28 October, 2020

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NPC Calls On Both UNP And TNA To Join The Parliamentary Select Committee

“Sri Lanka now has eighteen months to move towards dealing with the range of issues, including human rights and governance, which have been raised in the draft resolution.  At this moment, it is also essential for the opposition to take a less confrontational stance and to work with the government in securing the country’s future.” says the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.

RWRS12512Issuing a statement today the NPC calls on both UNP and TNA to join the Parliamentary Select Committee, and the government to provide an institutional structure that will enable decisions in it to be taken only with their agreement, so that they may work together and consensually on a political solution that would help contribute to easing tensions both internally and externally.

We publish below the statement in full;

The draft resolution on Sri Lanka to be taken for vote at the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is now in circulation.  It proposes an international monitoring of Sri Lanka’s domestic accountability process and calls on the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office to do investigations on its own.  In addition, the draft resolution calls for the establishment of a truth seeking mechanism and national policy to hold individuals accountable for violations of international law.  It also calls on the government to devolve powers meaningfully in terms of the 13th Amendment and to empower the Northern Provincial Council with the necessary resources and authority.

The scope of the draft resolution has been widened in scope in comparison to the previous two resolutions.  The present draft includes issues of human rights violations and accountability in the entire country, rather than in the North and East alone and does not limit those issues to the last phase of the war.  It refers to attacks against religious minorities, journalists, human rights defenders and civic activists, and to crimes that target women wherever they live.   The National Peace Council notes that the issues that the international human rights community is considering have been considerably widened in the draft resolution.  This will relieve all those in Sri Lanka and internationally who have been highlighting the larger issues of good governance and human rights in the country.

As it stands at present, the draft resolution calls for another  mandate  by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in a year’s time, with a written report only to come after 18 months.  This gives the Sri Lankan government the time and space to implement the resolution. It is also important for the Tamil polity to work with the government with an open mind irrespective any possible assistance for solutions from outside.  There is a need to engage with the government to resolve the problems in the working of the 13th Amendment at least as it is and leave the un-kept governmental promise of 13th Amendment Plus to a future date

The National Peace Council believes that the government must take this opportunity and implement the provisions related to good governance and human rights set out in the LLRC Report in a worthy manner.  Or else the international process that puts pressure on the government to improve its good governance and human rights record is set to increase. The government must also be mindful to the vulnerability of a foreign debt ridden economy dependent on the international payments and settlement system learning from the experience of Iran whose people suffer through economic sanctions. We urge the government to cooperate in complying with any UNHRC resolution

Sri Lanka now has eighteen months to move towards dealing with the range of issues, including human rights and governance, which have been raised in the draft resolution.  At this moment, it is also essential for the opposition to take a less confrontational stance and to work with the government in securing the country’s future.  As a first step NPC calls on both UNP and TNA to join the Parliamentary Select Committee, and the government to provide an institutional structure that will enable decisions in it to be taken only with their agreement,  so that they may work together and consensually on a political solution that would help contribute to easing tensions both internally and externally.

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  • 3
    7

    Will the Colombo Elite and the Intelligentsia jettison Dr Jehan and accuse him another Lap Top and a low interest loan recipient?.

    Or has Dr Jehan gone troppo due our severe drought in Lanka?.

    UNP strategy, is to force Rajapaksa to give Sambandan Police Powers and Land Rights.

    Then go to the people and say ” Your hero Rajapkasa gave Eelaam to the LTTE prox TNA ”

    And it will be the kick ass sloagan at the next prez and general elections.

    Do you need to be a wizaed to work out what the outcome of that will be?.

    And Cameron , Harper and the Lady Ambassador in Colombo have killed two Birds in one hit..

    How good would that would be for the Colombo Elite, Anglicans , Vellalas and even Bishop Raiappu the current leader of the non Vellalas..

    I would put my life savings that UNP wuldn’t join the PSC.

    And old Sambandan knows that the UNP wouldn’t agree to his demands until Ranil can form a UNP govt and become the President.

    • 0
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      .
      If Rajapakses have to choose between police powers to NPC and electric chair,
      they’ll give away police powers.
      :-)

    • 1
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      Mr. Sumanasekara,

      Let the government implement the 13th amendment as it is, including the provisions relating to land and police powers, in both word and spirit. The 13th amendment was introduced and approved under a UNP government. There will thus be no basis for the UNP to go to town against it.

      Dr.RN

      • 1
        1

        Dear Doctor,

        Is it Rajapakasa who stitched the 13A with India and introduced it?.

        Wasn’t the Current UNP Leader part of that UNP crew?.

        Why didn’t the UNP give Police Powers and Land Rights?.

        Why can’t the UNP Leader come out now and say,

        ” Sorry Folks, My ex leader JR made a mistake and forgot to give the P & L rights to Vellalas”.

        “I now demand, that the current President grant them to Mr Sambandan and his appointee Mr Wigneswaran forthwith”.

        And the two upcoming elections are the best place to make this announcement.

        It will also neutralize Ms Pillai immediately.

        UNP will romp in the two provinces,

        And Rajapaksa will to have agree because he has already promised that he will do it if the majority wants it…

    • 1
      1

      Yes, the UNP is never to be trusted. But whatever their strategy is, doubt they can go as far as to give complete land and police powers to Sambandan. What Rajapakse will probably do is give a percentage of land and police powers to long time inhabitants of N&E (e.g.20%- 50% rather than the actual amount of 12%).

    • 1
      1

      K. A,. Sumanasekara:

      And Sambandan knows if he does not play this kind of game TNA DAYS ARE OVER.

      USA plays this card because it wants to pressure Mahinda Rajapakse to slow down with Chinse connections.

      India wants this because that is the only way that Congress party can fool Tamilnadu.

      Harper and Camaron – both are getting ready for elections.

    • 1
      2

      Mr.Sumanasekera,
      What we want is our Tamil Kingdom you all took over in 1940s.
      We don’t want to live with you because you will kill us and no one will come to save us.The Aryan India also will join you.

  • 10
    3

    Questions:

    1. What is the guarantee this PC will function differently from the one that was set up to lead the way to impeach CJ Shirani Bandaranaike?

    2. What will be the basis for discussions? The APRC report and the others on the subject preceding it?

    3. Will the proceedings of this PC be broadcast or be open to the public?

    4. Ravinatha Ariyasinha, our Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, has declared at the on-going HRC sessions that the draft resolution under discussion calls for measures that contravene our constitution?

    He never explained how? Is our constitution an obstacle to only things this government does not want to do?

    5. When the government has the 2/3rd majority do to what it wants, including amending our constitution and interpreting it to suite its purposes pre-and post-event as in the CJ impeachment case, what stops the government from implementing the 13 th amendment as laid down already in our constitution, as the preliminary step?

    6. Considering the stance articulated by Ambassador Ariyasinhe and the attitude of this and previous governments with reference to the 13th amendment, what hope is there that the new pC will deliver the devolution the a Tamils desire and demand?

    7. Should the UNP and the TNA take into account the fact that this government through its allies articulated the desire to rescind the 13th amendment in the period preceding the decision ( forced by the International Community) to go ahead with elections?

    8. Is the intent of the government to pursue the PC path, a charade to buy time or do what it wants through a pseudo-democratic exercise?

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 8
    1

    Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed by government is not the place to discuss the National issues. PSC constitute 21 political parties and the motives of the PSC is suspicious. PSC is not accepted by TNA, UNP, JVP and Muslim congress.

    There are valid reasons why they reject the PSC. The government is the problem. You don’t find a solution because of international pressure. You should recognise it is our problem, we should resolve the problem.

    First and foremost, the ruling government should have a genuine interest and it should discuss with major political parties and relevant parties representing diverse communities (Sinhalese, Sri Tamils, Muslims).

    The government, UNP, TNA and Muslim Congress) should form a group and agree for a consensus achievable process with a limited time frame and clear objectives. It should get the support of international community and experts as observers. The important national issues:
    1. Improving Governance: Rule of law, independence of law, justice and security.
    2. Meaningful Devolution of power.
    3. Religious freedom

  • 8
    2

    Did Dr Jehan Perera get a lap to as well? What else he got from MR?

    Why cant the govt first implement the recommendations of LLRC?
    Why cant the govt let NPC (Northern Provincial Council) function?

    To do the above, does not the govt has enough cabinet minsters?

    Why do the need UNP and TNA?

    • 3
      1

      http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/02/16/tna-stands-ground/

      The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it will not take part in the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the National issue as the Government had failed to fulfill promises given in the past.

      Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi last week that the Government of Sri Lanka must resume a substantive dialogue with the TNA for a political settlement and reconciliation. “India has consistently urged the Sri Lankan Government to take forward the process of broader dialogue so that we can see some concrete movement towards a meaningful devolution of powers including the implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond,” she said.

      In response to her comments, Sumanthiran told The Sunday Leader that the Sri Lankan Government has consistently agreed with India that they would ‘implement the 13th amendment in full and go beyond that to achieve meaningful devolution’ and this is even contained in joint communiqué between the two governments.

      However, he noted that the promise has not been kept and far short of even implementing the 13th amendment in full, the Government has not allowed the Northern Provincial Council to function in the way other provincial councils function. “The law requires the Chief Secretary to be appointed with the concurrence of the Chief Minister. But after repeated assurances even that simple action has not been taken,” he said.

      Sumanthiran also noted that India has consistently urged the government to engage with the TNA to arrive at an acceptable political solution. “The Government, after commencing dialogue with the TNA in January 2011, did not respond to the TNA’s proposals for a full year and then, contrary to agreement walked away from the bilateral talks. Thereafter the Government keeps insisting the TNA join the Parliamentary Select Committee. This too is contrary to the agreement reached with the TNA, which are all recorded and confirmed in the minutes of the bilateral talks. This is the reason the TNA is unable to join the PSC,” he added.

      The TNA MP also said that the Indo-Lanka Accord is a bilateral treaty between two sovereign nations, which provides for genuine power sharing arrangement with the Tamil speaking people in the North-East of the country, and therefore it is legitimate and obligatory for India to raise these matters with the Sri Lankan Government and urge them to comply with their obligations under the treaty.

    • 3
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      Tamil Aspirations Have To Be Met TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2013/12/08/tamil-aspirations-have-to-be-met-tna-leader-rajavarothiam-sampanthan/

      TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, while acknowledging the landslide victory of his party in the Northern provincial council elections, said that an acceptable, reasonable and sustainable solution should be provided to the problem of the Tamil people. The aspirations of the Tamil community are to have an impartial political authority in a united and undivided Sri Lanka. He added that he sees the establishment of the northern provincial council as a beginning of this process.

      The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to seek a meeting with India on the Tamil issue such as implementing 13th amendment, international investigations and rejoining north and eastern provinces.

      In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said that holding an election in the Northern province is not the end of the story but just the beginning of the process. He said that there needs to be a constitutional arrangement that will ensure that the Tamil people are able to exercise the rights they are entitled to in keeping with the patterns of power sharing the world over.

      Sampanthan is a leading Sri Lankan Tamil politician, Member of Parliament and leader of the Tamil National Alliance and Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi.

      Following are excerpts of the interview:

      Q. While the TNA has been constantly pushing for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, the government is adamant that they are not willing to give land and police powers. In that context how viable is it to push for the full implementation of the 13th amendment?

      A. Our objective with regard to a political solution is to be able to exercise all powers that need to be exercised to make power sharing meaningful, purposeful and successful. So as to remove the fundamental causes of the conflict and to enable the people to live together united. That is a justifiable position and that position will continue. That is not a position that can be compromised on to cater to the whims and fancies of others. That is the fundamental right of our people, and that right will have to be respected. That has been the verdict of the people at all democratic elections over several decades.

      Q. Is the TNA trying to get India to push the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th amendment?

      A. India has been involved in the Sri Lankan crisis from 1983, and India remains involved, and the Sri Lankan government interacts with India as much as we do, if not more. India knows the true position and there is no need for anyone to push India, and they will do what is right.

      Q. The chief ministers of all the other provinces say that they don’t need land or police powers to conduct their day to day activities. Hence the TNA is isolated in this issue, and without the backing of the other provinces do you think that you could achieve your objectives?

      A. The chief ministers of other provinces don’t need any powers at all, and they never asked for power sharing or devolution of power. That was not a demand made by the people of those areas. The demands of power sharing and devolution were only made by the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces. The demands of the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces cannot be compared with the people of the other provinces, as they never wanted those powers and were not interested in those powers. However we and our people are, and that’s the difference. Our people’s aspirations have to be met, and that is fundamental.

      Q. The government appointed a parliamentary select committee to formulate a solution to this issue, but the TNA does not want to be part of it. Therefore when you distance yourself from the body appointed to find a solution, don’t you think that you are missing out on an important opportunity to be part of the process?

      A. We have no trust in the parliamentary select committee and don’t think that this committee has been appointed to bring about a reasonable political solution. We think that the parliamentary select committee has been appointed to scuttle the prospects of a reasonable political solution. Leading alliance partners of the government, who were made members of the committee, had publicly stated that the objective of the committee is to dilute and if not remove and greatly diminish the 13th Amendment. Therefore, when members of the government in alliance with the government publicly make such statements there is no reason whatsoever for us to have any trust or faith in that parliamentary select committee. Therefore we do not look upon the parliamentary select committee as a credible process to bring about an acceptable political solution.

      Q. The government has a 2/3 majority in parliament and hence have the power to basically take any decision. In that context do you feel that the TNA has any chance of achieving their goals?

      A. Our objectives and our strategies are not based on expediency, but on principles. Based on the achievement of the fundamental rights of our people, to live freely as equal citizens in our country, and these are not matters that can be viewed under mere political expediency. Judgements have got to be based on principles and the fundamental rights of our people.

      Q. The 13th amendment basically came with the Indo Lanka Peace Accord, and according to that India was obligated to disarm the LTTE and resolve the military conflict and the government had to set up the provincial councils. That was the agreement. India however could not stop the war and it is believed that India failed on their part. In that perspective how can they force the SL government to implement the 13th Amendment after not having fulfilled their part?

      A. The 13th amendment was negotiated between the government of Sri Lanka and the TULF long before the Indo Sri Lanka agreement was signed. In fact President J. R. Jayewardene had placed these proposals before parliament even before the Indo Sri Lanka agreement was signed. They were however not completely to our satisfaction. The Indo Sri Lanka agreement referred to the proposals that emerged from the negotiation process. The Indo Sri Lanka agreement is an international treaty and cannot be unilaterally violated or abdicated. Hence the Sri Lankan government is obliged to comply with and implement the Indo Lanka agreement.

      As far as the disarming of the LTTE was concerned, the Indian Peace Keeping Force engaged in the process of disarming the LTTE, and continued with that process, and succeeded to a large extent in implementing that process sacrificing the lives of around 1,000 IPKF personnel. However the then Sri Lankan government supplied vehicles, arms and money to the LTTE to fight the IPKF.

      So whatever obligation India had they took action to fulfil that and succeeded to a large extent, despite the fact that the Sri Lankan government was obstructing the Indian government fulfilling their obligations. Eventually the IPKF left because the Sri Lankan government wanted the IPKF to leave. So no one can say that India defaulted in any obligation. India fulfilled their obligation to their fullest under the circumstances, and it is the Sri Lankan government that is responsible for any lapse.

      Q. TNA has the provincial administration of the North, so can’t the TNA find solutions for the Tamils in the North without the land and police powers?

      A. We have said that these are fundamental rights on which there can be no compromise and holding an election in the Northern province is not the end of the story but just the beginning of the process. The TNA has very comfortably and very definitely won power in the Northern province, but that is not all. There needs to be a constitutional arrangement that will ensure that people are able to exercise the rights they are entitled to in keeping with the patterns of power sharing the world over. As stated by President Rajapaksa in his inaugural speech to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and the experts committee appointed.

      Q. There is speculation that the TNA, by seeking the full powers and also seeking the merger of the north and east, is still trying to gain a separate state, this time in an indirect manner. What is your view on this?

      A. We have very clearly stated in our election manifestos and on public platforms both in Sri Lanka and abroad that we are committed to a political solution that is reasonable, workable and durable within the framework of a united undivided Sri Lanka. We cannot satisfy the imaginary apprehensions of people who have unnecessarily and for unjustifiable reasons accused us of such. We are committed to a solution that would bring lasting peace for our people within a united undivided country.

  • 4
    0

    What special does NPC see in Parliamentary Select Committee … . How is Parliamentary Select Committee different from previous parleys … .

    This tongue-in-cheek press release makes me suspect the credibility of NPC.

  • 9
    0

    We saw how Rajapaksa created a PSC to nullify the 13th amendment . So one should not hold out any hope for a PSC to be anything but an oragan for the Nationalists to subvert the Tamil parties.

  • 2
    0

    Looks like JP has been bought over by Rajapaksa. He appers to be placing a lot of trust in the PSC forgetting what other PSCs formed by Rajapaksa did in the past. With the governing parties holding the majority in the PSC there will be no chance of a solution acceptable to the Tamils. It is another of Rajapaksa’s time buying exercises. The TNA should avoid the PSC like the plague.

  • 4
    4

    The ITAK has been boycotting the Parliament in one form or another since 1950s. The marginalization of Tamils was inevitable.

    Its only the players and not the spectators have a chance of molding policies that benefit their communities. No one is going to coerce or force ITAK to play ball this time either. The failure is probably fatal for Tamils this time around.

    Going by previous examples, not a single Tamil was a member in the 1972 cabinet. The Muslim Minister of Education, Badi-ud-din Mahmud
    was one of the prime movers in the introduction of Standardisation of University entrances. Another Muslim Minister A C S Hameed successfully prevented the implementation of the reform of these policies in 1987 at the tail-end of J R Cabinet. Standardisation benefited both Sinhala and Moslem communities.

    Other fill the vacuum in the absence of representation of Tamils at Cabinet level. They contribute to the decision benefiting their own electorate.

  • 1
    0

    The “PSC” is an anachronism which has crept into the constitution and is designed to determine national issues by laymen who represent only their electorates.
    They are not endowed with super-intelligence to decide national issues.
    Only the Supreme Court is endowed with this power and should be the last bastion to decide.

  • 2
    1

    While Jehan Perera means and writes well, he knows he is hollow and simplistic here. He is clearly trying to survive in an environment the Rajapakse siblings will not tolerate any serious “threat” from the media or the NGOs. In his own narrow considerations, he has much to lose if he crosses swords with the fearful regime. It is no secret the NPC has resourceful financiers out in the world.

    Surely, the PSC is a poor tool by which the Rajapakses have been trying to trap the TNA for a long time. The idea is the moment the TNA is in they will be outvoted in the 31 (?) or so Council in which the
    TNA will have around 5. This, the Rajapakses miscalculate, can then be used to tell India and the world, loud and clear, there has been a
    “democratic” consensus. The Rajapakses, in reality, are in mortal fear of the chauvinistic priests, as SWRDB was during his time. They have no backbone to do what is right and necessary. And that is, to empower and provide the necessary resources for the TNA to lift the PQL of the Tamil people in the North – which will also include a truly civil administration from the Governor downwards. Anything less will be an exercise in futility, which it has so far been. Prevarication has always been the Rajapakses strategic but floundering tool.

    R. Varathan

  • 2
    0

    If Ranil is a true and honest broker, then he should agree that UNP and TNA will appear as one group under the leadership of Justice Wigneswaran at the PSC. UNP can have more members as they have more seats in the Parliament than TNA but the leader of the group should be Justice Wigneswaran.

    Ranil this is a challenge to you, prove that you are a honest person. If you do not agree to this, then it appears you too are in the payroll of Rajapakse as some media as mentioned in the past.

  • 2
    1

    It is pleasing to observe ideas being thrown about for genuine reconciliation, as done here by Dr. Jehan Perera. His proposal to bring consensual management of affairs even to the extent of making a constitution is heartwarming. Requesting the Opposition inclusive of the TNA to drop confrontational stances is also welcome. I do not think his not requesting the government meant that the government is pious or need not positively respond!

    However, I think Jehan should look at the following before concluding that his propositions would be “bought over” by the Opposition.

    1. PSC operates on Parliamentary Standing Orders/ Rules/ Regulations/ Procedures and precedence. Shirani Bandaranayaka’s Impeachment proved how a majoritarian government can throw away its weight all around through a PSC to achieve what it feels is right. The latest court ruling has set an important precedence to make such action even stronger and legal. The basic foundation is that the Courts cannot intervene in PSC proceedings. Therefore, whatever the political group that is running the government will finally decide what and how a PSC should operate. Hence, Ranil Wicramesinghe and Rajawarodayam Sampanthan has to take a challenge of being “played out” as in a way happened in Bandranayaka’s case.
    2. Bandaranayaka’s case proved that once the MPs sat at the PSC, their withdrawal does not prevent the government to proceed to obtain what it wishes to receive. Sri Lankan politics has a long history of promises uncared for after getting power, best being the erasing of the Executive Presidency. How is Jehan to ensure such does not repeat? The answer may be amending the Standing Orders. If so, is it only for the PSC attended by the UNP and TNA as proposed by Jehan?
    3. Devolution of powers meaningfully need not have Opposition consensus, because it is a matter of facilitating implementing the 13th Amendment properly by the government. Devolution has not failed in the main due to the Opposition, although the new Chief Minister and boisterous PC Members in the North also have sometimes shown weak judgment on devolution. Nevertheless, I think the main issues were highlighted by former ‘The Hindu’ Editor N. Ram recently and his recommendations would have been heard by the President!
    4. No one can object to government implementing good governance methodologies and LLRC recommendations. I believe it has been trying to do so through Lalith Weeratunga Committee. For success there is the need for mutual consensual decision making and participation.
    5. Jehan’s urge may not be the urge the government has when one hears speeches made by government representatives and political authorities. It applies to the Opposition too. It is a pity that Jehan did not advise against such irresponsible statements, if reconciliation and consensus building is anticipated. It is required as the final output depends on human actions and not only on constitution making or devolution as a concept. The softer side of everything is among humans and words are worse killers than bullets!

    I agree that it is essential for the Opposition to take a less confrontational stance and to work with the government in securing the country’s future. Of course the institutional structure proposed by him is an excellent idea, but Jehan must be mindful of the fact that he would hear clapping only if both hands get together. Otherwise, with one, it is easy to slap, and not clap at all.
    Jehan, Best wishes for the extremely hard task to be a success.

  • 1
    0

    NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL IS TRYING TO HOLD CANDLE TO RJAJAPAKSAS.WHAT GURANTEE THEY HAVE FROM THE GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS TWO-THIRD MAJORITY DOSE NOT NEED UNP,S TWO CENTS IF THEY WANT THEY CAN DO IT OVERNIGHT AS THEY IMPEACHED SHIRANI BANDARANAJAKE.

  • 0
    0

    In my opinion, don’t expect any support nor sympathy from the Sri Lankan Muslim community, when the international community screws our country at the next UNHCR Resolution in Geneva, for all that has been said and done by racist monks against Muslims. We can only say, you buggers, that is those bigot monks in BBS/SR/JHU and all its supporters, this government included deserve it.

  • 2
    0

    Oh ! the NCP now rides the bullocks ……….
    These bullocks only require horns to grow now.

  • 0
    0

    Acceptable looking proposals do come every time the Govt is under pressure either from India or the IC. Of course the TNA is in a desperate spot and they might go for it and end up cheated as always. If this time the Govt genuinely wants to avoid UN and IC international probe, it is the Govt that needs to change the bad Constitutional amendments and change the Constitution in the first place, change the range of issues confronted for the others to support and proceed from there.

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