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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
35 - 93
94 - 108
Panel I: "The role of the Palestine Liberation Organization"
37. The Palestinians constituted a people fully entitled to self-determination. The Palestinians also had the right to strive for the restoration of their rights by all means, particularly since many peoples had exercised that inalienable right and had been able to attain their independence during the time in which the Palestinian people had been exiled from its homeland and robbed of its resources, wealth and the various constituent factors of its economic and social life.
38. In May 1964, the establishment of the PLO had been proclaimed. It was to mobilize the potentials of the Palestinian people for the liberation of its land. The merging of all the Palestinian national forces within the framework of the PLO and the stepping up of the political and armed struggle against the occupation had led to the emergence of new dynamics for national liberation in the form of mass organizations and federations comprising all sectors of the Palestinian people. Institutions had been also established for social and productive services, and the PLO had begun to be transformed from an organization merely expressing the aspirations of the Palestinian people into an organization striving for the liberation of the land and energetically incorporating the hopes and aspirations of that people.
39. The PLO had received Arab recognition as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people at the 1974 Arab Summit. It had received legal recognition successively from 117 States of the world by 1983 and from many international and regional organizations. Its international legal status had received the ultimate ratification by virtue of United Nations General Assembly resolutions 3210 (XXIX) and 3237 (XXIX), which conferred on it the status of observer at sessions of the General Assembly. It was also accorded the right to attend meetings of the Security Council when questions relating to the situation in the Middle East were discussed. It had achieved full membership in the League of Arab States, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
40. The foundation of the PLO had represented the first step towards the Palestinian people's restoration of its national identity and its unity through the joint resolve to protect its rights. Although the Palestinian people had lost its societal unity, its struggle, under the leadership of the PLO, had been a practical demonstration of the truth that that people had an affiliation with a specific homeland and a specific culture and that its struggle on the various levels would continue until that feeling of belonging acquired through the resistance was transformed into an actual fully fledged social and national affiliation with the land of Palestine, where Palestinian national sovereignty would be exercised. In addition to the burdens borne by the PLO against zionism and United States schemes in the region, it had also fallen to it to bear the economic and social problems faced by the Palestinian people, whether living in exile or under occupation.
41. The state of the economy of the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 was distinguished by the fact that the circumstances of the areas under settler-colonialist military occupation were characterized by features not found in other occupation experiences in the twentieth century. The authorities had proceeded to follow a multifaceted policy, including terrorization, humiliation and oppression of the population by all available means, forced emigration of Palestinians and fragmentation of their social, cultural, economic and political structure.
42. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories had taken the form not merely of expansion for security reasons but expansion and settler-colonialist occupation aimed at enslaving another people, exploiting its wealth and turning it into a consumer market for the Israeli economy. As a result of Israeli economic policies, the occupied Palestinian territories had become an extensive and convenient market for Israeli industrial and agricultural products.
43. The very existence of the economy in the occupied Palestinian territories was under threat from the occupation authorities. All forms of discrimination were employed with a view to strangling the Palestinian economy and reducing it to a subordinate status so that it might later be made completely dependent on the Israeli economy and the way thus be paved for the process of final annexation of those territories.
44. The retention of territory and preservation of the Palestinian population were among the most important objectives on which the Palestinian revolution, represented by the PLO, had based its action. The PLO was aware that that had been possible only through support for the steadfastness of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.
45. The PLO had adopted a number of principal guidelines for its economic and social development efforts on behalf of the occupied Palestinian territories. Those guidelines were:
(a) To curtail migration out of the occupied territories, whether such migration was permanent or temporary for the purposes of study or employment;
(b) To reduce pressure and incentives tending to impel Palestinian workers to work in Israeli businesses;
(c) To improve the qualifications of citizens and equip them with patriotic consciousness, as well as to provide them with the most comprehensive skills at all levels, in order that the Palestinian human barrier might be qualitatively superior rather than simply superior in numerical terms.
46. The efforts of the PLO to support national steadfastness had encountered a number of obstacles, particularly with respect to the occupation authorities, which had deliberately taken various measures to prevent the delivery of support funds from whatever source on the pretext that such funds were provided by the PLO. However, the real reasons for such measures had to be seen in the attempts of the authorities to thwart any endeavour towards development in the occupied territories and to crush any attempt designed to enable the Palestinian people to maintain its steadfastness. The occupation authorities thus hoped to deprive the people of the material resources required for such steadfastness and thereby to induce them to emigrate.
47. The PLO's efforts in the field of economic and social development for the Palestinian people had not been confined to the service sectors but had also extended to production sectors. Outside the occupied homeland, the PLO had carried out an experiment which was unique for national liberation movements. The experiment related to the Society of the Sons of the Palestinian Martyrs (SAMED), which had been founded in 1970. It served as a public sector and a nucleus for a national economy which endeavoured to attain various noble and ambitious objectives.
48. The organization had satisfactorily withstood the complicated challenges arising from its commitments to its people, since it had been able to incorporate economic and social development into the totality of its activities in the struggle for restoration of the Palestinian people's national rights.
Panel II: "The International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, the need for such a Conference and efforts and prospects to promote a successful outcome and benefits thereof"
49. Participants stressed that the world community's concern had continued to grow over the current situation in the Middle East which was dangerously threatening international security. Military force, put at stake to solve the conflict, had fully discredited itself. A time when an aggressor, relying on its temporal military advantage and supported by a powerful ally, could terrorize neighbouring countries, seize their territories, deprive a whole nation of its legitimate right to live in a politically independent State - inevitably had passed.
50. The very nature of the Middle East conflict, the close relationship between different aspects of the Middle East problem and intertwining interests of many parties and States made a settlement through collective efforts imperative. Mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues that took into account the rights and interests of all the parties could be found only at the conference table. Peace in the Middle East could best be achieved through a comprehensive settlement that would cover all aspects of the conflict, including the question of Palestine.
51. Considering and solving major fundamental problems, including regional conflicts, on the basis of a new political way of thinking was a characteristic feature and an imperative need of the present time. A new way of thinking and a suitable foreign policy had to be based on a realistic analysis of the situation and on taking into account the diverse nature of the forces and contradictions which shaped international politics and considerably influenced the emergence of conflict situations.
52. Despite persistent efforts of the world community to achieve a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the conflict, that objective continued to be elusive and the plight of the Palestinian people remained a matter of acute international concern. The recurrence of violent incidents had continued to exacerbate tension and put further obstacles in the search for peace. As a result of that and the lack of a political solution, most Palestinian lived under occupation or in exile. Many of them existed under conditions of extreme tension, hardship and insecurity.
53. In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly had adopted resolution 181 (II), which recommended the creation of two States, an Arab State and a Jewish State, which had been implemented so far only to the extent of the creation of the State of Israel. One of the foremost commitments of the international community was to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people, including its right of return, to self-determination and to the creation of its own State in Palestine.
54. In that connection it was strongly reaffirmed that the question of Palestine was at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Over the years, an international consensus had emerged on the necessity for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the problem. That consensus had been defined in the Geneva Declaration on Palestine adopted by the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in 1983, and affirmed in General Assembly resolution 38/58 C of 13 December 1983 and subsequent resolutions calling for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
55. Recent times had seen an intensification of the international campaign for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as a peaceful alternative for arriving at an acceptable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. That conflict had reached alarming proportions with Israel's occupation of all the territories of Palestine and other Arab territories, following the aggression of June 1967, its invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and its refusal to comply with the international will by full and complete withdrawal.
56. There was no doubt that multilateralism - not bilateralism - would ensure fair representation at the proposed Conference and provide the necessary balance, impartiality and even-handedness. Direct bilateral negotiations, as learned from past experience, could not secure the lasting comprehensive peace needed. They would only legitimize Israel's military superiority in the Middle East and, in fact, cripple peace talks even before they had begun. Only multilateralism could guarantee an open dialogue on all the issues relating to the Middle East problem, without prejudice to any one of the concerned parties to the conflict.
57. The view was expressed that from the normative/legal approach, two basic notions could be available. First, there could only be two alternatives in a situation, a state of war or a state of peace, and in no real way could these two incompatible states coexist, either spatially or temporally. In spatial terms, that meant that the United Nations had to mobilize all resources to achieve world peace and security or else mankind would face inevitable chaos. In temporal terms, it meant that peace and war could alternate, but there could be no middle ground between them. Thus, trust could not be put in the no-war/no-peace situations prevailing in many parts of the globe and they could not be regarded as a satisfactory or acceptable condition of life.
58. It was evident that the approach to achieve peace based on Israel's conditions had failed. There were signs that a deep concern has grown over that fact in Israel itself where public support for the convening of an international conference was increasing. The very fact that the question of the possibility of holding an international conference on the Middle East had been discussed in the Knesset, witnessed the process of demarcation in that country. It seemed that Israel could no longer afford to ignore the mounting international consensus in support of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
59. The Seminar noted that there was a difference between the concept of an International Peace Conference aimed at the attainment of a comprehensive, peaceful settlement including participation by the PLO, and the concept of an international conference as a mere vehicle to initiate separate direct negotiations, which excluded the PLO, a principal party to the conflict, and therefore was completely unacceptable.
60. The Conference now enjoyed almost universal support, dominated the contemporary political scene and had become an unavoidable point of reference in any plan that touched the Palestinian question. Irrespective of that privileged international status, however, as long as the present circumstances persisted, the initiative would not attain the phase where it would become a workable project, unless Israel and the United States were induced to participate positively in carrying it out.
61. The ongoing imbalance in the correlation of forces in the Middle East had hardened. The Conference, in serving as a neutral moderator, could provide balance and soften the inflexible stance of the parties involved in the conflict. It was clear that the aggrieved party, the Palestinians and the Arabs, could not be expected to submit to peace on Israeli terms, while the Israelis might not accept certain proposals made by the Arab side either. But both sides could conceivably yield to the United Nations for moral and political considerations. That alone made an international forum a necessary imperative for substantive negotiations and the subsequent implementation of a just and equitable peace.
62. It was stressed that the PLO should be an equal participant in the Conference as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian problem could not be solved without the participation of the PLO. The permanent members of the Security Council and other countries that had participated actively in the efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict might also be considered for participation. The Conference should be convened without any pre-conditions. It was agreed that only the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, which had been asked to facilitate the organization of the Conference, could provide a legal and political framework acceptable to the international community that would make it possible for negotiations to proceed with full respect for internationally recognized principles. Only an International Peace Conference organized under the aegis of the United Nations could make it possible to go beyond the narrow strategic interests and the national concern of various States. Agreements concluded at such a Conference could thus enjoy universal legitimacy and be implemented and applied in a manner acceptable to all the parties.
63. The holding of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East reflected the political will of the international community. It had been supported from the very beginning by the PLO, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Socialist countries and other important forces in international life. More recently, the States Members of the European Economic Community as well as the Nordic countries had declared their support for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. At its recent session the Political Consultative Committee of the States Members to the Warsaw Treaty had voiced its support for the convening of the Conference.
64. Participants emphasized the urgent need for additional concrete and constructive efforts by all Governments in order to convene the Conference without further delay and supported the call for setting up a preparatory committee, within the framework of the Security Council, with the participation of the permanent members of the Council, to take the necessary action to convene the Conference.
65. In that regard the Seminar took note of the report of the United Nations Secretary-General (A/42/277-S/18849) on his consultations with the members of the Security Council and representatives of the parties directly concerned on the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East as called for by the General Assembly. The participants in the Seminar endorsed the Secretary-General's observation and, in particular, fully supported his determination to continue his efforts to establish a process that would lead to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
66. The possibility of convening the Conference and its successful work depended to a great extent upon the unity and co-ordination of the Arab States - the parties to the conflict. It was stressed that the PLO had proven to be a real force which had to be taken into consideration. It had managed to find solutions to numerous organizational problems and worked out its political platform as witnessed by the results of the eighteenth session of the Palestine National Council. The documents adopted at Algiers stressed the importance of unity in the ranks of the Palestinians on a national basis and expressed support for holding an International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
67. The participants in the Seminar appreciated the increasingly active participation of NGOs in furthering the objectives of the United Nations on the question of Palestine. NGOs had, at the annual United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine since 1984, repeatedly expressed their support for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations as specified in General Assembly resolution 38/58 C and had declared their readiness to work towards that objective.
68. The proposal was made that with the institutional support of NGOs and other similar entities, pro-Peace Conference committees, at local and national levels could be set up, particularly where the idea had encountered rejection or hostility. Those committees could strive to mobilize public opinion in favour of the Conference. The goal of such campaigns would be to influence Governments by pertinent ways and means and to persuade them into adopting a favourable attitude toward the Conference as well as to the solution of the Palestinian question.
Panel III: "The question of Palestine and Asian public opinion"
69. The Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict had remained in the forefront of the public opinion as one of the major issues faced by the world. The reason for the intense preoccupation of the international community with that question were the moral and ethical issues it raised in regard to the use of force and military power to deprive a whole people of its land and the wars that it had caused in the region, the threat it posed to world peace and the instability which it sustained in an extremely sensitive region of the world.
70. It was agreed that, generally, public opinion was becoming an increasingly important factor in influencing the formation of national policies on international and regional issues and, in particular, on issues of international peace and security. Public opinion, therefore, had to be mobilized to strengthen the voice of reason, justice and objectivity in world affairs with a view to making the world safer to the benefit of mankind.
71. Regarding the question of Palestine, it was shown that public opinion was an important and fundamental element with a potential to contribute to, and to be utilized in, bringing peace to the Middle East based on a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its core, the question of Palestine. It was necessary to promote a deeper understanding for and awareness of the question of Palestine in all its complexity.
72. It was agreed that the formation of informed public opinion on any issue or set of issues was not an easy or automatic process. Public opinion formation was an area of prime concern for those groups and individuals who were deeply involved in matters relating to the Middle East and who were, in particular, deeply concerned for the future of the Palestinian people and who were involved in the struggle to see that the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood in its own land should come about in the near future.
73. The international system of information, generally dominated by the Western media, played an important role in the formation of public opinion. It emphasized division among the Palestinians, internal conflict and "Arab terrorism" and reported less frequently what was happening within the occupied Arab territories, the daily oppression and life under occupation and the consequences of the implementation of the policy of settlements. Public opinion in Asia, as elsewhere, needed a clearer depiction of the Palestine question in order to encourage positive attitudes and to strengthen the support of the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people.
74. It was particularly emphasized that more objective information was needed on the activities to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in conformity with United Nations resolutions, so that Asian public opinion could play a forceful role in contributing to the initiation of a process leading to a solution to the conflict.
75. The Seminar heard accounts of the supportive role of public opinion in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Viet Nam. Although it was difficult to discuss Asian public opinion in general because of the region's cultural, socio-economic and political diversities, it was recalled that the plight of the Palestinian people was one that was viewed with profound sympathy by the Asian peoples and Governments, especially among members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. There had been support for the struggle of the Palestinian people from the earlier stages of independence of the Asian countries themselves which had experienced colonial domination, oppression and exploitation.
76. It was emphasized that the support and sympathy of the Asian and African nations towards the struggle of the Palestinians had been engraved in the Final Communiqué of the Asian and African Conference in Bandung in 1955, which included the following:
77. It was recalled that Asian countries were favourably disposed towards the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and that their support should be used by Asian public opinion to assist in removing the remaining obstacles in the path of convening the Conference and to contribute to a deeper understanding of the urgent need to promote the beginning of a negotiating process that would lead to peace in the Middle East.
78. The point was also made that particular attention should henceforth be directed towards those forces that were still not sufficiently supportive of the just cause of the Palestinian people so as to correct the misperception and distortion on the question of Palestine and its root causes. In the contemporary world it was highly anomalous that the Palestinian people should be denied the exercise of its inalienable national right to self-determination, enjoyed by other peoples.
79. The Seminar recalled that the year 1987 marked several anniversaries: the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the Balfour Declaration, the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (II), the twentieth anniversary of the 1967 war and the resulting occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Sabra and Shatila, which could be utilized by the media, NGOs and the public at large to promote the necessary political will by the Governments concerned to achieve peace.
80. It was important that the media should play a more responsive role in providing a more balanced reporting on the Middle East and, in particular, on the plight of the Palestinians. Institutions such as United Nations Associations, universities, colleges, research institutes, churches and other religious establishments as well as national and international NGOs had a crucial role to play in the formation of public opinion. Those institutions and organizations had to be urged to give wider coverage and more balanced treatment to the question of Palestine.
81. Seminars and symposia organized by the United Nations were a pressing necessity for the Asian region. Through those means NGOs could be sensitized. Special consideration had also to be given to wider observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which had been established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/65 D to be 29 November each year, and the occasion had to be taken to give maximum coverage to the question of Palestine.
82. Every effort had to be made to step up the widespread dissemination of information, as one of the major contributions to the achievement of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights had an important role in such dissemination of information. Furthermore, the United Nations Department of Public Information was requested to make every effort to ensure that accurate information on the question of Palestine received the widest possible dissemination.
Panel IV: "The United Nations and the question of Palestine"
83. The evolution of the question of Palestine was intertwined with the evolution of the United Nations. It was a reflection of the reality that the issues which lay beneath the tragedy of the Palestinian people went to the very heart of the principles upon which the United Nations was founded: respect for the dignity of peoples and the sovereignty of States and the pursuit of peaceful relations and co-operation among nations and peoples.
84. On 29 November 1947, resolution 181 (II) had been adopted by the General Assembly. The resolution provided for the establishment of two States, one Arab and one Jewish. Jerusalem was to be a corpus separatum under a special international régime, economic unity and safeguard of the fundamental rights were to be ensured. Following the establishment of Israel and during the events that had taken place in the years to follow, the United Nations had been increasingly preoccupied with and involved in the problem.
85. The Arab-Israeli war of 1967 had been a turning point in the struggle of the Palestinian people for its rights. Israel had occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. The second great Arab exodus had taken place, and thousands of Palestinians were now uprooted from their homes, some of them for the second time. The United Nations Security Council had secured a cease-fire and adopted resolution 242 (1967) which emphasized the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
86. Beginning in 1969 and in the years to come, the General Assembly had recognized " that the problem of the Palestinian Arab refugees has arisen from the denial of their inalienable rights" and that "full respect for the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine was an indispensable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East". In 1974, those rights had been defined by the Assembly as the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty and to return to their homes.
87. On 10 November 1975, the General Assembly had established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Committee's recommendations had been repeatedly approved by the General Assembly since 1976. In its recommendations, the Committee had laid down a programme which would give effect to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian peoples. As was known, the United States as one of the permanent members of the Security Council had prevented the Council from following up those recommendations.
88. The International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held at Geneva from 19 August to 7 September 1983, had adopted the Geneva Declaration on Palestine and also approved the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights. The Declaration had called for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation on an equal footing of all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the PLO as a well as the United States and the USSR and other concerned States.
89. The General Assembly, at its thirty-eighth session in resolution 38/58 C, had endorsed the Declaration on Palestine as well as the call for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with realistic and acceptable guidelines. At its thirty-ninth, fortieth and forty-first sessions, the General Assembly had reaffirmed its endorsement of the call for the convening of the Conference and reiterated its conviction that such a step would constitute a major contribution by the United Nations towards the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict through the collective efforts of all parties concerned.
90. Another major contribution towards the convening of the Conference had been the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of resolution 41/43 D. The resolution endorsed the call for setting up a preparatory committee within the framework of the Security Council with the participation of the permanent members of the Council to take the necessary action to convene the Conference. That proposal had gained strong support from the international community as a practical step to facilitate the preparation of the Conference.
91. The United Nations carried out various activities related to the question of Palestine. They included the continued maintaining of the United Nations peace-keeping operations in the Middle East and activities of and initiatives taken by the Secretary-General, as well as the work of such bodies as the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Human Rights, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The right of the Palestinian people over Palestine had been repeatedly and unequivocally recognized in resolutions adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. It had also been a major concern of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices.
92. Economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people was also one of the activities of the United Nations. United Nations resolutions on that matter emphasized the necessity for the different United Nations organs to intensify their efforts to promote the economic and social development of the occupied territories and to identify the areas where that development was most needed. The Economic and Social Council at its sessions regularly considered the living conditions of the Palestinian people, the subject of permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied territories and assistance to the Palestinian people. Under the latter one it had requested the development of a co-ordinated programme of assistance.
93. The Seminar welcomed and expressed its appreciation for the activities of the Committee, which had in the decade of its existence carried out a valuable task in order to reach greater and more positive international awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine. Moreover, the efforts of the Committee in support of the convening of the International Peace Conference which it had made one of its main objectives, deserved unqualified support.
108. Every effort should be made to step up the widespread dissemination of information, as one of the major contributions to the achievement of a just solution to the problem on the basis of the attainment by the Palestinian people in Palestine of their inalienable rights. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat had an important role in such dissemination of information. Furthermore, the Department of Public Information in co-operation with the Division for Palestinian Rights should make every effort to ensure that accurate information on the question of Palestine received the widest possible dissemination.
MESSAGE FROM THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SEMINAR
TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
We convey to you and to the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO, its legitimate representative, our greetings of support and solidarity.
Mr. Guennadi I. Oudovenko (Ukrainian SSR)
Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
Mr. Ammar Amari (Tunisia)
United Nations Council for Namibia
Mr. Ramul Damodaran (India)