OXI ! NO !
Britain admits bi-zonality is a form of partition, which is an unacceptable solution for the Cypriot people
Newly released British Documents for the year 1974 at the Public Records Office.
The British Government gives tacit clearance to Turkey to proceed with invasion
And agrees to blockade the Greeks from helping Cyprus
Following the coup in Cyprus Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit visited London for negotiations with the British Government.
According to the record of conversation on July 17, 1974, between the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary James Callaghan and Mr. Ecevit the latter bluntly asked for the British Government's cooperation to invade Cyprus through the British Sovereign Bases.
Ecevit clearly stated at the time that such the objective of the operation would be to restore the constitutional order overthrown b y the coup of the Greek junta that forced President Makarios to flee the island.
Although the British Government refused to join Turkey in such an operation they promised Ecevit to 'help' by agreeing to prevent Greece from sending assistance to Cyprus. However, the revealing factor in this case is the concealed intention of Turkey to invade and occupy the whole of the island if one considers the location of the British Bases in Cyprus.
The relevant extracts are as follows:
Mr Ecevit, beginning the discussion at the dinner table, said that the events in Cyprus amounted to no ordinary coup d’ etat but constituted a violation of international treaties.
Britain and Turkey, jointly or separately, should state that they did not recognise the new regime and that the old administration must be restored. If Makarios could not return, the Constitutional provisions should apply. As the two guarantors under the 1960 Treaty Britain and Turkey and the United States should warn Greece of the violation of the independence of Cyprus which had taken place, and should ask for the withdrawal of Greek forces under effective UN supervision. There should also be international agreement about effective control in the situation thereafter.
"...There should also be sanctions: a more effective Turkish presence on the island was essential, and Turkey wished to bring this about in co-operation with the British Government as the other guarantor, in order to safeguard both communities. The Turkish Government did not wish to exploit the situation in Cyprus, not did they wish to act alone and create anxieties thereby. The British Government was in a position to help Turkey to achieve this result, and to avoid bloodshed and a confrontation between Greece and Turkey. This could be done by allowing Turkey to send her forces to Cyprus through the British SBAs. He felt that this was a historic moment to use the bases to ensure the independence of Cyprus. Everyone, including the United States and the Soviet Union, would welcome such action which would justify the British military presence. He felt that action of this kind, coupled with a joint statement of British and Turkish objectives, would be a relief to the whole population of Cyprus and also to the population of Greece...The alternative was unilateral action by Turkey, which he felt would be inevitable later if not sooner - later would be worse and bloodier. If Britain were prepared to accept action o these lines, the Turkish authorities would be careful to avoid any embarrassment, by agreement on the deployment of Turkish forces...".
"...The Prime Minister said that he thought that he understood the meaning of Mr. Ecevit's remarks. If the situation of the Turkish community on the island, deteriorated, Turkey would feel it necessary to intervene. But he did not think that the SBAs could be used for that kind of intervention. Mr. Ecevit replied that he could not insist on the point. The bases were not essential for his purpose...The Prime Minister said that he understood Mr. Ecevit's remarks as an expression of the Turkish wish that Britain would not blockade an action of the kind contemplated by Turkey, but that they would blockade the Greeks. Mr. Ecevit asked if Britain would be ready to do so. The Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary said it was not impossible...".
Wilson rejects Caramanlis peace offer
Britain turns down Constantine Caramanlis in line with promise given to Ecevit
After the restoration of democracy in Greece the new Prime Minister K. Karamanlis asked Britain to intervene militarily and to condemn publicly the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
The released documents reveal that the British Government had no intention of going as far as a public statement condemning the Turks and that it was still necessary for them to maintain a degree of even-handidness. On the 28 July 1974 a suggested text of reply from Prime Minister Wilson to Karamanlis was prepared which included the following: " You refer to our right and our power to intervene in order to prevent the generalisation of the conflict. If I am right in interpreting this as a suggestion that HMG should use military force I am bound to say that I cannot believe that this would do otherwise than exacerbate and complicate the situation...I am sure you will agree there can be no question of unilateral British military intervention under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution No.353, which we have all accepted. In the light of your message, I am sending a personal appeal to Mr. Ecevit to ensure that violations of the ceasefire are effectively brought to an end. I am sure that I can look to you to do the same.".
On the 16 August 1974 the Foreign Office informed the Private Secretary at No.10 Downing Street that together with the Americans they had warned the Karamanlis Government that they would not support any Greek military assistance to Cyprus. The Foreign Office document relating to the relevant message given to Mr. Karamanlis reads as follows:
"...There is a real risk that the Greeks will try to send a division by convoy from Crete to Cyprus. We and the Americans have told them that we would not support such action and would not be prepared to guarantee them air protection against the Turkish air force..."
The Turkish Air Force sunk their own destroyer
According to a progress report prepared for the Prime Minister, and whilst the Geneva Conference opened, the Turks were continuing to fan out from Kyrenia, particularly towards the South East. Turkish ships were still arriving in the port but they seemed to contain supplies rather than troop reinforcements. The British estimated that the Turks had by then 10,000 men, 44 tanks and 88 helicopters in Cyprus - they were the strongest land force there. The British in Cyprus were monitoring every movement and knew everything in full detail. The note to the Prime Minister said: "...the Turks are sensitive about our continuing reconnaissance flights over Kyrenia, but we have a legal right to conduct these and have told them so. Meanwhile, Ecevit has thanked us warmly for rescuing 72 Turks from the sea, who were part of the complement of a Turkish destroyer sunk by the Turkish Air Force."
HMS Hermes and company
HMS Hermes with 41 Commando Group embarked was warned off for operations in Cyprus at approximately 2215 16 July 1974. 41 Commando's Advance Party landed in Dhekelia at 1600 20 July 1974. The unit was given the task of securing the ESBA and receiving refugees.
According to various maps in recently released files HMS Hermes was not the only military ship cruising around Cyprus at the time of the Turkish invasion but one of many that actually had Cyprus 'under siege'. The position of some was only known to the United Kingdom and United States Governments.
Callaghan was informed in advance of the second invasion
Foreign Secretary James Callaghan whilst in Geneva was fully informed of the Turkish intentions and mounting preparations for the second invasion. On the 26 July the British Ambassador in Ankara alerted Callaghan for the preparation. On the10 August Air Vice Marshall F. R. L. Mellersh informed Callaghan of the likely Turkish plans. " Military aspects of the present situation - Likely Turkish plans. 1. The Turkish army is looking for an excuse to continue operations. The likely objective is to increase the size of their area to take in the entire East of Cyprus, bounded by a line from five miles east of Morphou, through southern suburbs of Nicosia and along the old Famagusta road to Famagusta. They consider that to achieve this they would launch a ground attack from their present position in the West and in Nicosia, combined with a parachute landing by two battalions in the Chatos enclave and possibly a beach landing in the northern of Famagusta Bay...".
Callaghan in Geneva sought to extract acceptance of geographical federation
Therefore, and although Callaghan knew full well that the Turks in Geneva had no genuine intentions of reaching an agreement, he was working earnestly towards extracting as many concessions as he could from the Greek and GreekCypriot side on behalf of the Turks. Primarily their acceptance to the principle of geographical federation. Flash telegram from UK Mission in Geneva to Foreign and Commonwealth Office dated 12 August read: "... The Turkish Government have tabled ambitious proposals for a clearly defined Turkish Cypriot zone covering 34% per cent of the island and have demanded a constructive reply by midnight. There is evidence, that, unless they receive such a reply, they will walk out of the Geneva conference and take military action in Cyprus early tomorrow morning. Slight prospect of a compromise and we are working on Clerides to table a counter draft which would at least concede the principle of geographical separation..."
On the 13 August Callaghan sent the following telegram to London. It read: " This morning Clerides handed Denktash a counter-proposal which, while it conceded administrative autonomy and some grouping of Turkish villages, excluded the possibility of a geographical zone or of population movements. I told Clerides and Mavros that this would not, in my judgement, satisfy the Turks. They had to face the reality that there would be no United States military pressure, that UNFICYP would not oppose the Turkish forces and that, as a result, there was no prospect of external help against Turkish aggression. I urged them to produce a counter-proposal which at least conceded the principle of geographical separation. Clerides said that he could not do so from Geneva: Greek Cypriot opinion was not ready and Makarios, with whom he spoke yesterday, would certainly disavow it. They agreed to fly to Athens and Nicosia to discuss the principle with their colleagues and to return tomorrow night a clear answer..."
However, as Callaghan knew very well, the Turks were not interested in agreeing to anything. They intended to attack and occupy more territory leaving the negotiating for later...
On the 13 August Callaghan read to Gl. Clerides and G. Mavros a draft agreement he had prepared for signature by Clerides and Denktash in the event of compromise. His draft referred to a fundamental revision of the constitutional structure of the Republic of Cyprus, , to a federal government with a bi-communal nature of two autonomous administrations operating in appropriately defined geographical areas.
R. Denktash surprised them by producing his own proposal for a clear bizonal bicommunal federation.
According to the British released documents Turkish Foreign Secretary Gunes' plan for six cantons presented at the Geneva conference on the 12 August was the result of pressure by Dr. H. Kissinger who originally disagreed with the bi-regional federation, or bi-zonal federation and which London was promoting together with the Turks. Therefore Denktash's move to follow the next day 'with his own plan' for bizonal bicommunal federation reflected much better the real Turkish objectives. The talks broke down on the 14 August followed by the second Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
The geographical solution of "biregional federation"
On the 16 August 1974 the Foreign Office official Mr. A. C. Goodison, noted the following:
" It is important that we should avoid any suggestion that in favouring the geographical separation of the two communities as the most viable solution of the Cyprus problem, we are working for the partition of the island. Partition has a bad name internationally. It would also be contrary to our obligations, both under the 1960 Settlement and as a fellow-member with Cyprus of the Commonwealth and the United Nations. I recommend that we should use the term "bioregional federation". We should reserve the term 'cantonal federation' for Mr. Gunes's proposal involving more than one area for each community..."
The British policy at 'stage III' (after both Turkish invasions)
Clerides was 'their man'
On the same day in a separate note the Foreign Office records the following:
" Building up Mr. Clerides. The chances of a radical settlement in Cyprus depend on having Clerides rather than Makarios at Stage III. The Secretary of State has already embarrassed Makarios by moving him towards stating his terms before we resume in Geneva' this line could perhaps be developed to Clerides' benefit. But there is not much we can do about this. The danger of a declaration of enosis was greatest on 14 August; we should take no preventive action against this unless we have some indication that it is contemplated. We do not want to suggest that ideas of this kind are current, given the assurances of the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots at Geneva. We must also encourage the Greeks to continue to help Clerides by removing undesirable Greek influences from Cyprus. We must do what we can to discourage reprisals against the Turkish Cypriot community outside the Turkish zone... We should stick to the Secretary of State's line that the Turks have a case even though their methods are regrettable.
Constraining the Turks. It would suit our strategy if the Turkish armed forces ended up with 25/30 per cent rather than 40 per cent of the island. But they cannot be negotiated with in their present self-confident mood. We should therefore do what we can to make them more amenable by stage III. The particularly difficult problem will be the possible enforced transfer of the Greek Cypriots from the Turkish occupied zone. In one sense this could facilitate the bi-regional federal solution; on the other hand it would increase the danger of reprisals against Turkish Cypriots...".
23 September 1974. During a meeting between Foreign Secretary James Callaghan and his Greek counterpart G. Mavros the former said that it was clear that Turkey would insist on the division of Cyprus into two zones and asked whether the Greek Government and President Makarios would accept such a solution so long as there was a central federal Government. Asked (by Mr. Tsounis) as to why the Archbishop should commit himself at that stage Mr. Callaghan said it was desirable in order to achieve a sense of realism and to give support to Mr. Clerides".
Between the period of September and end of November 1974 the British Government went out of its way in order to secure support for Mr. Gl. Clerides at the forthcoming Athens meeting set to take place end of November beginning of December between Makarios, Karamanlis, Clerides and others. The meeting was crucial for the pursued policy by London and Clerides. Archbishop Makarios was to be pressured into giving written consent for Clerides to negotiate on a basis of geographical federation. Otherwise Clerides threatened with resignation. The Turks insisted on a public acceptance by the GreekCypriots of a solution based on geographical federation.
The 'Argo' speech
And it was in this context that Gl. Clerides on the 6 November 1974 dared to support publicly at the 'Argo'gallery in Nicosia the concept of a solution based on geographical federation. He said in his speech: "... What are the prospects of a solution to the Cyprus problems through negotiations without any illusions? First. Any thought that it is now possible for any solution to emerge on the basis of a unitary state is outside reality because Turkey would certainly not agree to discuss such a solution. If in the past there had been a possibility of finding a solution based on a unitary state/local autonomy for the Turks there is not such a possibility now. Second. Since the state cannot be unitary, the only solution that can now merge is that of a federal state. Such a solution can take various forms. It can be a cantonal solution through the creation of a number of cantons in which the Turks will be in the majority. This will be the best solution for us. The only solution can also be geographical federation based on two regions corresponding to the population ratio...".
On the 15 November 1974 James Callaghan sent the following oral message to Clerides.
" I understand that you will be going to Athens soon for a meeting with Karamanlis and Makarios. I realise how important this will be for your own political future and for the future of the Clerides/Denktash talks. I also appreciate how sensitive an issue the Archbishop's return is and, for your own information only, I shall be advising the Archbishop to consider postponing it. I sincerely hope that you will be able to secure the support of Karamanlis and of the Archbishop for your own pragmatic approach to a long term solution. You should know that I hope to see the Archbishop on 21 November and that, if Karamanlis is successful in the lections, we shall be sending a message to him, stressing the importance we both attach to giving support and substance to your talks with Denktash. I greatly welcomed your recent observation that some form of geographical federation is inevitable. As you know, my own firm conviction is that the Turks will insist on a bi-regional geographical solution. While I fully appreciate the difficulty about accepting this publicly, I am sure that you are right at the very least not to exclude it...We shall be doing our best to impress this on Archbishop Makarios...".
Glafkos Clerides according to numerous British documents was an ardent supporter of the bi-zonal federation from the early stages knowing full well that that was the desired Turkish goal. That was the reason the British Government was standing by him and doing everything possible in terms of influence and persuasion to secure the Archbishop's agreement. Such an agreement would give Clerides a free hand to proceed on the desired basis.
The following extract from a telegram sent to FCO by the British High Commissioner in Nicosia is indicative enough:
" Neither my American colleague nor I have the slightest indication of any Turkish wavering on bi-zonal federation as the basis for a Cyprus settlement. This has been reaffirmed to me recently by both Denktash and the Turkish charge here. Crawford denies having suggested to Christophides that the Americans had information to the contrary: He has indeed been doing his best to bring Christohides round to a realistic acceptance of bi-zonal federation as the only solution likely to be accepted by the Turks. He has, however, had discussions with both Christophides and Clerides ( as have I also) about the possibility of a multi-cantonal variant of bi-zonal federation. This would not be the functional federalism which I believe the Archbishop to favour...it would instead be essentially bi-zonal with Turkish retention of a northern zone stretching notionally from Panagra and Myrtou in the east to Famagusta in the east...as a negotiating gambit this would, for the Greeks, have the advantage of softening the stark outlines of bi-zonality, and it would have a marginally better chance of acceptance by the Turks than straight functional federalism...I understand that Clerides still hopes that Makarios can be persuaded by himself and Karamanlis at the Athens meeting not to return to Cyprus for the present. But if this attempt fails, as seems likely, Clerides would concentrate on getting the Archbishop's signature to a formula which might include an agreement that Clerides should initially negotiate with Denktash for a brief period on the basis of a multi-cantonal solution, but if this made no progress, should then be free to switch to a full bi-zonal federation. An essential feature would be the Archbishop's signed agreement to back a Clerides negotiation on this basis...A major objective at the present stage must however be to keep Clerides in play...".
On another telegram dated 26 November Olver wrote: "... On the form of a settlement, Clerides agreed that a bi-zonal federation was still the Turkish aim:..He proposed to work in Athens for a protocol in which this was the first negotiating gambit, but it was agreed to revert to a bi-zonal solution if this got nowhere".
Lord Caradon launches the 'Friends of Cyprus' organisation and consults the Foreign Office
Early in September 1974 Sir Hugh Foot (Lord Caradon) launches the 'Friends of Cyprus' organisation and the same day has a meeting with the Foreign Office. They told him that they believed " the right solution is a bi-regional federal Cyprus. If we were to come out with this publicly and formally, it would, at this stage at any rate, risk others (particularly Makarios) stating their opposition to it equally publicly and formally. Clerides and Denktash both accept such an approach. It is premature to return to a Geneva-type conference...to do all we can in terms of quiet diplomacy to facilitate it. We hope to avoid other initiatives which will distract from it.".
The Kissinger factor
Dr. Kissinger originally preferred a solution based on the 1960 treaty
According to a telegram the British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan sent to Prime Minister Wilson from New York, Kissinger (before the invasion) is recorded to support a constitutional solution on the basis of the 1960 Treaty. It reads as follows:
" Kissinger stressed that he did not want to see a resolution to day at all. He was quite happy to have a meeting of the Council tomorrow at which Makarios could make a statement. But before any substantive move in the Council he hoped you would agree to get the Greeks and Turks together in London perhaps on Sunday, and try to work out a constitutional solution on the basis of the 1960 Treaty. The United States would give its full support and would join us in presenting a proposal on which a security council resolution could then be based. I asked what kind of constitutional solution he had in mind. He though we might try to shape it so that an acceptable alternative both to Sampson and Makarios could be agreed upon, for instance, Clerides. In fact this might mean the Greeks giving up Sampson, and ourselves and the Turks abandoning Makarios. For the Turks this should be no great sacrifice as they had never trusted him... Kissinger was clearly troubled that we might be committing ourselves too far without being able to calculate the longer-term consequences. He asked me to convey these further reflections to you at once, emphasising his deep concern...".
According to the British newly released documents a new picture is emerging vis-‡-vis the role of Dr. Henry Kissinger. The documents reveal that contrary to what had been promoted since 1974 the real driving force behind the events and policies was indeed the British Government all along and not the Americans. Dr. Kissinger in many ways followed the British. The documents show disagreements over the Cyprus issue and particularly the solution. For instance before the Turkish invasion Kissinger supported a solution based on the 1960 Treaty but preferred Clerides to Makarios or Sampson. And it was only after the invasion that he showed preference to cantons but yet not to bi-zonal federation. The documents reveal that bi-zonal federation had been accepted by Kissinger on the strong insistence of the British Government.
On the 16 November 1974 Henry Kissinger wrote a letter to James Callaghan informing him of his talk with Makarios on the 13th and assured Callaghan that they (USA) supported the bi-zonal concept as being the only practicable. It read:
"...In our discussion of the future of Cyprus, I told Makarios that in my view any solution would have to be based on a geographical federation and that only a bi-zonal arrangement would be acceptable. He is reluctantly beginning to accept the idea of a federation, but he insists that there must be a multiplicity of cantons under a strong central government. I understand that since our meeting, Makarios has let it be known that the US still holds open the idea of a multi-cantonal arrangement. I want to assure you that we support the bi-zonal concept as being the only practicable arrangement and on this I think we are in complete agreement.
The clouds however, over what actually Kissinger told Makarios did not go away. The British came to the conclusion that Makarios could not have invented everything. Another extract from a minute by the South East European Department of the Foreign Office read as follows:
" There is clearly some confusion over the views of the American Government. Makarios, mistakenly or mischievously, believes that Kissinger accepts and indeed wishes to promote a multi-cantonal solution, and has convinced the Greeks of this interpretation of the American position. Dr. Kissinger in his letter of 16 November to the Secretary of State says specifically " I told Makarios that in my view any solution would have to be based on a geographical federation and that only a bi-zonal arrangement would be acceptable. However Mr. Ramsbotham's telegram 3729 (British Ambassador in Washington) of 16 November reporting his conversation with Dr. Kissinger puts the point a little more ambiguously. For example " he (Dr. Kissinger) had been careful not to say flatly (to Makarios) that the bi-regional solution was the preferred American one". We hope to clarify the American position in a further conversation...".
In Brussels in December 1974 Dr. Kissinger with the consent of the British Government promoted the restart of political talks between Clerides and Denktash but without preconditions as to the solution...
The diary of events
15 July 1974 - Military coup in Cyprus
17 July 1974 - President Makarios and Mr. Bulent Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey, arrive in London. The former is received as President of Cyprus. They both have meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Callaghan asks Makarios if he wanted to see B. Ecevit. Makarios declined saying that there were so many GreekCypriots in London he preferred to see them. Press reports speak of massive Turkish Army build-up. According a high NATO official, members of NATO at a Council meeting voiced 'broad support for the elected regime of President Makarios and the territorial integrity of the island of Cyprus.
18 July 1974 - President Makarios flies to New York to address UN. The Security Council acknowledges him as President. Mr. Sisco, U.S. under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, arrives in London. He meets Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Ecevit, who later leaves for Ankara. Mr. Kissinger flies to California.
19 July 1974 - President Makarios speaks to the Security Council alleging the Coup was organised by the Greek Military Regime,. U.S. ambassador Scali says this is an issue still to be determined, and warns against a power vacuum in Cyprus if Greek Officers are permanently removed. The Security Council adjourns without a decision.
The Turkish fleet sails from Mersin. Mr. Sisco goes from London to Athens to Ankara.
20 July 1974 - Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The UN Security Council unanimously calls for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of all foreign military personnel and the opening of negotiations.
21 July 1974 - Mr. Kissinger in Washington. Mr. Sisco returns to Athens. Negotiations for a ceasefire.
22 July 1974 - Turkey and Greece accept ceasefire from 1400 GMT. After the fall of Kyrenia Mr. Ecevit is reported as stating it will now remain "forever Turkish".
23 July 1974 - Collapse of Junta in Greece. Mr. Constantine Karamanlis is called on to return and become Prime Minister. Nicos Sampson resigns, Mr. Glafkos Clerides is sworn in as President.
24 July 1974 - Mr. Karamanlis is sworn in as Prime Minister of Greece.
25 July 1974 - First Geneva Conference opens. Turks continue to build=-up in Cyprus.
26 July 1974 - Turkish army continues to advance, captured Bellapais and had doubled area under its control since the cease fire.
28 July 1974 - Mr. George Mavros Greek F. Minister states that there was no question of Enosis and Greek Government requests special meetings of the Security Council and NATO Council in view of ceasefire violations.
29 July 1974 - Turkish Commanders ordered UN out of Kyrenia area. Continued reports of landing of Turkish tanks and troops.
30 July 1974 - Geneva Declaration signed, reaffirming ceasefire and establishing Un buffer zone. Ceasefire liens to be identified by 4-man military commission. Second Geneva Conference called for 8th August to consider constitutional issues.
31 July 1974 - UN confirms Turkish Army broken Geneva ceasefire by shelling Karavas and Lapithos.
4 August 1974 - A Turkish advance continues with daily fighting.
6 August 1974 - Lapithos, Karavas and Vasilia finally captured. Colonel Chakar, Turkish member of 4-man commission says that the attack does not violate the ceasefire because it is "mopping up small pockets of resistance".
8 August 1974 - Second round of Geneva talks begin.
9 August 1974 - Agreement on ceasefire lines is signed in Nicosia. At Geneva Turkey demands regional federation with more territory for Turkish Cypriots up to 34%. More than the Turkish Army already had captured.
13 August 1974 - Mr. Ecevit gave 24 hours to Greece to accept the Turkish proposals at Geneva.
14 August 1974 - 0200. Geneval talks break down. Mr. Callaghan requests meeting of UN and blames Turkey for not permitting 36 hours adjournment for consultation. 0500 major attack by Turkish army on a broad front.
15 August 1974 - State Department spokesman criticizes Turkey for invasion and says US will cut off arms to both Greece and Turkey if they go to war. Karamanlis announces Greece will not go to war but is withdrawing from military side of NATO.
16 August 1974 - Turkish army completes capture of Famagusta, and consolidates along 'Attila Line'. The British Foreign Office in co-operation with Gl. Clerides starts its adamant campaign in favour of the Turkish demand for bi-regional federation i.e. the bi-zonal bi-communal federation.
These are the most important revelations of the newly released documents. It should be noted that the most important documents relating to the coup (reports and FCO minutes) have been carefully retained as well as other documents. Also the Prime Minister's office was very unusually removing documents from selected files as late as days before their release.
Cyprus Weekly January 7-13 2005
OXI ! NO !
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