle in front of them is the high interest rates and inflation. They are observing that these problems are being solved. Thus I believe that the call we will make in Davos will be effective. We will leave for Davos with a good preparation. We will announce that which projects and investments are open to foreign initiative and capital in which sector. Moreover, we will explain our legislative works in last 6-7 months in detail. I hope there will be a great amount of foreign capital inflow to Turkey following the meeting in Davos.''

When asked whether Aegean issue would be discussed in Davos and whether there would be call to Greece, Ecevit said that the dialogue with Greece concerning the Aegean issue had already started.

''I believe that we will start solving the Aegean issue through dialogue this year without applying to the court. As the relations with the European Union (EU) increased, I think we can reach an agreement with Greece,'' he said.

[11] PRESIDENT DEMIREL RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT - PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''WE ARE EXPERIENCING A STABILITY PERIOD INCREASING OUR RESPECTABILITY OUTSIDE TURKEY, AND GIVING CONFIDENCE TO SOCIETY IN TURKEY''

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he conveyed his views to President Suleyman Demirel to make required constitutional changes to extend his term in office for another period.

Stressing that a stability period increasing respectability of Turkey outside, and giving confidence to society has been experienced in Turkey, Ecevit said, ''I think that this stability will be further increased if term in office of President Demirel can be extended for another period.''

Speaking to reporters following his 50-minute meeting with President Demirel, Ecevit said for the first time he voiced a very important problem regarding presidency to Demirel. Ecevit noted that he conveyed Demirel his views for a constitutional change required for the extension of his term in office.''

''You know that I have brought this issue on the agenda for the first time in Turkey. I have seen that Demirel, in the period of his presidency, gives very beneficial services with his vast experiences. I have personally seen valuable services of Demirel to the country.''

Ecevit said, ''we are experiencing a stability period which gives confidence to the society, and increasing our respectibility outside. Yet, every stability has several sensitive balances. I believe that this stability will be further strengthened if term in office of Demirel can be extended.''

Ecevit noted that a change should be made in the constitution to this end. I have told Demirel that I want to launch an initiative on the issue. As you know, no request, or even implication came from Demirel. Yet, he always had the understanding to abide by when he is called for duty for the state.''

[12] PRESIDENT DEMIREL RECEIVES PREMIER ECEVIT - ''WE CAN NOT ACCEPT SPOILING OF OF STABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF OCALAN''

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that necessary harmonization within the government for the procedure concerning the dossier of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, would be provided.

''We can't accept spoiling of the stability of the government because of Abdullah Ocalan,'' he said.

Stressing that the issue was related to stability, peace and prestige of Turkey, Ecevit said, ''some political parties have some difficulties but the people who undertook the state responsibilities actually undertook the duty to shoulder every kind of difficulty.''

Speaking to reporters following his meeting with President Suleyman Demirel, Ecevit said, ''Mr. President does not feel any desire for the extension of his term in office. He does not have any tendency, and has not made any request. However, he always stated in every opportunity that he was ready to fulfil every kind of duty to serve the Turkish people if there was such a demand.''

Responding to the question, ''concerning the discussions at the leaders' summit about Abdullah Ocalan, the public opinion does not want the collapse of the coalition government. What do you think?'', Ecevit said, ''on my personal view, the necessary harmonization within the government will be provided. We can't accept spoiling of the stability of the government because of Ocalan.''

''The issue is not related to Abdullah Ocalan. It is related to the stability, peace and domestic and foreign prestige of Turkey. Of course, some political parties excluding the Democratic Left Party have some difficulties but the people who undertook the state responsibilities actually undertook the duty to shoulder every kind of difficulty,'' he said.

When asked whether the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had a tendency to keep the dossier at the Presidency, Ecevit said, ''I have still not discussed the details of this issue with Devlet Bahceli. So I can't say something at the moment.''

When asked what he meant by saying he did not want a domestic chaos because of Ocalan, Ecevit said, ''everbody can understand what I meant to say.''

[13] TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS:''AGREEMENT WILL PAY OFF FOR SACRIFICES OF TURKISH CYPRIOTS''

LEFKOSA, Jan 6 (A.A) - Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that an agreement on Cyprus would pay off for the sacrifices made so far by the Turkish Cypriots.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Union of Families of Martyrs and Veterans, Denktas said the Turkish Cypriots suffered from big agonies for over 35 years. ''The Turkish Cypriots suffered a lot but did not yield and they refused to be a minority,'' Denktas said.

He noted that the state was founded as the Greek Cypriots continued to deceive the world claiming that ''they were the sole governor of the island'' despite the good will of the Turkish Cypriots.

Turkey always supported the TRNC, and the latest example of this support was in salary payments, Denktas reminded.

''We have to live within our income. We must have a more powerful economy. We are going through a period during which all sectors are experiencing hardships. The Development Bank gave development loans to hotel managers and others but the Development Bank is the country's bank. If it knows that people are not earning much then it should give them time. Therefore, the government must focus on these and do whatever is necessary,'' Denktas said.

[14] NEW SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE NETHERLANDS

ANKARA, Jan 6 (A.A) - A new social security agreement was signed between Turkey and the Netherlands on Thursday.

Yasar Okuyan, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, and Sjored Izaak Hendrik Gosses, the Dutch Ambassador to Ankara, attended the ceremony on behalf of Turkey and the Netherlands.

Okuyan reminded that Turkey signed social security agreements with 18 countries.

''Turkey first signed this agreement with the Netherlands in 1966 and later renewed it twice in 1981 and 1983. Turkey and the Netherlands had no disagreements regarding the social security agreement so far,'' Okuyan noted and said the agreement was updated taking into consideration today's conditions.

In the new agreement, sickness and maternity agreement is replaced by the principles of European Social Security Agreement. It also enables Turkish citizens who returned home after working in the Netherlands to have optional insurance over the minumum wage. For Turkish citizens who are currently working in the Netherlands, the new agreement makes it possible for them to send money directly to the guardians of their children in Turkey, Okuyan explained.

Gosses also pointed out that the agreement was beneficial for the Turkish workers in the Netherlands and would avoid unjust treatment towards them. He also reminded that the Dutch government paid a total of 100 million U.S. dollars to Turkish workers every year and did its best to treat Turkish and Dutch workers equally.

A.A


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