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Remarks With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
En Route Palo Alto, California
May 22, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: Okay, who wants to lead off? Matt, you want to lead off?

QUESTION: Sure. Actually, can you just give us a little bit, a little bit about this trip, why you're doing it now, why you're actually going and what you hope to get out of it?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, this trip began when David and I were talking about -- not long after you'd been named foreign minister -- about the challenges of energy policy, of environmental stewardship, of climate change. And we had a rather spirited discussion about what role markets will play, what role technology can play in resolving the issue. And I had, last year, I think, taken Alexander Downer, the then Australian Foreign Minister, out to the Silicon Valley and we'd done some interesting visits on clean energy technology and the role that venture capital is playing. And so I said to David I thought it would be fun to go out and do that again and to have a chance to look at this very energetic and vibrant part of America. You know, too, that I believe strongly in trying to get my foreign minister colleagues out of Washington, D.C., as well as off the east coast, and so this is an opportunity to do both. And we will focus a lot on clean energy, on technology, but also on the interaction between technology discovery and commercialization of that technology.

QUESTION: Are you seeing some of the same people that you saw (inaudible)?

SECRETARY RICE: We will among the venture people, but we'll go to Google this time and we'll also have a roundtable with some of the entrepreneurs there. As you know, it's just a very interesting environment and I though that David might like to see what northern California is like.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think that the timing has turned out very well. I mean, we're all facing a credit crunch, but we're also facing a fuel crunch with a mismatch in supply and demand for fuel, and a food crunch around the world with food prices being driven up in part by increased transportation prices but also because of some climatic change. Significant parts of Australia were unable to get their agriculture going because of drought. So I think that the timing is good to look at how one of the most dynamic parts of the world really in terms of ideas and money and people is actually driving forward the frontiers of technology in a very interesting way.

I think that there's a real set of lessons about how this part of California has been a magnet for people of money. There's some Brits who will be meeting as well as obviously mainly the U.S. But what's also interesting is a number of the companies that we're meeting are global companies, and so I feel it's part of a global conversation about how foreign policy is changing. And I think there is a different perspective from sitting on the west coast than from the east coast, and that's important for me as well.

QUESTION: Yesterday you spoke of Myanmar as being a manmade catastrophe, and Ban Ki-moon is there today trying to get military -- shipments of military -- of aid in to help the more than 2.4 million or so who are destitute. At what point do you think the international community should make a forced intervention of military aid? Is this something that you're looking closely at in order to save these people, many of whom may die before any of this aid reaches them while it sits on the coast of Myanmar?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, I think a lot of people have died already and someone asked me the other day, "When's the tipping point?" And unfortunately, the tipping point has passed for those people. But I think that when you look that Burma has 400,000 people in uniform, I think starting to talk about forced entry when, in fact, we've got a welcome for the UN Secretary General, when we've got the ASEAN foreign ministers, I don't think that's where the focus of diplomatic and other attention is.

What we've got to do is persuade the Burmese regime that it is in their hands to actually save a number of their people, and it's actually in their hands to save a number of people without prejudice to their political regime, which we have both deep misgivings about. But we've all said this is a humanitarian response that's being made to the natural disaster that's being turned into a manmade catastrophe. We're trying to send aid there with a purely humanitarian purpose. There's no ulterior motive. I think the UN Secretary General is a good person to try to convey that. We've said we've got about $35 million of aid going in through the NGOs, some of whom I met in New York on Tuesday. So I think we're focused on making this diplomatic offensive work.

QUESTION: But the authorities in Myanmar, by their state paper, said there were too many strings attached to the military aid that's sitting offshore. Do you agree? I mean, are there strings attached to that aid?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: When I spoke -- I mean, the biggest consignment of aid is the French ship, the Mistral, which is off the coast. The French Government is desperate to get their aid in and they want to get it in in an effective way. They don't want to divert it away from the people who need it, but they do want to get it in. So I don't accept that there are unreasonable conditions being put by the international authorities or international community.

And I think there is a fundamental issue here, which his that a lot of British people have actually given money. This is a big issue of concern. And maybe it seems hard for the regime to understand why people in Britain would care about people in Burma, but I think the reason is that when it's in your power to save lives, then you've got a real moral responsibility to do so.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, last week when the -- when Ban Ki-moon announced his call for money for fundraising for the Burmese regime, the U.S. reserved its response (inaudible). Do you have an announcement today? Did you decide -- do you decide -- did you decide to give money to the Burmese?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States has already committed extensive resources to the Burma -- just under -- I think under $20 million. Is that right? (Inaudible) not been the case here. And one has to worry about the proper distribution of the aid, about the ability to get that aid to people who need it. And so we've been working our way through these things at a frustratingly slow pace, frankly. But I think we now have some things in place. I talked to Ban Ki-moon yesterday before he left for Burma. We have, of course, gone in through Admiral Keating. We continue to have military capabilities offshore to help. And of course, the ASEAN foreign ministers are trying to organize themselves. So it was not meant by any means to be suggesting that we would not work with the UN. We are working with the UN. But this is a highly unusual situation.

QUESTION: Have there been any developments since your news conference last night on Iran and the enhanced packages? I noticed that there's been -- there's a new Board of Governors meeting coming and there's going to be a new report that comes out possibly as early as tomorrow that talks about non -- Iranian noncompliance with the past activities. What do you make of that?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think that's -- there's no development in terms of the package, but I do think that the point that we both made yesterday that this is serious enough that we want to do it bilaterally with the Iranian Government, not by megaphone through the media, is important. That's a little disappointing for you, but I think it's important.

On the IAEA question, I think that is very significant actually because, you know, five or six months ago people were saying to us the Iranians were saying that they've squared away the IAEA, that they've only got a "political problem" with the UN Security Council and that the independent IAEA have cleared them of misdeeds. Actually, what's clear is that the IAEA have reached a really important point with the Iranians where they're not getting answers on the outstanding issues and on the additional protocol, the outstanding issues relating to previous illegal studies that go to the heart of the issue of confidence that the international community can have with the Iranian regime.

And I think it's important that we keep stressing that Iran is not the victim of an international vendetta; it's actually the author of its own misdeeds. And they are being exposed by the work that IAEA officials are doing, and so we look forward, obviously, to the report tomorrow or whenever it comes out. And I think that's part of the context for this determination that we've got to pursue the twin-track policy that we think is the right one.

SECRETARY RICE: I would essentially have nothing to add. I think that’s exactly right.

QUESTION: So you've seen or you're aware of what -- the conclusions of the report?

SECRETARY RICE: I've not seen the report. I've seen reports about the report. And again, IAEA cooperation has been one of the central elements of the twin-track policy. It's been both the resolution on suspension and complete and transparent cooperation with the IAEA. So this would be a very serious matter.

QUESTION: Do you think this will strengthen, possibly, your hand in going in to the Iranians with an enhanced -- re -- what is it called, the reformatted -- refreshed --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's wait and see what the report says. And we're going to continue our consultations. But I don't think any of us have always assumed that this was going to go smoothly with the Iranians and any time that there is an issue of noncompliance, we're going to press it.

You know what? We can go and sit down, if you'd like. Do you all want to come up and we can sit down there so we don't have to bump around? We're going to go up front where we can sit down. (Break.)

All right. So we can continue now.

QUESTION: Just to get back to Iran, do you think that -- it seems to be taking the Iranians quite a long time to fix a time to get this refreshed package delivered. Do you see that as stalling tactics on behalf of the Iranians? Do you think that they are just sort of, for want of a better expression, messing around with you?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I don't think it's a matter of messing around. I think that we should -- we've been really determined that the substance of this package gets addressed, and I think none of us and none of our foreign minister colleagues are going to say anything that gives an excuse for the package not to be addressed. So we're going to be incredibly diplomatic about the work that's going on to get this meeting fixed because I think it's important. Remember, June the 2nd is the expiry of the time following the 1803, so that's important. So I think that the fact that we've not just -- that we've received the Iranian letter and just held on to it and well, wait and see ours. We're not interested in a rhetorical -- as I said yesterday, a rhetorical volleyball match. What we're interested in is serious engagement.

I do think that the IAEA is relevant in all this, but I think that it shows that there's a seriousness of purpose across the international community and there's a seriousness of professional purpose for the people paid to do this work as well as from the politicians on the UN.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said yesterday that Iran had a choice; otherwise, it would face serious consequences. What would those consequences be? People are saying that at the UN the next round of sanctions will be a lot tougher, will have much more teeth, if the Iranians don't make, as you say, the right choice.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I actually think the Iranians have already faced consequences. The problems that they're having in accessing the international financial system, the problems that they're having getting investment in what is a terribly creaky oil and gas and refining infrastructure, the fact that there's been on and off rationing of energy supply in Iran, I think these are all signs of an Iranian economy that is starting to have real difficulties because both the Security Council resolutions and what I've called the collateral effects of those Security Council resolutions; for instance, the German decision to diminish or to begin to pull back on export credits, the fact that the Japanese cut their investment in Azadegan oil -- or gas fields. So I think they have already faced consequences, but I think there is no doubt that there are further steps that the coalition of states that have been working this could take within the Security Council framework if Iran is not prepared to accept the really quite favorable and quite generous package that has been offered to it.

One thing that we want to do eventually is to have the Iranian people understand the bad tradeoffs that are being made on their behalf, because there is somehow out there, for instance, an argument by the Iranian regime that the "West," which I guess includes China and Russia, is trying to deny them technology, trying to keep them backward, trying to prevent them from having civil nuclear power. And of course, nothing could be further from the truth. This is about denying the technologies that would lead to a nuclear weapon, not about denying civil nuclear power or technology. It could be a very fruitful technological relationship, even on some nuclear matters if -- for instance, you know, one could imagine medical research and the like. So this idea that somehow we're trying to -- that we undervalue Iran as a capable and proud state is just not right, and we're going to have to make that case. But I think they are already paying consequences, and of course, there are other possible courses available to us.

QUESTION: Are you looking at more unilateral sanctions, more designations?

SECRETARY RICE: We'll continue to designate entities as we find them trying to use the international financial system for ill-gotten gains. And yes, we're going to continue to do it and we're going to continue to do it aggressively because Iran should not be in a position of using the banking system to pass profits made from terrorism or proliferation.

QUESTION: Is there anything imminent on that score? Is there anything imminent on that?

SECRETARY RICE: We continue to assess it practically every day. And Hank Paulson and I are in very close contact about when -- you know, this is not something we do as a political matter. This is something we do because the international financial system has got to keep its integrity. And so when Treasury believes that we have an issue of the integrity of the international financial system, we act.

QUESTION: But without naming anything, is there some --

SECRETARY RICE: It's important that I not get out ahead of any designations that we might make.

QUESTION: On Lebanon, it's a question for both of you. After this Doha agreement, actually, Hezbollah got what they wanted. They got the blocking minority they wanted and they had wanted for months. Aren't you concerned that now they are -- they come out strengthened and they are become -- they became an undeniable force in Lebanon?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the government also got one half plus one. And let me just say one thing about the "blocking minority" and then go to the broader question. They wanted the blocking minority for some time. That's right. But of course, many of the decisions that they had hoped to block have already been made. The tribunal, for instance, is established and that's not going back. And so I think one has to take a look at this in its totality, not a snapshot, to see where we really are in Lebanon. And I think now everybody is very focused on what they should be focused on, which is the 2009 election, and that will be a contested election. And Hezbollah lost something very important, which is any argument that it is somehow a resistance movement on behalf of the Lebanese people. What it is is a militia that, given an opportunity, decided to turn its guns on its own people. And it's never going to live that down. And that's all over television. There are, of course, debates going on now quite openly about why Hezbollah would have arms if what it intends to do is to turn them on its own people. And I think that the Arab states who negotiated in Doha did a really very good job.

And I want to just note one other thing. This is not the first time that the Arab states have taken on Lebanon without the participation of Europe or the United States. Taif in 1989 was, of course, negotiated -- brokered by Saudi Arabia. And so this is more in that frame. It shows to me the significant level of cooperation that we've begun to achieve with the Arab League. In fact, this Arab League delegation began (inaudible) to strengthen legitimate forces in the Arab world and those of us who are very interested in the same thing.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think that yesterday was a significant step forward. The failure to elect a president in (inaudible) responsibilities on all sides, obviously responsibility for the president, but also there were commitments yesterday about serious negotiations in respect of disbarment of militias, and we look forward to that being taken very seriously by all sides, including their sponsors, because it's important that all aspects of the agreement are followed through in a very serious way.

I think it's also important to flag up that a period of stability between now and the elections next year in Lebanon is absolutely essential. There's some redistricting that's going to be done, which will be important that it's done in an appropriate way. But given everything else that’s going on in the Middle East, I think…


The international community in respect of the Israeli-Palestinian discussions. And I think it's conceivable that people will look back on this week as having been quite a significant week in the Middle East.

QUESTION: Well, what do you make of the analysis --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Well, the analysis from some quarters, which I saw twice, in two large newspapers this morning but also elsewhere that, you know, the U.S. is being forced to sit back and watch as its good friends and key partners in the region negotiate with state sponsors and FTOs?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, on Lebanon, let me again ask if these people remember Taif and how the Lebanese civil war was actually ended by Arabs. And in many ways, the very strong partnership that we have had with the Arabs on this on Lebanon, I'm very pleased about that. Because there is a lot of work to do, and when you have regional states with a real investment in something like the Lebanon agreement that was brought about at Doha has a much better chance of actually taking effect.

So on Doha, and as I said, when David hosted the meeting in London, we talked quite a bit about the Arabs taking the lead role here and whether or not there needed to be rather a UN Security Council role. And there was a very strong preference on the part of the Arabs that this Arab initiative be allowed to play out because they believed that they had the best chance of resolving the conflict in Lebanon. And it's turned out to be so.

Now, in terms of the Israeli-Syrian track, as I said, we've been for some time apprised of and kept informed of it. Let's remember that we're the ones who actually invited Syria to Annapolis because we believed that there had to be a strong signal that ultimately a comprehensive peace is going to be good and necessary for the region.

The United States is very pleased to have good allies like Turkey taking a central role in making an effort to bring about a peace in which the basis for terrorism will be undone.

QUESTION: Am I getting a wrong (inaudible)? The Turks were in Annapolis as well.


QUESTION: Was there -- would there be U.S. officials who would steer people away from thinking that maybe that's where this got its genesis?

SECRETARY RICE: It didn't get its genesis there. We knew that it was proceeding. But my point is that the comprehensive peace and the thought that Israel and Syria might be able to negotiate at some point has always been, from our point of view, something that was to be encouraged when the time was right.

What we've wanted to be sure is that the Palestinian track, which is the most mature track, was not somehow disadvantaged by emphasis on the Israeli-Syrian track. And parties -- the Turks, the Israelis -- are very clear that that is not the case here, but that all of these efforts to negotiate peace and ends to conflict could (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible) what little they got out of this deal is all they're really ever going to get? Is that --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY RICE: First of all, I would hope that all of you would swear off the following term: the U.S.-backed Lebanese government. These people were elected by the Lebanese people and they were elected in a majority. They are Lebanese-backed. That's the first point.

Secondly, Hezbollah did contest in the elections last time and they got what they got in terms of the elections. Now, I think the fact that they turned their arms on their own people, according to reporting that I've read in newspapers and the like, going into cafés and putting their AK-47s on the table, has not gone down very well in Lebanon. This is a country that prides itself on being worldly, on having entrepreneurial and strong values of tolerance. And the idea that in the capital you would blockade and turn your guns on your own people, I don't think is going to play very well in Lebanon. And so yes, I think they've been hurt in the long term. I suspect that's why Nasrallah feels he has to speak today. But you know, we should all be very careful about giving to Hezbollah victories that perhaps they didn't get because --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY RICE: I think that Hezbollah got the -- the opposition, not Hezbollah, the opposition, which is not just Hezbollah -- got extra voting power in a national unity government, which, as I said, comes after several very important decisions have already been taken by that government.

All right.



QUESTION: Oh, back on the very first question.


QUESTION: If I'm right, and I think I am, at least I hope I am because I think it's already on the wire, the last time you were on the same plane you were going to Kandahar, right?

SECRETARY RICE: That's right.


SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, this plane.

QUESTION: Yeah. And I don't know if there's much -- I think -- I was trying to draw a contrast, and I guess that it's hard to find a (inaudible) a more -- a bigger contrast in terms of destinations where you're going, but the challenges -- the challenges are different, but they're equally dire or --

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: (Inaudible) the republic of Afghanistan (inaudible) surfing --

QUESTION: The people's republic of California? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: David, I keep telling you, people don't surf in northern California. (Laughter.) Well, some of them do, but only if they don't mind falling into very cold water.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) need a passport to go there, except for the Secretary. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: Except I'm a citizen so I don't need a passport, but I will help you all get through customs.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) you went to (inaudible) don't know whether I should refer (inaudible).

QUESTION: Sure. Why not?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) with you on your trip (inaudible) on the plane to Baghdad, he (inaudible) another quarter (inaudible).

QUESTION: Are you concerned that this is --

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I'm very happy. I'm looking forward to my next trip on this plane. (Laughter.) Jack did something terribly (inaudible). He (inaudible).

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, but it was offered because Jack had some kind of cold or something, so he was --

MR. MCCORMACK: He was recovering from bronchitis. He had (inaudible).

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, and so I slept on the floor. I didn't mind.


SECRETARY RICE: What it does show is the range of issues that we're dealing with in international politics at this point, everything from, you know, trying to help the Afghans build their democratic state after years of civil war. We've been talking about Burma and the challenges there. David and I have just had an extensive discussion about how to help move forward the Palestinian-Israeli track. I think he's going there in a couple of weeks and I will shortly, too. We've talked about Iran. But also, there are a number of issues like climate change, food security and the issues of poverty alleviation that we have equal interest in. And in this case, to be able to see how we can respond technologically to the big change of environment stewardship or the big challenge of environmental stewardship and yet promote economic growth is, you know, very much at the core of what we do.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Let me have another pitch at what I tried to say yesterday at the press conference about American leadership because I think that there is a debate going on in the U.S. about what role it'll play in the world about the agenda both of the next seven or eight months and then the agenda for the new administration. And I think it's really important that Americans sort of learn the right lessons, not the wrong lessons, of the last few years. And I think that the depth of American engagement in a range of places around the world is something the world needs, actually. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees with every decision. We know that from our own country. Foreign policy debates are passionate as well as domestic policy debates.

But I think that it is important that those of us who are committed internationalists come to America and we say that the world needs American leadership, it needs strong American leadership. Because the biggest problems, be they about the Middle East, be they about climate change, be they about international terrorism, be they about peacemaking in some of the most difficult parts of the world, be they about international development and tackling inequality around the world, those need American leadership. Why? Because this country has a critical mass of political, economic, cultural and security power that no one else can match. And I think it's striking that if you think about going to California, I think I'm right in saying if it was a country, it would be the fourth largest economy in the world. It gives you --

SECRETARY RICE: And the seventh largest Olympic --

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: And the seventh largest Olympic team. And it gives you a sense of the scale that we are talking about. And when American money, people and ideas come together, they clean up. I mean, they really do make a major contribution. And that's why I think we're going to see today some of the economic and environmental development. I've always argued that, actually, the way out of this supposed choice between economic growth and environmentalism is to see the economic boom that could come from leading the drive to low carbon. I think that's a big thing, not a small thing.

QUESTION: Do you say this about American leadership because there is some fear in
Britain or that you've noticed elsewhere in Europe that the next administration might somehow pull back from --

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I actually say it for the opposite reason. I say it because I think the people in the U.S. read into what the rest of (inaudible) in the future.

SECRETARY RICE: Let me just add something to that, though, because David said something very important. If you want to solve a problem, you need the Americans with you. And that's extremely important because this doesn't mean that America has to have a monopoly on diplomacy in order to play the role that it needs to play in the international system. And that's what I found a little strange about the questions about how Lebanon evolved, for instance. Why shouldn't it be an Arab League lead with American support and British support and French support? Why shouldn't there have been an African Union lead in working on the Liberian situation with then 100 American Marines who went in to work at a critical time, but Nigerian leadership of the force that they can in to permit the transition that we now know led to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and a democratic Liberian government? Why shouldn't it have been the Turks that were able to quietly have informal discussions between the Israelis and the Syrians? America isn't somehow kept out of these. In fact, our -- both our input and our active engagement is always sought. I can tell you, we are kept plenty busy by all of these.

QUESTION: Your money doesn't hurt, either.


QUESTION: Money. Your money doesn't hurt, either.

SECRETARY RICE: No, it’s not a matter of money. It's a matter of kind of American political weight. But we've tried very hard, and I believe it's extremely important, that we not think of diplomacy as something that Americans do and nobody else does. It requires the effort of -- in particular, of regional institutions. That's why the United States has put an ambassador as the OIC, an ambassador at the AU. It's why we have worked so hard with the Arab League. It takes regional organizations. It takes the longstanding partnerships that we have with Great Britain, with France, with Germany, with NATO, with the EU as a whole, which is a new factor. It takes also sometimes coalitions of the kind that we've put together with the six-party talks to deal with the North Korean issue or with the P-5+1 to deal with the Iranian issue. What you're seeing is multiple geometries, variable geometries, of states that have both an interest and capabilities to bring the right set of incentives and disincentives to solve problems. And the United States is in and active in every one of them, but I have (inaudible) able to do work before something gets to the Security Council, which was the case, by the way, when the North Koreans tested their nuclear device. It was the five parties that organized themselves within hours of the North Korean test, and on that Friday had a unanimous Security Council vote on a Chapter 7 resolution that people said China would never join.

So you need to start -- we need to start to think differently about what America is doing. If we really think that it's just going to be a matter of America charging out there by itself and solving every problem, no problem is going to get solved.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the impression (inaudible) and certainly Americans (inaudible) as you say, that Americans (inaudible) what little they get from abroad is burning flags, you know, Bush is Hitler and this kind of thing (inaudible). (Inaudible) you're saying that that's misunderstood and that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY RICE: (Inaudible) those ten people that showed up in (inaudible) was the huge demonstrations (inaudible)?

QUESTION: Not me. I wasn't at (inaudible).

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: It's a slighty strange conversation. But you see, I think what Condi's saying is diplomacy is not a zero-sum game. We find this in our -- it's important to say that what I think Condi has said is a mark of confidence. It's a mark of confidence that you want others to do things.

Now, we face this in our -- we are confident enough in our relationship with the U.S. that when Paris and France have better relations with America, or Germany has better relations with America, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. It's not a zero-sum game. But there should be relations with the States. We actually all benefit from it. The transatlantic relationship is a relationship that actually benefits from the whole of Europe being engaged with the U.S., not just the UK.

And American leadership, I think, is leadership of ideas. It's leadership in the economy. It's leadership of political weight, which Condi referred to. But that doesn't mean you have to be the spearhead of absolutely everything. And I think that that's -- I think that's just reasonable. And I think the more that we can institutionalize this, the better. And the regional organizations, I think is interesting because it's going to be a big choice for the world in the next 10 or 15 years. Do more organizations emerge -- not the same structures as the EU, but some of the same capacities, whether in Africa or in ASEAN? That will be a good thing because it's an intermediary position between the nation-state and the UN, and I think that's an important part of the future.

MR. MCCORMACK: All right, guys.

SECRETARY RICE: All right. Thank you.


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