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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 149, 99-08-03

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 3, No. 149, 3 August 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER BLAMES PRESIDENT OVER CONTROVERSIAL
  • [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR EXPEDITING CONSTITUTIONAL
  • [03] NEW KARABAKH DEFENSE MINISTER APPOINTED
  • [04] IRANIAN PROVINICIAL GOVERNOR VISITS AZERBAIJAN
  • [05] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT PROCLAIMS LIMITED AMNESTY
  • [06] TURKMENISTAN RESUMES TALKS WITH BRIDAS?

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] SERBIAN BISHOP WANTS MILOSEVIC TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES
  • [08] EX-GENERAL SAYS ARMY, POLICE WILL BACK SERBIAN OPPOSITION
  • [09] SERBIAN ECONOMISTS CALL FOR PROTEST, TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT
  • [10] POLICE END VOJVODINA FARMERS' PROTEST
  • [11] SERBIAN COURTS INVESTIGATING WAR CRIMES?
  • [12] ETHNIC ALBANIANS FLEE SERBIA
  • [13] KOUCHNER ESTIMATES 11,000 IN KOSOVA'S MASS GRAVES
  • [14] UN SETS UP KOSOVA CUSTOMS CONTROLS
  • [15] POST OFFICE, UNIVERSITY REOPEN IN PRISHTINA
  • [16] YUGOSLAV, MACEDONIAN MINISTERS MEET
  • [17] MONTENEGRO PREPARES TO LAUNCH OWN CURRENCY
  • [18] PROTESTS AGAINST BOSNIA-CROATIA BORDER DEAL
  • [19] CROATIAN RIGHTS GROUP WANTS BETTER TREATMENT OF SERBS
  • [20] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY DEMANDS STOP TO 'WITCH HUNT'...
  • [21] ...WHILE DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS ARMY SUBJECTED TO
  • [22] ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY RESPONDS TO ALLY'S DESERTION
  • [23] BULGARIAN MEDIA COUNCIL SEEKS RULING ON DISMISSING RADIO

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [24] CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS CROATIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FORMER ARMENIAN PREMIER BLAMES PRESIDENT OVER CONTROVERSIAL

    TELECOM DEAL

    Speaking at a news conference in Yerevan on 30

    July, Hrant Bagratian denied any share of the responsibility

    for the creation of the telecommunications monopoly ArmenTel

    or the activities of its former monopoly shareholder Trans-

    World Telecom, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Bagratian

    pointed out that ArmenTel acquired full ownership of the

    country's telecommunications network only in July 1997, when

    current Armenian President Robert Kocharian was prime

    minister, and that Kocharian endorsed the company's

    privatization in December 1998. An ad hoc commission formed

    by Kocharian earlier this year said on 27 July that TWT's

    acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Armenia's telephone

    network several years ago violated Armenian law. Commission

    chairman David Vartanian accused Bagratian, who served as

    prime minister from 1993-1996, of complicity. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR EXPEDITING CONSTITUTIONAL

    REFORM

    Kocharian on 30 July chaired the first meeting of a

    newly-created commission charged with amending the country's

    constitution, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. That

    commission, which is headed by Justice Minister David

    Harutiunian, replaces a larger body created in spring 1998

    and disbanded last month. Defining the aim of the proposed

    amendments as ensuring "balanced relations" between the

    branches of government, Kocharian instructed the new

    commission to draft and present its proposals by the end of

    the year. Parliamentary speaker Karen Demirchian has

    similarly expressed his intention of establishing a

    parliamentary commission to draft amendments to the

    constitution. Demirchian favors limiting the powers of the

    president and augmenting those of the legislature. LF

    [03] NEW KARABAKH DEFENSE MINISTER APPOINTED

    President Arkadii

    Ghukasian released General Samvel Babayan from the post of

    defense minister of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-

    Karabakh on 2 August and appointed Major-General Seiran

    Ohanian to replace him, Noyan Tapan reported. Latent tensions

    between Ghukasian and Babayan resurfaced last month after

    Ghukasian sacked the enclave's Prime Minister Zhirair

    Poghosian and his entire cabinet (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29

    June and 12 July 1999). Ghukasian also appointed Bako

    Sahakian as interior minister, replacing Artur Aghabekian. In

    recent years Sahakian had served as the Moscow representative

    of the Armenian Interior and National Security Ministry. LF

    [04] IRANIAN PROVINICIAL GOVERNOR VISITS AZERBAIJAN

    Yahja

    Mohammedzade, head of the Iranian province of Eastern

    Azerbaijan, which borders on Azerbaijan's exclave of

    Nakhcihevan, held talks in Baku on 2 August with

    parliamentary speaker Murtuz Alesqerov and President Heidar

    Aliev, Turan reported. Aliev stressed Baku's interest in

    developing closer relations with Iran, noting at the same

    time Azerbaijan's displeasure at Iran's flourishing relations

    with Armenia. Aliev added that, unlike some opposition

    forces, the Azerbaijani leadership does not consider that the

    presence of a multi-million ethnic Azerbaijani minority in

    Iran justifies Baku's interference into Iran's domestic

    political affairs. Aliev is scheduled to visit Tehran and

    Tabriz, the capital of Eastern Azerbaijan, next month. But

    State Foreign Policy Adviser Vafa Guluzade told Turan on 3

    August that Iran's refusal to extradite to Baku former

    Azerbaijani Interior Ministry special forces member Mahir

    Djavadov could torpedo Aliev's visit. LF

    [05] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT PROCLAIMS LIMITED AMNESTY

    Nursultan

    Nazarbaev has issued a decree amnestying some 13,000

    prisoners, most of whom are suffering from TB, RFE/RL's

    Kazakh Service reported on 2 August. Deputy Interior Minister

    Bulat Baizharov had said in early June, when the parliament

    passed the amnesty law, that some 20,000 prisoners, or 25

    percent of the prison population, would be freed (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 4 June 1999). But the parliament reduced the

    number of persons eligible for early release. LF

    [06] TURKMENISTAN RESUMES TALKS WITH BRIDAS?

    Interfax on 30 July

    reported that the Turkmen government has resumed secret

    discussions with the Argentinean oil and gas company Bridas

    that are believed to focus on Bridas's participation in the

    proposed construction of a gas export pipeline from

    Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan. Ashgabat and Bridas

    began such talks in 1994, and in February 1996 Bridas signed

    an agreement with the Afghan government on the construction

    and operation of such a pipeline. But following disagreements

    between Bridas and the Turkmen leadership, in 1997 the latter

    granted the U.S. companies Delta and Unocal the exclusive

    right to form a consortium to build the pipeline. Unocal then

    withdrew from that consortium in late 1998 (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 8 December 1998 and 26 January 1999). LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] SERBIAN BISHOP WANTS MILOSEVIC TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES

    Some

    6,000 people attended a rally organized by the opposition

    Alliance for Change in Valjevo on 2 August. Serbian Orthodox

    Bishop Artemije, who is the leading Serbian cleric in Kosova,

    called on all Serbs to sink their political differences until

    Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic resigns. The bishop

    added that "we lost Kosova only when Milosevic tried to solve

    the problem with force." In response to a speaker who called

    on Milosevic to go to Kosova, Artemije replied: "Don't send

    him to Kosova again.... Send him to The Hague," Reuters

    reported. A BBC journalist said the next day, however, that

    Artemije refused to tell him which war crimes he thinks

    Milosevic committed. Artemije was, moreover, equivocal when

    the reporter asked whether Milosevic should be tried in

    Serbia or in The Hague. PM

    [08] EX-GENERAL SAYS ARMY, POLICE WILL BACK SERBIAN OPPOSITION

    Vuk Obradovic, who is leader of the Social Democratic Party

    and a former general, told the same rally in Valjevo on 2

    August that "the police and the army will be with us, don't

    worry," Reuters reported. He made the remarks after at least

    two buses of riot police arrived from Cacak and took up

    positions near the rally. The police did not intervene. This

    was the first time that riot police have been present at any

    of the alliance's rallies, the news agency added. PM

    [09] SERBIAN ECONOMISTS CALL FOR PROTEST, TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT

    Mladjan Dinkic, who is a spokesman for the independent G-17

    group of Serbian economists, called for all opposition groups

    to stage a joint rally in Belgrade on 19 August. Speaking in

    Belgrade on 2 August, he appealed to participants to leave

    their party flags home and carry only the Serbian ensign.

    Dinkic added that representatives of the Serbian Orthodox

    Church will soon start discussions with unspecified

    "political leaders" about the G-17 plan for a nonpartisan

    transitional government (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July

    1999). Dinkic stressed that it is "irrelevant" whether

    Milosevic resigns before or after the transitional body takes

    office. The plan calls for a one-year transitional government

    to organize free and fair elections and to draft plans for

    economic reform. PM

    [10] POLICE END VOJVODINA FARMERS' PROTEST

    Dragan Veselinov, who

    heads the opposition Vojvodina coalition, said in Pancevo on

    2 August that police forced a group of farmers to end their

    blockade of the road leading north from Belgrade to

    Zrenjanin. Police arrested an unspecified number of

    protesters. The farmers sought the resignation of Yugoslav

    Agriculture Minister Nedeljko Sipovic, RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. PM

    [11] SERBIAN COURTS INVESTIGATING WAR CRIMES?

    Judge Miloje Mitic

    said in Nis on 2 August that the district court is

    investigating whether Igor Radocaj is guilty of murdering two

    ethnic Albanians and stealing money from an ethnic Albanian

    family. Radocaj is a Bosnian Serb who recently served with

    Serbian forces in Kosova, where he allegedly committed the

    crimes. Military police arrested him on 14 June. He is now in

    a civilian prison. Reuters reported that this is the first

    known investigation of war crimes by a Serbian court. It is

    unclear why the court decided to investigate Radocaj. PM

    [12] ETHNIC ALBANIANS FLEE SERBIA

    About 4,500 ethnic Albanians

    have fled Serbia proper since the withdrawal of Serbian

    troops from Kosova, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told Reuters

    on 2 August in Prishtina. Most of the refugees come from the

    municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja. Redmond

    said that "the displaced persons have told the UNHCR that

    Yugoslav Army and paramilitary groups have started an

    intimidation program, a campaign that has included

    harassment, beatings, expulsions, looting, and threatened

    murder.... [The displaced persons] claim that the

    paramilitaries are threatening to abuse Albanian women and

    some said that one woman was violated by paramilitaries in

    their presence." Some refugees reported that Serbian troops

    occupied their homes, cut telephone lines, and confiscated

    cars at checkpoints. Questioned by UNHCR officials, Serbian

    authorities in the three communities denied any campaign to

    drive out Albanians. FS

    [13] KOUCHNER ESTIMATES 11,000 IN KOSOVA'S MASS GRAVES

    The UN's

    Bernard Kouchner told Reuters on 2 August that UN war crimes

    investigators estimate that the mass graves in Kosova contain

    the bodies of about 11,000 ethnic Albanians. Kouchner

    acknowledged that his civilian UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)

    is understaffed but said that the crime rate in Kosova is

    diminishing. He stressed: "I am asking governments to send me

    police. I spend two hours a day on the phone on such issues,

    but in the rich world it is summer holiday time. They are not

    listening very much." Kouchner added that NATO troops at road

    checkpoints detain up to 15 Albanian citizens a day for

    carrying weapons or for other offenses and send them back

    across the border. With regard to the demilitarization of the

    Kosova Liberation Army, Kouchner said "I am in charge, and

    they know that." FS

    [14] UN SETS UP KOSOVA CUSTOMS CONTROLS

    A spokeswoman for UNMIK

    told Reuters in Prishtina on 2 August that UNMIK has

    installed customs controls on Kosova's borders with Macedonia

    and Albania to collect urgently needed revenues and stop the

    influx of uncontrolled and untaxed imports. UNMIK also hopes

    to reduce the activities of Albanian gangsters operating

    inside Kosova. The spokeswoman said that the "customs

    services will contribute to the protection of public health

    and safety and ensure the control of hazardous goods." FS

    [15] POST OFFICE, UNIVERSITY REOPEN IN PRISHTINA

    Kouchner

    reopened Kosova's main post and telecommunications center in

    Prishtina on 2 August, Reuters reported. UNMIK officials

    estimate that they will have to invest about $5 million

    before resuming full telecommunications services. Mail

    services will start later this month. Elsewhere, professors

    at Prishtina University held a ceremony to formally reopen

    that institution, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. FS

    [16] YUGOSLAV, MACEDONIAN MINISTERS MEET

    Yugoslav Foreign

    Minister Zivadin Jovanovic met with his Macedonian

    counterpart, Aleksandar Dimitrov, in Bujanovacka Banja in

    southern Serbia on 2 August. Jovanovic told the state-run

    Tanjug news agency afterward that relations are moving in a

    "positive direction." He did not elaborate. It was the first

    known cabinet-level contact between the two governments in

    several months. PM

    [17] MONTENEGRO PREPARES TO LAUNCH OWN CURRENCY

    Steve Hanke, who

    is a U.S. economist and adviser to Montenegrin President Milo

    Djukanovic, said in Podgorica on 2 August that the

    Montenegrin authorities have prepared legislation to set up a

    currency board in the event that they decide to introduce a

    Montenegrin currency (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 27 July

    1999). Hanke added that they will need reserves of $70

    million should they take that step, an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported from Podgorica. PM

    [18] PROTESTS AGAINST BOSNIA-CROATIA BORDER DEAL

    Some 2,000

    ethnic Serbian residents of Kostajnica on the Bosnian-

    Croatian border demonstrated on 2 August against the new

    border delimitation agreement between Sarajevo and Zagreb

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 1999). The protesters are

    angry that a strip of land near their town is now part of

    Croatia. Demonstrators called for the sacking of Republika

    Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik and Zivko Radisic, who is

    the Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency, "Dnevni

    avaz" reported. Elsewhere, some 30 ethnic Croatian residents

    of the village of Unista told journalists that they do not

    want their village transferred from Croatian to Bosnian

    control under the new agreement. If they do not get their

    way, they will ask the Croatian government to resettle them

    elsewhere in Croatia, "Oslobodjenje" reported. PM

    [19] CROATIAN RIGHTS GROUP WANTS BETTER TREATMENT OF SERBS

    The

    Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) said in an open letter to

    Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa on 2 August that incidents are

    on the rise between returning Serbian refugees and Croatian

    settlers in the Knin area, "Jutarnji list" reported. The

    letter added that members of Croatian right-wing extremist

    organizations have been responsible for several recent anti-

    Serbian incidents. The HHO stressed that the Croatian mass-

    circulation newspapers "Vecernji list," "Slobodna Dalmacija,"

    and "Nedjeljna Dalmacija" have encouraged anti-Serbian

    feelings among local Croats, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service

    reported. PM

    [20] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY DEMANDS STOP TO 'WITCH HUNT'...

    The Defense Ministry on 1 August said that the sentencing

    of Generals Victor Stanculescu and Mihai Chitac last month

    was "unjust" and "humiliating" for the army as a whole. It

    demanded that a "stop be put to the witch hunt" launched

    against the military, Romanian media reported on 2 August.

    The statement says that the verdict is "a new attempt to

    conceal the real culprits for [the killings] in December

    1989 and at placing the entire responsibility...on the

    army's shoulders." The ministry also released a list

    containing the names of 222 officers and soldiers killed

    during the revolution, saying it is demanding that the

    "relevant institutions" make public any information they

    have on "the perpetrators of the crimes against the

    military who fell during the revolution." MS

    [21] ...WHILE DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS ARMY SUBJECTED TO

    'PSYCHOLOGICAL WAR'

    In a statement released on 2 August,

    Victor Babiuc said the courts are "not competent to

    establish the truth about the 1989 revolution because the

    facts do not have a strictly penal character." Babiuc said

    that the army is being subjected to a "psychological war"

    by "forces hostile to the process of stabilization and

    national reconciliation." In 1989, he continued, the army

    was "compelled to intervene to stop street demonstrations

    in line with the laws then in force--and which are still in

    force." He added that such interventions by the military

    are common, mentioning by way of example Israel, Northern

    Ireland, the U.S. and India as well as several instances in

    inter-war Romania, Mediafax reported. MS

    [22] ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY RESPONDS TO ALLY'S DESERTION

    Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) Secretary-General

    Vasile Dobrescu on 2 August said the recent agreement

    concluded by Vatra romaneasca (Romanian Cradle) and the

    Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) may lead to the

    dismemberment of the former, Mediafax reported. On 30 July,

    PDSR leader Ion Iliescu and Vatra chairman Zeno Opris

    signed a protocol providing for mutual support and for

    Vatra leaders to run on PDSR lists in the 2000

    parliamentary elections. Dobrescu said he believes that

    only a few Vatra members will leave the PUNR, which was set

    up in 1990 as the political organization of Vatra. MS

    [23] BULGARIAN MEDIA COUNCIL SEEKS RULING ON DISMISSING RADIO

    CHIEF

    The National Council on Radio and Television appealed

    to the Prosecutor-General's Office on 2 August to rule on

    whether Alexandar Velev, director-general of Bulgarian

    National Radio, should be dismissed, BTA reported. The appeal

    comes after an audit established financial violations at the

    radio station. A spokesman for the council said the body has

    no legal mechanism at its disposal to decide on the

    dismissal, and it argued that the National Radio's board of

    governors might seek to hinder the investigation recently

    launched by the Prosecutor-General's Office. The board backed

    Velev at its 1 August meeting, saying all his decisions were

    discussed "at expert level" and approved by the board. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [24] CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS CROATIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES

    By Andrej Krikovic

    Croatian President Franjo Tudjman recently named his

    son, Miroslav Tudjman, as head of the Croatian Intelligence

    Service (HIS) and deputy chief of the umbrella National

    Security Bureau (UNS), giving the younger Tudjman virtual

    control over Croatia's half-dozen secret services. Many

    observers welcomed the move in the belief that Miroslav

    Tudjman, who enjoys the reputation of a solid professional,

    would put an end to the abuses of the intelligence community.

    Yet subsequent developments have shown that this initial

    prognosis may have been overly optimistic.

    The appointment was prompted by recent scandals that

    have rocked the intelligence community. Within the space of a

    few weeks, the independent weekly "Nacional" published

    classified secret-service documents revealing that those

    services have monitored the telephone conversations of

    influential members of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union

    (HDZ) and that the secret services even attempted to rig the

    national soccer championships. Former HIS chief Miroslav

    Separovic was subsequently arrested for allegedly making the

    leaks. The police also searched the offices of "Nacional" and

    brought charges against the weekly's chief editor for

    publishing secret documents.

    Most people believe that the secret services regularly

    spy on opposition leaders, independent journalists, and other

    individuals whom the regime regards as a threat. The

    intelligence community is controlled by the hard-line

    Herzegovinian faction of the HDZ, which is led by the

    president's domestic policy adviser, Ivic Pasalic. Last year,

    prominent HDZ moderates resigned from their post in the

    intelligence services after HDZ hard-liners had used the

    intelligence services to orchestrate attacks against the same

    moderates in the media. HDZ hard-liners seemed to score

    another political victory last month, when the HDZ-controlled

    parliament determined that there was no justification for a

    parliamentary investigation into abuses committed by the

    secret services.

    Nevertheless, many observers have expressed optimism that

    Miroslav Tudjman's appointment could signal that the

    president is ready to clean up the intelligence community and

    curtail the influence of hard-liners. Croatia faces

    parliamentary elections at the end of the year, and most

    polls indicate that the ruling party is headed for an

    overwhelming defeat. The president is well aware that the

    secret service scandals have only added to the HDZ's

    unpopularity.

    The younger Tudjman is considered to be a consummate

    professional. He is also one of the founders of the Croatian

    intelligence community, and many consider him to be an HDZ

    moderate who has not been afraid to stand up to his father.

    This is the second time that he has been appointed to the

    country's top intelligence post. It has been speculated that

    Pasalic engineered Miroslav Tudjman's earlier dismissal after

    the president insisted on pursuing a secret service

    investigation into the Dubrovacka bank scandal, which

    implicated party hard-liners--including Pasalic himself.

    Tudjman Jr. is expected to stop the harassment of his

    former colleagues at the HIS˝like Separovic--and restore

    their power. In the process, he will repay the hard-liners

    who engineered his departure from the service, such as

    National Security Adviser Markica Rebic and Head of Office

    for the Protection of Constitutional Order (SZUP) Ivan

    Brzovic.

    Yet there are serious doubts that Miroslav Tudjman will

    launch a real cleanup of the services. Instead, some

    observers argue, the president intends to take advantage of

    his son's image as a liberal and rival of Pasalic in order to

    create the impression that the president is doing something

    about the secret-service scandal.

    Critics of the younger Tudjman say he does not deserve his

    reputation as a professional and liberal and add that he is

    very much under his father's control. They say Miroslav

    Tudjman resigned as intelligence head only because the

    investigation threatened to implicate his close friend and

    associate, Herzegovinian intelligence chief Ivo Lucic. There

    has been speculation that the younger Tudjman may have

    financial ties to the wealthy Lucic clan. In such a case, he

    may not be as upright as many of his supporters believe.

    President Tudjman may be more concerned about controlling

    the leaks from the intelligence community than about stopping

    the transgressions of the secret services. The Hague-based

    war crimes tribunal's indictment of Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic may have opened the way for an indictment

    against Tudjman. In fact, a prosecutor at the tribunal

    recently said that Tudjman is responsible for Croation war

    crimes in Bosnia. The president may fear that if leaks

    continue, secret documents that reveal official Zagreb's role

    in the 1993-1994 Croat-Muslim war in Bosnia may find

    themselves in the hands of Hague prosecutors. Some

    independent reports seem to confirm this line of thought.

    According to the independent weekly "Globus," Miroslav

    Tudjman in fact returned to the HIS weeks before his

    reappointment and has allegedly been busy destroying secret

    documents that could compromise the president and the ruling

    party.

    Some recent developments support this pessimistic view

    about Miroslav Tudjman's appointment. Negotiations between

    the HDZ and the opposition on a new election law for the

    upcoming elections have collapsed. The government has also

    flatly refused to meet recent demands by the tribunal (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 July 1999). As the country heads for

    elections, the president seems to have again shifted policy

    in favor of party hard-liners. These developments indicate

    that hard-liners may continue to control the secret services

    and that those services will continue their dubious practices

    in preparation for the upcoming election campaign.

    The author is a free-lance journalist based in Zagreb.

    03-08-99


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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