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Food Gap Not Closing Fast Enough

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

July 8, 2002
Posted to the web July 8, 2002

Progress has been slow in closing the food gap in Southern Africa,
especially in Zimbabwe the worst affected country in the region.

In its latest food security update the Famine Early Warning System Network
(FEWS NET), warned that the gap in maize availability in Zimbabwe, estimated
at 1.4 million mt last month for 2002/03 consumption, has been "very slow"
in closing.

"As of 19 June, only nine percent of the maize deficit at the beginning of
the current consumption year had been imported," the agency said in its
report released on Sunday.

"A total of nearly 5.6 million people are considered food insecure during
the current consumption year (April 2002-March 2003). Of these, almost 3.7
million people are in the communal sector, another 489,000 are commercial
farm workers, and 850,000 people are in urban areas.

"The food insecure population will require about 849,000 mt of food aid
maize and 815,000 mt needs to be provided on the market for those with the
purchasing power to buy," FEWS NET said.

If households had no recourse to subsidised maize and had to pay the
full-value import price of about Zim $76 per kg, "household income sources
would be further stretched, increasing food aid requirements from 849,000 mt
to 910,000 mt and the number of people requiring food aid from 5.5 million
to 5.8 million".

Wheat stocks were estimated to have dropped to 85,000 mt as of mid-June and
were projected to be depleted by the end of August, more than a wmonth
before the October harvest.

Winter maize was expected to inject about 8,400 mt to 9,500 mt of grain onto
the market in August and September. Wheat yields are expected to result in
production of about 200,000 mt to 230,000 mt in October.

"Persistent shortages of basic foodstuffs, such as maize meal and maize
grain, sugar, milk, and cooking oil, have continued to fuel parallel market
prices of these commodities well above the controlled price," FEWS NET said.

While crops have suffered, the condition of grazing livestock continued to
be good throughout the country. The FEWS NET report said livestock in
drought-affected areas, such as parts of Buhera and Beitbridge districts,
were being moved to nearby areas with adequate grazing and that water for
livestock was generally available.

Tobacco marketing was in full swing, by 17 June sales of a certain tobacco
type had earned the country about US $2.75 million of much-needed foreign

Income from the 200,000 mt cotton harvest would contribute significantly
toward food purchases in the rural areas, the agency said.

In Malawi, planting of winter crops was going on in areas with residual
moisture or irrigation facilities.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation released its final crop
production estimates for the 2001/02 production year (October-September) on
20 June. Maize production dropped slightly (one percent) from the second
round estimate and six percent from last year to 1.6 million mt.

"The drop in maize production from the level last year, a below-average
year, means that the food security problems this season will be worse if
appropriate actions are not taken ... Many households overstretched their
coping mechanisms last year, reducing their resilience and increasing their
vulnerability in the face of continued food shortages," the agency said.

Malawi's National Food Reserve Agency only received 136,000 mt of the
150,000 mt of maize ordered from South Africa. The difference was "due to
rising maize prices after the contract was signed".

Local market maize prices continued to drop between April and May due to
improved household supplies as a result of the current harvest. More than
three million need food aid in Malawi.

While in Mozambique nearly half a million people in 43 districts need food
aid, "mainly as a result of the cyclical natural disasters (cyclones,
floods, and drought)". Maize production was up five percent in that country.

"A multi-disciplinary Vulnerability Assessment Group (composed of government
agencies, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), WFP, FEWS NET, and
NGOs) will carry out food security assessments in districts characterised by
moderate to high food vulnerability to determine the severity and
implications of current food shortages at the household level. The further
assessments will identify and recommend appropriate targeting and monitoring
mechanisms to ensure that food aid gets to those who require it the most,"
FEWS NET said.

Zambia's situation was very different to that of Mozambique, maize
production dropped by 24 percent from the previous season.

A WFP/FAO assessment in Zambia earlier this year established that 1.7
million mt of relief food would be required to assist a population of 2.3
million in need of emergency food.

However, "despite government having sufficient information to base maize
import plans on, decisions on modalities for maize imports are not being
made fast enough to avoid a repeat of last season's critical maize meal

"Maize and maize meal prices have generally been falling since March in many
districts of the country as is expected at this time of the year. However,
some rural districts particularly in Southern Province, few parts of
Central, Western and Eastern Provinces reported increased maize prices in
May," FEWS NET said.

Inflation, which increased to 20.9 percent from 17.8 percent in April, would
put further pressure on household buying power. "This was largely attributed
to price increases of major foods other than maize and maize meal. The
[Zambian] kwacha has significantly depreciated against the United States
dollar in the last two months. Between mid-May and June alone, there was a
five percent depreciation.

"With the impending maize imports there will be increased pressure on
foreign exchange which could depreciate the local currency further," the
agency warned.
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Africa buries OAU

Durban - African leaders gave a state funeral to their Organisation of
African Unity (OAU) on Monday but were quickly warned against complacency by
United Nations chief Kofi Annan.

At least 34 presidents and monarchs were at the opening of a two-day summit.
On Tuesday they attend the birth of a new African Union (AU) whose mission
is to combat poverty, conflict and corruption.

The UN secretary-general, born in the West African state of Ghana, told
leaders that Africa's vast size, economic under-development, debt and legacy
of war meant it would be much tougher to build the AU than it was to build
the European Union.

"To build a successful union in such conditions will require great stamina
and iron political will," Annan said in his summit speech in Durban.

He said he sensed a new respect for Africa among Western governments but
that warring had to stop before foreign investment would flow in.

"They will respect us even more when they see us actually resolve the
conflicts that disfigure our continent. And I do mean, resolve them.
Managing them is not enough," he said.

'Few will give up power voluntarily'

Scepticism abounds, even among delegates in Durban, about the chances of the
AU turning Africa into a haven of peace and clean government.

"Few if any of these men will give up power voluntarily," one official from
a Horn of Africa country said.

"It's all about power and greed. How on earth do they think they're going to
integrate this union?"

Despite progress in ending long-running wars in Sierra Leone and Angola,
belligerents from Liberia to Sudan, passing through both Congos and the
Great Lakes region, are still playing havoc.

Speakers in Durban pledged to strengthen democracy but the political and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe was not on the agenda.

President Robert Mugabe was in the audience. An ex-guerrilla in office since
1980, after defeating white minority rule, he was declared winner of violent
elections in March.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, the summit host and one of three
leaders who had Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth after the polls,
made no mention of Zimbabwe when he referred to successful recent African

"These successes demonstrate that those who characterise ours as a hopeless
continent are wrong," Mbeki said.

53-nation membership unchanged

"As with many other things African, from the very beginnings of its life the
OAU was dismissed by our detractors as an organisation that was destined to
fail," he said, calling the change from OAU to AU an evolution, not a death.

Durban police, on top alert, said they blew up a suspicious parcel early on
Monday, about 500 metres from the venue.

"It was found that there was nothing in looked like a bag," police
spokesperson Vish Naidoo said.

Africa's towering statesman, Nelson Mandela (84), walked stiffly into the
summit centre, aided by a cane and by his wife Graca.

When the OAU was born in 1963, Mandela was starting 27 years in prisons.
After the long struggle against white rule, Mandela was the country's first
democratically elected president until 1999. Now he spends most of his time
mediating in African and domestic conflicts.

His successor, Mbeki, will be formally elected the last chairperson of the
OAU and then elected the first chairperson of the AU. The 53-nation
membership is unchanged.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi claims parentage of the AU idea to strengthen
African economic integration and the quality of its political governance.

'We have regained our African name and culture'

"Africa has regained its self-esteem. They made us slaves, they called us
inferior but we have regained our African name and culture," the
purple-robed Gaddafi told the summit.

In power since a 1969 coup, Gaddafi is one of a diminishing number of
African leaders who came to office unconstitutionally and who brook little
if any domestic dissent.

Diplomatic sources said Gaddafi had gained inclusion on Sunday into a key
committee steering NEPAD, a detailed recovery manifesto which analysts have
dubbed the AU's "marketing arm".

The committee membership was raised from 15 countries to 20, also recruiting
Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi who has held power since 1978 and whose
government is often pilloried by foreign donors as corrupt and undemocratic.

Mbeki and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria are the powers driving the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), to be endorsed by other
leaders at the summit. It aims to deliver higher standards of economic and
political governance in return for more foreign investment, aid and debt

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Independent (UK)

Judge tells Zimbabwe to issue passport
By Michael Hartnack in Harare
09 July 2002
Zimbabwe's High Court ordered the government yesterday to issue a passport
to a veteran human rights activist in a ruling that could have implications
for millions of Zimbabweans of foreign descent.

The government plans to appeal against Judge Benjamin Paradza's ruling that
a passport should be given to Judith Todd, 57, who was stripped of her
Zimbabwean citizenship because she took no steps to renounce a possible
claim to a New Zealand passport.

Ms Todd was born in Zimbabwe, but her father, the former Rhodesian prime
minister Sir Garfield Todd, 93, was born in New Zealand. He moved to
Rhodesia as a missionary 70 years ago.

Judge Paradza granted the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, permission to
appeal against his ruling in the Supreme Court, but said that in the
meantime Ms Todd should be given a passport within 14 days. Lawyers for Ms
Todd, a human rights worker and a pioneer of the nation's independent media,
expect the appeal to be heard in about three months.

Last year President Robert Mugabe introduced tough citizenship laws intended
to strip 40,000 white Zimbabweans of British origin of the right to vote,
claiming they had not properly renounced their claim to British citizenship.

The law, which bans dual citizenship, will also affect more than 2 million
Zimbabweans with Malawian and Mozambican parentage.

Mr Mudede has demanded that any Zimbabwean suspected of having a claim to a
second citizenship must produce proof from the foreign country that he or
she does not secretly hold its passport.

Many embassies refuse to provide such proof, saying they do not provide
consular services to non-citizens.
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Business Report

Devaluation row in Harare
Independent Foreign Service
July 09 2002 at 12:12AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's fixed exchange rate was undermining the country's export
sector and was a major disincentive to efforts to generate foreign currency
to improve its hard currency market, finance minister Simba Makoni said

Makoni has been privately urging his cabinet colleagues to accept the
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, but reports said his proposals had been
persistently shot down by President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe fears that any move to devalue the currency will further increase
food prices and create problems for his troubled government.

One US dollar fetches Z$55 on the dry official market, while it is bought
with Z$800 on the black market - where Zimbabweans are going for their
foreign currency needs.

Makoni said the absence of a rational, credible and predictable exchange
rate was undermining Zimbabwe's export sector.

government's fixed exchange rate had dismally failed to stimulate the export
sector to generate much needed foreign currency, he said.

"I agree that our fixed exchange rate is a major disincentive to the
generation of foreign currency," Makoni said.

Zimbabwe's foreign exchange market has been fixed for 21 months now, and
exporters are complaining that their businesses are no longer viable

Most companies buy foreign currency on the black market to meet their import
needs, but they have to sell commodities at government-controlled prices.

The discrepancy forced food manufacturer National Foods to withhold large
quantities of salt from the market, arguing that it would lose at least R6
million if it was sold at controlled prices.

Mugabe immediately threatened to seize the firm, which is partly owned by
Anglo American, forcing it to offload the salt on to the market at a huge

Makoni said: "There is a need for a rational, credible and predictable
exchange rate. Our failure to do that has undermined the export sector,
which generates foreign currency."

He would not be drawn into disclosing the reasons why the government would
not devalue the currency to help the export sector.

However, last week state media reports said a cabinet committee chaired by
Mugabe had ruled out devaluation in the near future.

The reports said Makoni and Reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba had failed
to persuade Mugabe about the need for currency devaluation.

Makoni's latest remarks come in the wake of reports of a plot to oust him
from Mugabe's cabinet because of his policy differences with the national

Makoni said he was not aware of the plot. "I only read about it in the
press," he said.

"But maybe I will be the last person to know."
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* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International *

8 July 2002 AFR 01/008/2002

Africa: Invitation to a Press Conference on the launch of a Report on
Policing in Southern Africa

Amnesty International invites journalists to the launch its report: Policing
to protect human rights: A survey of police practices in the countries of
the Southern Africa Development Community, 1997 - 2002.

The report is being launched in connection with the start of a campaign
involving Amnesty International members and other civil society
organizations in member countries of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), together with  Amnesty International's membership

The report includes a survey of human rights and policing in 12 of the
member states of SADC. It shows that human rights violations by the police
continue to occur in the majority of SADC countries. It also notes efforts
by individual countries to increase protection for human rights, as well as
initiatives undertaken by the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs'
Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) to promote best practice through training
programs and the development of a code of conduct.

It recommends specific actions that should be taken by governments and
police authorities to ensure that police respect the rights of all
communities without distinction.

Further Conference Details
DATE: 9 July 2002
TIME: 12:00
VENUE: Gaberone 2
Gaberone Sun Hotel
Tel: 267 717 53268/ 267 351 111

Alice Mogwe, Director of Dithswanelo - Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Chris Madeley, Chair Amnesty International Botswana
Norman Moleboge, Police Commissioner and former SARPCCO Chairperson
Manuel de Araujo, Campaign Coordinator, SADC Policing Project, International
Secretariat, Amnesty
International H.E. Daniel Kwelagobe, Minister of Presidential Affairs and
Public Administration, Office of the President of Botswana

For further information, please contact:
Samkelo Mokhine,
Press Officer A-I South Africa
Manuel Araujo
Gaberone Sun Hotel
Tel: 267 718 77195/ 7175 3268 267 351 111

George Ngwa,
Press Office,
International Secretariat
Tel: 44 20 7413 5564.
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"The Realities of the Food Crisis"
The fundamentals of Mugabe's behaviour and the causes of the present Food
Crisis and demise of Zimbabwe are actually quite easy to understand. Mugabe
has always governed though fear, favour and patronage.
In November 1997, Mugabe crossed the Rubicon when he gave the ever-hungry
veterans a new pension that the nation could not afford. At that time the
"vets" were getting tired of seeing only the chefs enriching themselves -
they wanted a slice of the action too. A massive collapse in the Zimbabwe
dollar followed. The exodus of investors took off. The so-called veterans
have always been a liability to the country. Amazingly there were 40,000 of
them in 1980, and now there are said to be more than 60,000. They have never
earned an honest living, and have a permanent expectation that Mugabe will
forever satisfy their ever-growing appetites.
They have Mugabe in an awkward position, but he has converted their
insatiable needs to his own purpose. Apart from being criminal thugs, most
of them are illiterate or just plain stupid.
Mugabe got a big surprise when his "new constitution" was rejected in
February 2000. He blamed the whites for this setback alleging that they had
indoctrinated the farm workers to vote against him. Consequently he
unleashed his louts to drive the whites out at any cost, He has always both
envied and hated those of European descent.
Further setbacks came to Mugabe in June 2000 Parliamentary elections, and
the March 2002 rigged Presidential election where he was again reminded that
his support base had been seriously eroded.
He had realised throughout this period that his future was at stake. He had
to stay in power at any cost. If he failed, he and his comrades would stand
to lose all their loot and power. Most of all they would face local or
international incarceration - possibly in the International Criminal Court,
or in a Rwanda styled "Crimes against Humanity" tribunal.

His Master Plan, that is still unfolding, thus came into place.

1. Stay in power at any cost.
2. Placate, reward and enrich his patronized support base.
3. Eliminate his opponents, or those that can expose him.

1. Create "plausible" issues to divert attention from his greed, multiple
crimes and shortcomings.
2. Invent fictitious adversaries.
3. Get rid of those that he perceives to be his enemies, or threaten his
4. Saturate all state machinery with his supporters to facilitate the
realization of the objectives.
5. Terrorize the populace into submission. Suppress or drive out the
thinking masses from society.
6. Engage any conceivable dirty tactic in pursuit of the objectives.
7. Create new reward methodologies for his patrons. Donor Aid had dried up,
and the country was broke. There were now no more meaningful externally
sourced assets to loot. Therefore, the nation had to be plundered to keep
his support base.
8. If necessary trade or sell off national assets to new non-western
9. Capitalize on the zealous African mentality to get something for nothing,
and that the world owes them a living forever.
10. Use food as a weapon.
11. Take advantage of the simplicity of the rural populace.
12. Actively gain and promote the support of fellow international misfits
such as Libya, Cuba, Mbeki and Obasanjo, SADC and the AU/OAU in his claimed
"struggle against imperialism". Close rank with fellow despots in pursuit of
"African Solidarity".
13. Saturate the media with propaganda and lies.
14. Destroy the fundamentals of law and order, and the respect for human
rights to enable a free reign by his criminal veterans and militia.
15. Suppress adverse publicity.
16. Cash in on the widespread disinterest, fragilities, ineffectiveness,
hypocrisy, and dithering of the West, and on the many gullible socialist,
liberals, "do-gooders" to be found in those nations.

Available Resources
1. Land, mining, natural resources, businesses, property, foreign currency
holdings, movable assets and banks.
2. A compliant criminally disposed support base to implement the objectives.
This includes the Police, Military, gangs of carpet-bagger wannabes, moral
prostitutes, opportunistic criminals, the "new judiciary" and the so-called
3. Predictable donor aid from woolly-minded humanitarians would pour in when
the going got tough. This would in fact have the benefit of gaining external
finance for his insane policies, and would underpin his continued survival.

1. Anything necessary or appropriate.

1. By focusing on land as the primary diversionary issue, Mugabe has in
effect been successful so far in that he has solved several of his
 "problems" and objectives simultaneously.
2. He conned Blair and Jack Straw at the Abuja Agreement that land was the
real issue, and that his staying in power was not. Understandably, Mbeki and
Obasanjo went along with Mugabe at Abuja. This they did in pursuit of
African Solidarity rather choosing to address reality.
3. Mugabe is driving his enemies and the whites out, which will further
reduce exposure of his sponsored crimes and any remnant concerns that
certain western counties may have for the country. Already not many seem to
care much about the escalating horrors being perpetuated on a daily basis in
4. His support base is secured for a while longer whilst they have free
reign to loot the nation, and the assets of the people.
5. He is being stabilized by the active support of other African Solidarity
6. The liberals and "humanitarians" are effectively sustaining him in power
with their aid programs.
7. The so-called "smart sanctions" against his inner circle are being
effectively treated with due contempt by his regime.
8. No one has yet suggested that the massive loot that Zanu PF chefs have
externalizing for the last 22 years should now be brought back to sustain
the failing country.

If the West and the apologists for Nepad were true and consistent to their
declared values, and they took the time to come to terms with the real
Zimbabwe scenario, that country and its people could have some hope for
their futures.

1. Mugabe's mania will continue unabated, and he will inevitably become more
desperate. The only person who could really bring him down is Mbeki, but he
will not do it because he has too much to lose. He does not want to put his
self-sought image as the emerging Statesman of Africa up for sacrifice at
the cost of breaking up African Solidarity, with the reward of him being
ostracized. He would rather ignore the unfolding disaster that any capable
person knows will inevitably happen. As with his disposition to the AIDS
crisis, he does not believe that prevention is better than cure or death. In
many ways, the ANC is walking in the same footprints as set out by Mugabe
for national destruction.
2. Zimbabwe is becoming a dependant satellite state of South Africa. Mbeki
may be in for a surprise when his citizens realize how much of their money
is being used to shore up Mugabe.
3. Zimbabwe remains on course for an inevitable meltdown. Only the soft
brained do-gooders and the supporting pariah states are prolonging the
agony. Somalia here we come.
4. As matters get worse, when there is little left to loot, the Zanu PF
thugs will turn on each other.
5. The Nepad scam is doomed to fail. The architects of it will remain in
denial of the fact that their repeatedly demonstrated standards of so-called
African "good governance" are just not creditable in the civilized world.

Food shortages in Zimbabwe are no more than a natural consequence of Mugabe'
s master plan to survive. The alleged drought and "floods" have little to do
with it.
Zanu PF cares nothing for the general populace, but only about themselves.
Not many have thought ahead to next year, and the year after. The local food
issue will inevitably become worse and worse.
Donor nations may actually owe some gratitude to Mugabe in that he has
unwittingly forced the despots of Africa to re-expose what they really (and
still) stand for. What they must see is that nothing has improved in the
last 40 years. This renewed revelation could well save the western taxpayers
a lot of money - if their governments have any sense.
As a first step Africa firstly needs a mental paradigm shift to move
forward. They still do not seem able to understand this.
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The Scotsman
Tue 9 Jul 2002 All eyes on Mugabe in final African summit

Fred Bridgland In Durban

ZIMBABWE’S opposition movement, the MDC, plans to initiate a high-profile "Save Zimbabwe" campaign tomorrow at the final summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) will kick off its campaign at a press conference as the continent’s leaders are burying the OAU at Durban’s waterside International Conference Centre. More than 50 heads of state will vote the OAU, established four decades ago to fight colonialism and apartheid, out of existence and set up what they claim will be a stronger and more effective new body, the African Union, modelled on the European Union.

The MDC will argue that Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, who has kept a low profile since arriving in Durban, represents none of the ideals of the new AU, such as democracy, economic transparency and respect for human rights. It will also contend that Mr Mugabe contravenes one of the founding principles of the new club - that leaders who maintain power by force be excluded.

Mr Mugabe’s presence and that of the MDC demonstrators, who are banned from demonstrating on home soil, illustrate the scale of the task the AU’s founders have set themselves.

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, warned: "Africa’s persistent image as a continent in crisis deters foreign and local investors from taking advantage of the opportunities Africa offers."

Mr Annan told the assembled leaders that the developed world would only respect Africa when it resolved the wars and conflicts that disfigured the continent. "And I do mean resolve them," he said. "Managing them is not enough."

Building a successful AU amid much chaos would require iron political will and stamina, together with a willingness to accept a seemingly endless series of negotiations and compromises lasting decades.

In an apparent barb aimed at a stony-faced Mr Mugabe, the UN chief said that too often "in recent times" democracy’s name had been misused to describe elections where votes had been cast without free or fair debate beforehand, and where those who won 51 per cent claimed the right "to ride roughshod over the other 49 per cent".

The South African president, Thabo Mbeki, and Libya’s strongman, Col Muammar al-Gaddafi were the other keynote speakers before the leaders went into private session last night ahead of today’s historic events.

Mr Mbeki and Col Gaddafi have been rivals to become first chairman of the AU and provide the host city for the AU’s headquarters. Their ideas also differ radically on what the AU should be about. Mr Mbeki wants a new, constructive partnership with the rich West. Col Gaddafi wants unity against what he declares a hostile West. The Libyan leader has built a luxury village in Tripoli for AU staff and visiting heads of state and officials. However, the compromise choice might be the former OAU base in Addis Ababa.

Mr Mbeki won the first round in the contest yesterday when it was agreed he should become the AU’s first chairman at its birth today.

Speaking after the entry of leaders into the space-age arena, to traditional African dancing and massed choirs, Mr Mbeki said: "We have to think and work in a new way. We have a duty to radically change the structure and content of our political, economic and social relations with the rest of the world. We have to work harder than in the past, not merely passing resolutions but implementing them as well."

Col Gaddafi, in an anti-western speech, warned that Africans were not pupils who needed a teacher. "If you insult the beggar, he will drive you away," he said.

The AU will over a period of time set up at least 17 institutions. The first to be established, possibly today, will be the Brussels-style African Commission. The next priority is the establishment of a peace and security council that will oversee the progress of democracy in Africa and have the power to send peacekeeping forces into countries beset by genocide or the overthrow of democratically elected governments. This is in stark contrast to the OAU, which placed heavy emphasis on non-interference in the affairs of other countries.
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