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Home arrow newsitems arrow UMP call to Debate at EU Election: A strong EU versus Crisis needs European Consciousness. No Turkey

UMP call to Debate at EU Election: A strong EU versus Crisis needs European Consciousness. No Turkey

Pisac ACM
15. 05. 2009.
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Today's vital need to transform EU into a strong Political Europe able to overcome the Global Crisis, calls for a European Consciousness to emerge, something incompatible with Turkey's EU bid,  and this must be debated by all at 2009 EU Election", for  EU Citizens to have a free and informed choice, the Head of France's Governing Party (UMP) Xavier BERTRAND, replied to "EuroFora"'s question, joined by Prime Minister Francois FILLON and candidate MEPs symbolically at Ludres, between Paris and Strasbourg : A symbolic townlet which brings together History and Innovation, Nature and Industry, Human Rights and European crossroads. (See 2nd part, infra).

From Berlin to Ludres (Nancy), top calls from Franco-German Governing Parties not to elude a democratic Debate on Turkey's controversial EU bid at 2009 EU Elections unfolded :

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The move echoed statements made earlier this week in Berlin, by German Chancellor Angie MERKEL and French President Nicolas SARKOZY, linking the current need for "a Political Europe with strong Will", and therefore "united together" with "an Identity and Values", to the refusal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, preferring a "privileged Partership" instead, while launching the forthcoming June 2009 EU Elections.

It also comes shortly after a Resolution adopted by EU Parliament on April in Strasbourg which asks all political parties to clearly mark and debate with EU Citizens their various programs on "Europe's Future", which will obviously follow differend paths according to whether it will integrate Turkey, or not. (See infra).

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    The Secretary General of France's Governing Majority party ("Union for a Popular Majority" : UMP),  f. Minister, Xavier Bertrand, replying to an "EuroFora" Question, launched a call for all Parties involved in June 2009 EU Election to clarify their stance on Turkey's controversial EU bid, in order to give EU Citizens a chance to make a democratic and informed choice :

    - "It's a question of Clarity, Transparency and Truth : During this Electoral campaign, all Political parties should be crystal-clear about this issue", Bertrand replied to "EuroFora"s question on some parties' reluctance to openly take a stance.
    
    - "We  have spoken clearly, included recently in Berlin, ... It's better to Tell the Truth in Politics" and "the right thing to do" in a Democracy, he stressed.

     -" For us (UMP) it's clear : Turkey is a big country, and it can have a privileged partenrship with the EU. But for its demand to enter inside the EU the answer is "No !", the leader of France's Governing Party confirmed to "EuroFora".
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    The substantial reasons for that, were  made crystal-clear by France's Prime Minister Francois FILLON :

- "These (2009) EU Elections are not like others. To overcome the current Crisis we need a Political Europe with a strong Will, able to act, innovate and change things.. A main question is  : Shall we let EU go into a slow routine, or will we give her the guiding tools that will make her able to succesfully face the Global competition"?

- "That's why, vis-a-vis the other side of the Ocean (i.e. USA, which always pushes to impose Turkey into the EU, from Clinton to Bush and Obama) we (Europeans) must defend our vision for a Europe which has a substance" :

- "We have a Culture. We have a Cultural Heritage. We have a Civilisation shared with all European countries. Europe has a common Cultural Heritage, a common Culture", Fillon stressed.

- "Europe claims also Moral Values, (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy) which forge our Identity, and outline the limits of this Europe. Humanism, Freedom of Thought, Rule of Law, are European Values. And these Rights are more advanced today in Europe than in the rest of the World, away from EU's borders. The Individual Person is better protected, more recognized in Europe than in other areas of the World."

- "Europe has a Soul, and  must have an Identity. That's why Enlargement must respect some clear Rules about its Borders. Europe cannot enlarge endlessly. .. Europe must be organized around these Countries which share its Cultural Heritage, share its History, and share its Values" (i.e. Human Rights).

 - "That's why our refusal to admit Turkey in Europe, is not a mark of hostility vis a vis this big country, .. But this refusal expresses our need to make a European Consciousness emerge inside clearly defined borders. And a European Consciousness will never exist if Turkey is inside the EU !", he concluded, largely applauded.

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 - "On September 2009, when we'll meet with (US President) OBAMA I'll tell him that, as long as he has not integrated MEXICO, we (EU) will not integrate Turkey !', added the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph DAUL.
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    While  many non-executed ECHR's judgements of 1996-2009 condemning Turkey for continuing grave violations of Human Rights  are due to be discussed in Strasbourg by  CoE's Committee of Ministers at the eve of EU June 2009 Election, it's important to note that earlier Berlin statements by Sarkozy and Merkel, stressing their opposal to Turkey's controversial EU bid, were also linked to Human Rights :

    - Sarkozy said, at this occasion, that, in his view, "an EU without Borders, is a Europa without a will, without Identity, without Values", (i.e. Human Rights). And asked : "If Europe doesn't defend its Values, who will do that for her ?"

    - And Merkel, underlined that "We want a united Europe, and a good neighborhood," .."That's why CDU is for a privileged partnership with Ankara, insted of a  full accession" "Our common position is the following : A privileged partrenship for Turkey, but not full accession", she stressed during the Summit between the Franco-German leaders.

    Merkel spoke side by side with EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING,  indirectly but clearly making a reference (with a play of words specific in German language), to his recent statement, earlier in Strasbourg, to 'Berlin's March 2007 EU Summit, which stressed EU's wish to live united for people's happiness ("im glück vereint"), while celebrating EU's Charter of Fundamental Freedoms", i.e. Human Rights.

    One of the Frontrunner candidates for new MEPs (2009-2014) at Strasbourg's "Eastern" constituency, Arnaud DANJEAN, made it clear, in reply to Citizens' questions :  -"Turkey is a big country, fit for a privileged partership with the EU. But not for EU Membership, because it's not European. And Turkey is not European neither by its Geography, nor in History or Culture, nor from a Democratic point of view (given Turkish Army's power over civilians), nor in moral Values, ("because it doesn't even recognize the Armenian Genocide", while Human Rights' violations continue), "not even for our GeoPolitical aims, (since we don't want to have common borders with Iraq, Iran, etc)", he said, largely applauded.

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Barnier to "EuroFora" : EU - Turkey "Negotiations" are  "for Privileged Partnership"..
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    - For us, what is going on now, between EU and Turkey are "Negotiations for a Partnership", and "we don't know when they will end. We shall see" for that. But on the substance, "our position is clear : We (France's Governing Party UMP) are clearly on the idea that Turkey will not enter in the EU, but will have a Privileged Partnership", said the Head of France's Governing Party's candidate MEPs, former EU Commissioner and Foreign Minister, currently Minister of Agriculture, Michel BARNIER, to "EuroFora"
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    With Sarkozy's photo and moto everywhere : -"When Europe wants, Europe can", French Governing Party UMP's leaders stressed that things were not as usual :

     - "Now it's Time for a New European Voluntarism. Time to be Bold. The time has come to find anew the audacious spirit of Europe's founding fathers, as fex. Robert Schuman, Guy Monnet, Gasperi, General de Gaulle, etc. For audacious new industrial projects, as those of the creation of the "CECA"  (Steel and Coal European Community), Airbus, Ariane rocket, the Euro, which protects from inflation, europan Sovereignity projects as Galileo (Satellite Navigation system), etc. We are glad to work together with (French) President (Nicolas Sarkozy), and find anew this boldness. It's a time for voluntarism, for politics", stressed the Head of UMP's candidates for new MEPs, former EU Commissioner and current Minister, Michel BARNIER.  

    Citizens have the Right to expect real Debates on European issues, instead of nationalist agendas and personal attacks by those who have confused EU Elections and National ones, he added, pointing at UMP's Program with 30 proposals, unveiled earlier today.

    -"This new (EU Parliament's) Mandate (2009-2014) will not be similar to others. Because we are in a context of Crisis, and there are much more important expectations from Europe". A greater commitment is required by circumstances from all involved, including Member States. If might be necessary to rush, to set aside cumbersome proceduralism, what one was accustomed to. Fex. if we had to follow the customary procedures, the War between Russia and Georgia would not have been stoped in August 2008. The 1st EuroZone Summit which started to stimulate the Economy, would never take place, (etc). Because, simply, this was not the usual thing to do", said Xavier BERTRAND from the outset.

    FILLON reminded that, in order to face the Global Crisis, it's on Economic Policies also, that "we succeeded to bring the debate at EU level" Thus, he invited EU Citizens to "participate to June 2009 EU Elections in order to strengthen EU Parliament which controls Brussel's Bureaucracy", voting "for a Europe wich has a Will and a Heart".

- "Let's continue to Change Europe !", is indeed the 2009 EU Election's logo for the French Governing Party UMP.

 -"Sarkozy sometimes had to rush, to push hard for things to be done, (during the 2008 French EU Presidency), but, at the end, main decisions were taken by Unanimity" among EU's 27 Member States, including old and new Central-Eastern European Countries, observed  Joseph DAUL.

"As 66% of German People believe too, it's together that Europeans will succeed to overcome this Global Crisis". "European Solidarity already went beyond EuroZone, to include even other EU Member States"; he added.
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Similar moves on Turkey's controversial EUI bid were, indeed, multiplying, in various ways, at several EU Member Countries :

F.ex. in Austria, the governing party confirmed recently that it has promised a "Referendum on Turkey". In Germany, the CSU party leader, the Bavarian Horst SEEHOFER, has recently asked also  for "a Referendum on Turkey" throughout all Germany. Cyprus Government's stance for Turkey's "full membership, if it fully meets the conditions", was challenged in favor of the Franco-German view by 4 other parties' candidates, including main opposition's Top MEP CASULIDES, (DHSY, Europarty, Socialist, DHKO, etc). In Holland, the mainstream parties appear concerned by a risk to lose voters in favor of other movements, more critical on Turkey's controversial EU bid, if they don't make their position crystal-clear. Even in the UK, eurosceptics loudly denounced Turkey's EU bid, added to "Veritas" party, present throughout the EU. Some surprises cannot be excluded, at least partly, even in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Lithuania, Poland, etc.
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    All these moves were often kind, but clear replies to Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davoutoglou's demand, earlier the same day, while meeting with out-going EU Commissioner on Enlargment, Finnish Socialist Oli Rehn, for EU Countries not to make of Turkey's controversial EU bid "an Internal (sc !) issue", as he said for EU's enlargement. He echoed Turkish Prime Minister Edogan's earlier demands in Brussels to dissuade EU Cizitens to discuss Turkey's controversial EU bid during June 2009 EU Elections. It can be also be taken as a reply to Turkish Prime Minister Abdulah Giul's earlier claim that "politicians come and go" (referring to Sarkozy and Merkel), and that Turkey could, later-on, "close negotiation chapters in 5 minutes !"..
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Socialists elude Turkey's issue, while their voters are Divided ?! ..
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    Curiously, however, both at an EU level and in some big countries as France, Socialist parties seem ...reluctant to participate to a Public Debate on Turkey's controversial EU bid :

    -  French Socialist leader Martine AUBRY, both earlier in Strasbourg and this week in Paris, while she kept on criticizing Sarkozy for secondary matters or national policy issues, on the contrary, she ommitted any reference to Sarkozy and Merkel's famous statements on Turkey's controversial EU bid, made in Berlin from Sunday..

    Experienced observers guessed that this Paradox may be due to the fact that, while most French "Socialist" Politicians favor Turkey's EU bid, on the contrary, more than 42% of the People usually voting for them, are against, according to recent Polls..  .

    On EU level also, President of EU Parliament's Socialist Group, German MEP Martin SCHULTZ replying to a "TCWeekly" question earlier in Strasbourg, said that his group prefers to give priority on the Global Financial Crisis, instead of Turkey's issue.

A d French Socialist leader Martine AUBRY, even if she had previously underlined her personal stance in favor of Turkey's EU bid, whenever Ankara might be "ready", on the contrary, she reportedly didn't say anything in reply to the Sarkozy - Merkel joint Berlin Statements, during an important political meeting she held afterwards..

- "I don't know if and when Turkey might fullfil the Human Rights, Democracy and Economy criteria. We shall see. But we (i.e. the Socialist Party) are in favor of the principle of Turkey's entry into the EU", said later to "EuroFora" French Socialist MEP Catherine TRAUTMANN, head of PS' candidates for the Eastern region, including Strasbourg. "Turkey has been a candidate for a long time (NDLR : since 1999's Socialist Governments in Germany, France, the UK, Greece, etc, and the 1st Majority Abstention in EU Elections) and the rules must not be changed afterwards", she added , (apparently forgeting that 27 EU Governments already decided in 2006 and 2007 that negociations with Turkey are "Open-Ended", i.e. might end into a Privileged Partnership and not accession)... "Turkey must be judged with same rules as other countries, and without Discrimination", Trautman added, curiously forgetting the "No" previously said by the EU to Moroco..

    A point that Fillon's speech at Ludres, following Sarkozy's statements in Berlin with Merkel, ...already adressed, since the criteria they apply on Turkey can obviously be applied equally to any other country : F.ex. Moroco, Algeria, Tynesia, Egypt, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Dubai, etc., and many other Non European States accross the World, with which France and EU often have close, good, or even excellent relations.

    But even Socialist MEP Trautman seemed to have a few Reservations on Turkey : - "At the same time, we (EU) must see if we want Turkey to play a certain role in a geopolitical area, or not. The USA are pushing for that, but USA are not confronted with the problem of Integration of such a big country as Turkey. So, they have only a GeoStrategic point of view. That's why we (EU) don't have to do anything Americans tell us. They (USA) don't decide for us (EU)", she tried to differenciate a bit.. But, once again, she simply came back to the Turkey in the EU position, noting that "Turkey was a member of the (paneuropean) CoE", (the paneuropean oganization with 47 Member States, including Azerbaidjan, etc), since the Cold War period..

However, Trautman's sayings to "EuroFora" naturally cannot be taken as of equal authority as a clear  Public Declaration made at the Top level of Socialist Party's leadership, .. which remained, curiously, too discreet on Turkey...
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But, paradoxically, it's a Socialist MEP from Hungary who drafted an interesting Resolution, timely adopted by EU Parliament in Strasbourg on April 2009, asking from all Political Parties to clearly debate on their different Projects about Europe's future...

The reply to be given to the key - Question "what kind of Europe do we want in Future", is so obviously affected by the choices made on Turkey's controversial EU bid, (fex. on Human Rights and Democracy, Geographical Borders and History, Culture and Identity, Social Cohesion and levels of Education, Science/Technology and Economy, close, popular links to EU Citizens or Bureacratic contempt, etc), that Sarkozy has even explicitly included the question of Turkey as a key part of the issue of "Europe's Future" : This was stressed in his 2007 Speech on Europe in Strasbourg, in the compromise he offered to EU Commission on August 2007 (to continue negotiations on condition to freeze 5 Chapters linked to Accession and start a reflection on "Europe's Future", etc), up to these 2009 January and May statements on June EU Elections..  

Moreover, rumours by experienced sources inside the EU, coming from  a period previous to 1999's controversial decision to give Turkey a "Candidate" status, already earmarked the Year 2013 as probably the most "crucial" moment for decisions on Turkey, because of changes expected on EU's Financial Perspectives (fex.on Agriculture or Regional Funds, etc). I.e. during the 2009-2014 Mandate of MEPs who will be elected by June 2009 EU Elections ! Otherwise, afterwards it risks to be too late for EU Citizens...

Unless things change, in the few time available before the June 4 to 7 Elections..
But are 2 Weeks enough for a clear and serious Debate, to give a real chance for 350 millions of EU Citizens to be informed and think before deciding ?

***

Ludres (Nancy) : EU Symbol ? History and Innovation, Nature and Industry, Human Rights and European crossroads.
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    Ludres, a beautiful 7000 inhabitats townlet which brings together History and Innovation, Natural Environment and big Industrial sites, Human Rights and European crossroads, attracted France Governing party's meeting for 2009 EU Elections,  not only because it's close to Strasbourg's EU Parliament's main building, but probably also because it can offer some useful and timely European Symbols :

    At the beautiful Mountainous outskirts of Nancy, Ludres is an Historic City existing since Pre-Historic times (- 800 JC), before the Gallo-Roman fortifications, but proud to have offered the Steel which served to build Paris' Eiffel tower, inaugurated at an International Exhibition, before becoming the 1st to have a Cabled TV, and celebrate a Decade of Internet 1997-2007, honored many times as @@@@ EU Internet city between 2003-2007 :
    A pioneer well ahead of EU's 5 Billion Economic "Stimulus" plan, voted at EU Parliament in Strasbourg on May 2009 on a Report by German MEP Heiner Böge, President of Budget's committee, with a large part for High-speed Broad band Communications at Rural areas, as French Minister on Information Society's development and perspectives, Nathalie KOZIUSKO-MORIZET (of Polish origin) highlighted.

    Close to Lorrain region's biggest Industrial site (with the larger number of enterprises), and at the crossroads of High-Speed Train between Paris and Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Brussels (Belgium) and Frankfurt or Stuttgard (Germany), Bale (Switzerland), or Milano (Italy), 7 minutes from Nancy's famous Stanislas' square (historically linked to Poland's royal family), Ludres is twinned with cities from current EU chair : Czech republic, Germany and Austria (from Bavaria and Tyrol respectively).

    But Ludres' old Church reminds that it's also home-town of a Humanist politician, killed at the 1st World War (1915), who consecrated a part of his life to defend poor People's Rights, and became famous when the French Assembly adopted his draft Law for the protection of widows and orphan Children : Ferri de Ludres.

    Following a typical "Srasbourg" model (i.e. a City where all Europeans meet, but surrounded by splendid Nature), Ludres could be a symbol for many other towns throughout Europe who'd like to bring together the beauty of Rural space and elementary Human Solidarity, with the efficiency of Modern technologies, all linked with Europe's biggest axes.

***
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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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