Speaking Notes for the Deputy Minister Pahad at the Press Briefing of the International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) Cluster, Media Centre, Union Buildings, Pretoria Tuesday, 27 June 2005

Introduction

  • This year represents a critical turning point for Africa's development. This is as a result of both internal dynamics leading to greater stability and democratization on the African continent as well as an accumulation and alignment of international processes that could aid sustainable development initiatives and contribute to their success.
  • In this sense, the latter half of 2005 presents us with a golden opportunity to further African development as international processes also focus their attention on the African Continent - the forthcoming G8 summit meeting in Scotland is such an opportunity as well as the Millennium Review (the United Nations General Assembly Millennium + 5 Summit) later this year.
  • Related to these international processes is also the reform of the UN as well as the negotiations of the WTO with a view to ensuring that the needs of developing countries are addressed and that the Doha Development Round is a success.
  • In this context, our key priority remains the consolidation of the African Agenda and we shall continue to intensify our participation in international activities and international structures with a view to enhancing our position in the world as the African continent as well as contributing to expediting the realisation of the sustainable development agenda for the developing world as a whole.
  • This briefing reports on the progress of the International Relations, Peace and Security Cluster from the time of the last briefing early in May. We shall focus on specific areas of interest at our present time as well as touching on progress on various fronts.

      Consolidation of the African agenda: Regional conflict processes

      • We shall continue to strengthen our efforts to bring about an enduring peace on the African continent, coupled with entrenching democracy through post conflict reconstruction and assisting in laying down the fundamentals for a sustainable development agenda which is the only way we can guarantee Africa's future for new generations.
      • Certainly peace is the pre-requisite even for poverty reduction and elimination because war exacerbates deepening poverty and creates a climate in which disease flourishes and a lack of respect for human rights especially women and children's rights. The conditions of life on the African continent can only improve if nations and the entire continent work together to bring about permanent peace and prosperity.
      • The new African season of hope that we see is because countries have embarked upon collective processes in conflict prevention and resolution and in reaching continental peace through the interventions of both regional and continental structures. The AU Peace and Security Council in its short life so far has done valuable work in ensuring that peace and stability prevails.
      • To this end, as South Africa, we believe that in recent months we have made progress in various countries. In this regard, we wish to highlight our efforts in the DRC, Burundi and Cote D'Ivoire.

      The Democratic Republic of Congo

      • Our role in the DRC is part of our consolidation of strategic bilateral political and economic relations that contributes to the realisation of a better Africa in a better world.
      • The second session of the RSA/DRC BNC, co-chaired by Presidents Mbeki and Kabila, took place in Pretoria on 29 April 2005. The following agreements were signed:
      • The Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between RSA-DRC-Sweden Governments on Co-operation in the area of Public Service and Administration.
      • A Memorandum of Understanding between RSA-DRC Governments relating to Co-operation on Capacity building for the Congolese National Police Force.
      • An Agreement on Co-operation between RSA-DRC Governments in the field of Agriculture.
      • A Convention between RSA-DRC Governments for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (DTA).
      • An Agreement between RSA-DRC Governments regarding Mutual Assistance between the Customs Administrations (MAA).
      • The Parties further reviewed progress and challenges in respect of the following areas of co-operation: Political and diplomatic consultation; Governance and administration; Defence and Security; and Economy, Finance and Infrastructure.
      • Both presidents agreed that additional structures should be established to increase co-operation between SA and the DRC.
      • The South African police are working closely with the Congolese police forces to ensure security and to assist with the integration of armed forces in the DRC. In addition, South Africa together with Britain and the Netherlands have formed a partnership to assist the Congolese government with regard to the integration of their army. Good progress is being made in this regard. The South African government is also currently assisting with the DRC's reconstruction and development objectives and task teams have been created to monitor progress. Government departments have been identified as capable of playing a key role during the transitional process and most of these have deployed personnel to the DRC to follow through our commitments.
      • SA's efforts to assist the DRC received a boost with a R25 million contribution from the African Renaissance Fund. The Swedish Government has also pledged a further US$3, 5 million to the public service programme in the DRC and a trilateral agreement between SA, DRC and Sweden was signed to this effect. An additional R166 million is being sought from the international donor community.
      • One of the most serious problems has been the tension between the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. In this regard, tripartite meetings between the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda (with Burundi participating as an observer) have been convened under the auspices of the UN and the AU. We will continue to support all efforts to improve DRC-Rwanda relations and to engage in collective efforts to stabilise the eastern region of DRC.
      • You are aware the Ex-far and Interahamwe have been in camps and have been the source of much of the instability. We were happy when a decision was taken that they form themselves into a political party. However, it has become clear that while talking peace in the Netherlands they were preparing for war.
      • We therefore welcome the European Union's Special Representative to the Great Lakes region, Aldo Ajello statement on Friday, 24 June 2005 said that the EU may support military action against Rwandan Hutu rebels in the eastern DRC if they refuse to disarm and return home: "Since the political option is not working for the time being, because we don't have the feeling that the FDLR are trying to implement what they said in their declaration (to disarm), then we are moving into the military option."
      • This is in line with the African Union's Peace and Security Council decision to mobilise an African Union force to take military action if the political processes fail.
      • President Mbeki attended the formal adoption of their Draft Constitution by the two Houses of Parliament: the National Assembly and the Senate on 16 May 2005.
        · During his visit to the DRC President Mbeki met with Vice-Presidents Yerodia Ndombasi; Zahidi Ngoma; and, Azarius Ruberwa to discuss the current political situation. In addition, President Mbeki met with 70 Congolese women, of different political affiliations and representing different organisations and institutions, for dialogue and exchange in addition to representatives of political formations including the Mai-Mai. The discussions confirmed that the transition process was on course, despite opposition from certain groups who were calling for a termination of the transition regime by 30 June 2005. There was general agreement that the elections should be postponed. However, concerns lay with the pace of integration of the armed forces in the DRC, as well as with the lack of communication between the government and the people regarding the dynamics of the transition process.
      • The DRC Transitional government has been extended to December 2005. We believe that the extended period for election preparations allows for greater dialogue between the DRC leadership and civil society.
      • The continued violence in the Eastern DRC should also be addressed in the run-up to elections.
      • However, despite these security concerns, we believe that there is a movement forward in the right direction and that the Draft Constitution is a progressive development - the constitutional principles provide for a form of state in which there is a unitary and federal synthesis, permitting administrative autonomy and allowing provincial communities to be closer to their governing authorities. A presidential state model will be adopted, whereby the President is the highest authority in the state, regulating the functioning of public power and maintaining national sovereignty.
      • Thus the adoption of the Draft Constitution has been a positive step, and is indicative that the Government of the DRC is asserting its commitment to plural democratic elections in the DRC.
      • On the whole, we believe that although progress has been slow in the transitional period, all parties in the DRC will gain something positive from a successful transition.
      • The ultimate beneficiaries will, of course, be the Congolese people, who for too long have lived in conditions of war and prolonged instability and conflict resulting from foreign domination. They, the people of the DRC, will be the victors of a democratic election and become peace-time heroes as they reconstruct their country which arguably is among the richest in Africa, well-endowed with mineral and oil wealth and blessed with vast forests which are the ecological lung of the African continent.

      Burundi

      • The political situation in Burundi is relatively stable as a result of the intervention on several occasions by the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process. This has helped to ease political tension between FRODEBU and the CNDD/FDD in the run-up to elections.
      • Talks between a senior Palipehutu/FNL delegation and Tanzanian officials took place in Tanzania under the auspices of President Benjamin Mkapa. Following discussions with the Palipehutu/FNL and a report to the Regional leaders on 22 April 2005.
      • Netherlands meeting and decision and failure of rebels to implement decision.
      • Local elections have been concluded. The next round of elections will be held soon; South Africa has deployed an observer mission.
      • South Africa is very actively involved in the post-conflict reconstruction of Burundi. In this regard, R10 million from the African Renaissance Fund has been allocated to the Burundi Peace Process. This allocation provides for election support and the South African Observer Mission for the Legislative elections scheduled for 4 July 2005. In addition, South Africa has already used more than R3 million to provide logistical support to the CENI for the Constitutional Referendum held on 28 February 2005. A 20-member RSA Observer Mission is set to visit Burundi from 27 June - 9 July 2005 to monitor the Legislative elections. As of 9 May 2005 the total SANDF troop contribution to Burundi (ONUB) was 1297, including 376 VIP Protectors to the Africa Union Protection Force (AUPF).
      • Among the challenges that we are still facing are: to monitor the implementation of the peace initiatives; to encourage the Regional Initiative to lobby the international community to provide and release funding for the elections, to continue to monitor political developments and to deal with the intransigence of the rebels. We also need to ensure that the process of post conflict reconstruction includes all role-players and to identify and explore areas of co-operation, as well as to assist with the socio-economic reconstruction and development of the country.

      Cote D'Ivoire

      • I have already indicated in our last briefing that the Pretoria meeting at which President Mbeki hosted key leaders of the Cote D'Ivoire was of particular significance because it was the first time that these leaders had met at the same table in nearly a year and that led to the signing of the historic Pretoria agreement.
      • Since then however, some problems in the implementation of the Pretoria Agreement have arised. Hence, President Mbeki has called for another round of talks between all roleplayers in Pretoria beginning today, Tuesday 28 June 2005.
      • The fifth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in the Ivory Coast states that the signing of the Pretoria Agreement on 6 April opened a new opportunity for progress in the peace process in the Ivory Coast, in line with the Linas-Marcousssis and Accra III Agreements. Also, the resolution of the issue of eligibility to the presidency has removed a major obstacle to the holding of open and credible elections.
      • The Secretary-General has however expressed concern in the protracted and dangerous delays in the implementation of key provisions of the agreement. The full integrity of the Government of National Reconciliation has yet to be restored and time is running out for the organisation of the first round of presidential elections due to be held on 30 October 2005. In this regard, the approval by the National Assembly of the revised law on the composition of the supervisory institution, the Independent Electoral Commission, and the establishment of the reconstituted Commission need in particular to be urgently completed.
      • Ivorian leaders have also asked for assistance on the security front in the recruitment and training of police as well as the disarmament of militia, among other related security concerns crucial to creating a climate for a peaceful transition.
      • We are determined to assist to promote peace in this region and to assist in ensuring implementation of undertakings especially those contained in the Pretoria Agreement. Only in this way can we meet the needs of the Ivorian people for a better life.
      • The United Nations Security Council on Friday, 24 June 2005 extended the UN operation in the Ivory Coast until 24 January 2006 following the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1609 (2005).

      Sudan

      • The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January this year has held very well with all sides working towards creating the conditions for peace and stability in Sudan.
      • As you know, South Africa chairs the AU Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Sudan.
      • In this regard, President Mbeki will, on conclusion of the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland visit Sudan where he will witness the inauguration of President Omar Hassan Ahmed el-Bashir and his two deputies, Vice Presidents Dr John Garang and Ali Osman Taha.
      • Following this inauguration, the cabinet which will serve for the duration of the transitional period for the next six years will be chosen.

      The African Union (AU), NEPAD, The African Peer Review Forum (APRF) And The G8 Meeting

      As part of the preparation for international fora that will look particularly at Africa's development, the AU has also had specific meetings in the reporting period on these international processes, namely the reform of the UN, the Millennium Review and more immediately - the forthcoming G8 summit that will look at poverty reduction on the African continent.

      Fifth Ordinary Session Of The Assembly Of The African Union

      President Thabo Mbeki will lead the South African delegation to the 5th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Sirte, Libya from Monday - Tuesday, 4-5 July 2005.

      The Summit will be preceded by the following meetings:

      • 28 - 29 June Permanent Representatives Committee Meeting
      • 29 June Follow up mechanism on UN Reform composed of the core group of 3+ the Committee of 10
      • 1-2 July Seventh Ordinary Session of the Executive Council
      • 4-5 July Fifth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

      South Africa's participation in the Executive Council of Ministers and Summit of AU Heads of State and Government comes within the context of South Africa's objective to consolidate the African agenda through among others, the strengthening the institutions of the Continental organisation.

      Heads of State and Government will receive reports from the Executive Council and make deliberations on:

      • The role of the Peace and Security Council with particular emphasis on the operationalisation of the Earning Warning System, the African Standby Force and the Council of the Wise;
      • Millennium Development Goals in preparation for the UN High Level Review of the Millennium Development Goals to be held in New York 14-16 September 2005;
      • The reform of the United Nations and the African position since this matter will be high on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2005; and
      • The implementation of NEPAD in preparation for the G-8 Summit to be held immediately after the AU Summit.

      In addition, Heads of State and Government will also deliberate on the G-8 Summit that would immediately follow the AU Summit and the implications and desired outcomes for the African agenda.
      Reform of the UN

      • AU Foreign Ministers met on 9 June in Abuja to discuss the reform of the UN and to give special consideration to the G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) resolution which calls for he expansion of t he UN Security Council by six new permanent members and 4 additional non-permanent members as well as the draft report of the President of the UN general assembly regarding the proposed reform of the UN system.
      • The African Union has embarked on a process whereby common African positions on the various elements of UN reform have been developed for engagement with other Member States. It was at a meeting on 7-8 March 2005, that the AU Executive Council adopted "The Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations", also called the Ezulwini Consensus.
      • The Africa position remains the Ezulwini Consensus as adopted by the AU Executive Council calling for 2 permanent seats with a veto and 5 non-permanent member seats.
      • In this regard, the Follow up mechanism on UN Reform composed of the core group of 3+ the Committee of 10 will meet in Tripoli, Libya ahead of the AU Summit in Sirte 4-5 July 2005. This meeting is expected to formulate a final proposal on the African candidature for the United Nations Security Council to be presented to the AU Summit.
      • Let me also say that the African position has always been that the UN should be more democratic and transparent.
      • We also support the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General for a
        peace-building commission since it will have substantial powers with regard to pre- and post-conflict actions. Proposals must be dealt with by the African Heads of State in order to bring a consolidated position to the September United Nations General Assembly.
      • Matters of disarmament and non-proliferation.
      • Matter of terrorism

      African Peer Review Mechanism

      • Ten days ago African leaders tasked with responsibility for NEPAD - met in Abuja at the 3rd Summit of the African Peer Review Forum to discuss NEPAD processes and implementation and to focus on the report of the African Peer Review Mechanism on Ghana and Rwanda.
      • The next countries to be reviewed will be Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
      • At this gathering there was also consideration of a progress report on the UN MDGs as part of the preparation leading to the G8 Summit early next month with view to a common African position.

      NEPAD & MDGs

      • Earlier, the 13th meeting of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee took place in Egypt on 19 April 2005 a matters of capacity building, institutional co-ordination, resource mobilisation, monitoring and information sharing as well as internalisation of the MDGs were under discussion. The meeting discussed a progress report on the implementation of NEPAD, in particular, the enhancement of the capacity of RECs, implementation of infrastructure projects, regional implementation of CAADP, implementation of the ICT initiative, international financing for NEPAD, national and sub-regional integration of NEPAD priorities for the attainment of MDGs, international engagements (including the G8, the Africa Partnership Forum and the Commission for Africa), and the NEPAD/AU integration process.
      • · An APRM Progress Report was also provided. Detailed discussion was held on the Commission for Africa Report (which was deferred to the July AU Summit for further discussion) and the upcoming G8 Summit in Gleneagles.


        NEPAD and international processes


      • The UN High Level Panel Report, the Sachs Report and the UN Secretary-General's Report for the UN MDG +5 Review Summit has also been on the African agenda.
      • The need exists for African states to align their national budgets and development plans to the MDGs and the NEPAD priorities and objectives. National and sub-regional reports must be finalised as soon as possible in preparation for the September Review so that the strategy for achieving the MDGs between 2006 and 2015 can be based on the actual needs and constraints of African states and regions.
      • In this regard, we should continue to explore the idea of the G8 and other international partners providing financial support for the development of national development plans.
      • A meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum was held in Abuja, Nigeria on 9-10 April 2005. The Forum also discussed the Commission for Africa Report, the G8 Summit, financing for development, achieving the MDGs, the future role of the APF and the need for and modalities of a mutual accountability mechanism, based on work done and a report submitted by the ECA and the OECD.

      Significance of the G-8 Summit

      • The 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, will again provide an important platform for engagement on NEPAD, and is of particular significance as it will set the tone of South-North relations as far as the response to Africa's development is concerned.
      • President Mbeki has been invited to the two outreach sessions of the 2005 Summit. The first of these will be the G8 + 5 Dialogue scheduled for 7 July and the African session scheduled for 8 July. The first outreach session will cover global economic issues and Climate Change. Countries invited to this session include: China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico. Following the G8 + 5 Dialogue, leaders of South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt and Algeria, Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Abdoulaye Wade, John Kufuor, Olusegan Obasanjo, Benjamin Mkapa, Lt. Girma Wolde-Giorgis, Hosni Mubarak and Abdelaziz Bouteflika respectively will also participate in the Africa Session on Friday, 8 July 2005. The Africa session is likely to review the developments since Kananaskis with respect to the G8 members' progress based on the reports provided by the African Personal Representatives, as well as consider the various proposals in so far as the future development of Africa is concerned.
      • The significance of this gathering is that this partnership between industrialised countries and the African continent is based on the acknowledgement of interdependence of Africa and industrialised countries and is not based merely on aid.
      • It is hoped that the practical outcomes from the Summit release significantly more resources to fast-track Africa's realisation of the MDGs.
      • In this regard however, Finance Ministers of the G7 two weeks ago agreed to cancel the debt of 18 of the world's Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), 14 of which are in Africa. African leaders of Nigeria, SA, Ghana, Rwanda, Algeria and Sierra Leone who met in Abuja, Nigeria on 19 June 2005 have since called for the cancellation of all African debt.
      • In addition, the US$ 55billion package announced by the G7 Finance Ministers is consistent with estimates by the UN Millennium Project that US$ 6 billion would be required annually over the next 10 years to enable all developing countries to meet the MDGs.
      • With respect to Africa's Economic Development, African Leaders have called for an integrated and sustainable financing agreement to stem from this year's Summit, taking the G8 Africa Action Plan forward and responding to the NEPAD Program of Action. It is critical that discussions not be allowed to stray from the two initiatives underpinning the process, i.e. the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the G8 Africa Action Plan (G8 AAP). Discussions must centre on what needs to be done to implement NEPAD, as the African Union's (AU) socio-economic development agenda, and the G8 AAP, adopted in 2002 at Kananaskis, Canada, in support of the implementation of NEPAD. The Commission for Africa Report (CFA) and other reports and initiatives should be seen only as inputs providing useful suggestions for consideration as to how to move the process forward in implementing NEPAD and the G8 AAP. Thus the first best outcome for Africa is consolidated concrete and tangible financing for development which will integrate the various mechanisms being proposed by certain G8 members.

      RECENT IMPORTANT MEETINGS: NAM, G77, WEF AFRICA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
      NAM

      • Minister Dlamini Zuma accepted an invitation from Malaysia, current Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to attend a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NAM on 14 June 2005 in Doha, Qatar. The meeting exchanged views on the UN Secretary-General's March 2005 Report following the High Level Panel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Sachs Report on the MDG's.

      G77 (South Summit)

      • The Second South Summit of the Group of 77 and China (G77) was held in Doha, Qatar, from 14 to 16 June 2005, preceded by a meeting of senior officials, on 12 June 2005, and a meeting of Foreign Ministers, on 13 June 2005.
      • The Summit considered progress made with the implementation of the "Havana Programme of Action", with the review process being co-ordinated by Jamaica and a review of progress being made towards implementing the Millennium Declaration.

      World Economic Forum (WEF): Africa Economic Summit

      • The World Economic Forum's (WEF) Africa Economic Summit took place from 1 - 3 June 2005 in Cape Town. The theme of the Summit was: A Call To Action - Help make 2005 the "Year of Africa". The Summit showcased the Commission for Africa report and helped align business in support of its recommendations and further engaging business as a catalyst for change.
      • At the Summit, President Mbeki made the important point that the forthcoming G8 Summit would be important in getting agreement from the G8 as to what is required in terms of each of the agreed priority areas rather than a specific focus on modalities for reaching these goals, that principled agreement is more important than the details of how each state is to proceed.

      CONCLUSION

      • We shall continue to consolidate the African agenda as part of entrenching the new African season of hope.
      • We shall expedite our work in building support for the African development agenda from our international partners with the emphasis on concrete agreement to support NEPAD priorities.
      • We shall intensify our efforts in WTO negotiations as part of the current Doha Round of trade negotiations. It is proposed that this issue is addressed by the IRPS Cluster in order to improve our current and future services negotiating strategies.
      • The "July Package" agreed by WTO Members in July 2004, signalled an important negotiating advance following the failure in Cancun. In the current phase, negotiations should aim to reach agreed "modalities" at the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC) that provide definite shape to the final outcome, and mark significant progress in negotiations.
      • We shall continue to strengthen our bilateral and multilateral relations. Meetings this weekend between president Mbeki and the President of the European Commission should be understood in the context of strengthening SA EU relations, especially trade and economic relations as well as support for the AU NEPAD projects and African governance, peace and security initiatives.

      Questions and Answers

      Question Deputy Minister, what is the South African government's position re: Somalia?

      Answer As you know, in Africa, each sub-region deals with it's own problems.
      South Africa is only involved in the Ivory Coast because we had been requested specifically by the AU; with regard to Burundi, former President Mandela had been asked to be the Facilitator following the death of former President Julius Nyerere.
      The East African region will continue to deal with the matter of Somalia.

      Question Deputy Minister, when will the African Union decide on the African candidates for the United Nations Security Council?

      Answer It is expected that the Committee of 10 will report to the Heads of State and Government Summit in Sirte, Libya. If enough work has been done by the Committee, a decision can be taken by the Summit.
      However, whatever the African position may be, the General Assembly must still vote the members in by a two-thirds majority.

      Question Deputy Minister, regarding the Ivory Coast - is today's meeting an update or the situation or will there be further agreements?

      Answer There have been too many agreements already. This meeting will assess the comments of the United Nations Secretary-General and his concerns regarding the problems with the implementation of the Pretoria Agreement.
      The meeting will in addition, review the 13 points outlined in the Pretoria Agreement and the obstacles to implementation. There has been NO movement since the signing of the Pretoria Agreement.

      Question Deputy Minister, South Africa has indicated that it will wage a war on terrorism in Burundi and the DRC - how much will this cost?

      Answer South Africa is part of the AU's Peace and Security Council - we will participate in any decision taken by this council. We are however fully committed to the principle involved.

      Question Deputy Minister, what is South Africa's position re: Swaziland - are you committed to democratic reforms?

      Answer Swaziland is part of SADC - South Africa is chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security - as such we will remain seized with the matter and are in touch with all sectors of society.

      Question Deputy Minister, does South Africa share the comments of the AU's spokesman that the current situation in Zimbabwe is an internal matter? Have you been interacting with the Zimbabwean leadership in this regard?

      Answer We are trying to ascertain the source of the comment by the AU's spokesman. However, we welcome the visit to Zimbabwe by the UN Secretary-General's special envoy and will await her report before we can take any decisions on the matter.

      Question Deputy Minister, the special envoy will only present her report by the end of the week - is this not a matter for the African Standby Force?

      Answer We are indeed seized with the Zimbabwean situation. We will continue to await the report from the Special Envoy - the South African Embassy in Harare has been providing reports but we still need to properly study and analyse what is happening in Zimbabwe.

      Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
      Department of Foreign Affairs
      Private Bag X152
      Pretoria
      0001
      28 June 2005


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