Washington, D.C, April 25, 2004
World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn
Netherlands Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne
Canadian Minister for International Cooperation Aileen Carroll
UK International Development Secretary Hillary Benn
Niger Finance Minister Ali Lamine Zene
French Development Minister Xavier Darcos
Norwegian Development Minister Hilde Johnson
Chairman of the Global Campaign for Education Kailash Satyarthi
Phil Hay, Moderator, World Bank
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World Bank Education for All website
MR. HAY: Welcome to our press briefing this morning on Education For All. With this high-level panel this morning, what we're going to try and do is unravel this knot of how we get the hundred million boys and girls that are out of school at the moment, never seen the inside of a classroom, how we help them get the chance by 2015 to learn to read, write and count and thus open the door to their own societies, their own national economies, and their countries' ability to enter the global economy.
So we have a good panel this morning to help us circumnavigate this issue. I know time is tight, so let me without any further ado, we will ask each of the participants up here for a very short set of remarks, no more than about one to two minutes.
And so, let me turn to the minister immediately on my left, the Development Minister from the Netherlands Agnes van Ardenne, to give us a very brief opening statement.
MS. VAN ARDENNE: Thank you, Phil.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have all had the benefit of a good education, so we should be clever enough to understand that especially in our troubled world today, problems get worse if you ignore them. But solving global problems now means saving a lot of money in the long run, since the price of not solving them is so much higher. Investing in education is the best way to reduce poverty, but the outstanding figures are shocking.
There are still over 100 million girls and boys who do not attend school, and we are still far short of the US$5.7 billion of external support that we need every year to assure Education for All. Education is not only about getting children to school. It's also about focusing on quality, combatting child labor and teaching people vocational skills.
Time is not on our side. Think of the AIDS pandemic, which is moving faster than we are in some places. In Zambia, double the number of teachers need to be trained, since only one out of every two survives. By 2010, over half of all new AIDS victims will be adolescents. Stopping AIDS means stepping up education, teaching boys and girls the complete ABC of prevention.
In Dakar, we all swore that no country with good education plans would be prevented from implementing them for lack of funds. Many recipient countries are ready to deliver their share of the Fast Track Initiative Compact, the implementation of sustainable education policies. Now the international community has to deliver their share.
The Netherlands is ready. Backed by strong popular support at home, we are committed to tripling our support for education in the coming three years to 600 million euros a year, and you know the euro is stronger than the dollar.
MS. VAN ARDENNE: From day one, the Netherlands committed itself to the Millennium Goals. We provide 90 percent of the FDI Catalytic Fund Budget to support those countries that have good plans but who lack the budget to make things happen, and things do happen in Niger, Mauritania and Yemen.
But what about the rest of the donor community? I challenge more donors to follow suit. Not only do we need more money, but we also need to harmonize our efforts. To guarantee success, the involvement of all stakeholders is needed: not only governments and donors; also civil society, private companies, teachers and parents.
We have to be serious about our commitments. It's not just about more money; it's also about sufficient money, sufficient to get all our children to school, the sooner the better.
Thank you very much.
MR. HAY: Minister, thanks very much indeed.
Now, let me call on the French Development Minister, Xavier Darcos, for a few comments.
MR. DARCOS: [Interpreted from French]. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, France, from the outset attached a high priority to the initiative. In our opinion, this initiative is the most effective way to proceed, the one that will enable us to attain the ambitious objectives set at the Dakar forum, providing universal primary education by 2015 and also providing equal access to girls and boys by 2007.
We have little time. On the basis of an updated diagnosis, which I believe we all share, as Agnes has just said, this novel initiative is going to provide a rigorous frame of reference. We know that official assistance is estimated at the level of US$4 billion to US$6 billion, which is a sizeable figure, so it needs to be doubled.
If the international community backs primary education, we will be able to attain this ambitious objective. Therefore, we welcome the Fast Track Initiative, because it has made this initiative credible by grouping multilateral donors in support of common objectives.
Also, I believe, as has already been said, that we will have the support of public opinion. Last year, France co-chaired the initiative with Norway, and it made efforts to mobilize donors. In order to show its commitment, France decided to reorient its education strategy, to also reorient its foreign assistance system and to increase its financial commitment.
This commitment will result in 54 million euros; that is our contribution over three years. It will be aid provided to the following countries in Africa: Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. This will be a change in scale, because we will be multiplying by 10 our assistance, and we will also change its form.
We also will provide more official development assistance in support of the Millennium Development Goals. We have a twofold priority: we need to mobilize more donors; we must also encourage the World Bank and its staff to provide more support to the initiative through ODA, and we must also identify the means to make this financing sustainable in the medium-term, since we are looking at a 2015 objective.
Our President, Jacques Chirac, said that Education for All will depend on the success of the Fast Track Initiative. We must translate our words into action, and France is ready to work with you to take on this monumental challenge.
MR. HAY: Minister, thank you very much.
I want to welcome our World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn to the podium.
MR. WOLFENSOHN: Good morning. We have half an hour, by the way, so don't disturb things for me.
MR. HAY: Hilde Johnson, on the Minister's immediate left there, is the Development Minister from Norway.
MS. JOHNSON: Thank you.
More than 100 million children, as has been said, are denied their basic human right, access to education. And one fundamental reason is lack of funds. Without money for schools, textbooks and teachers, there will be no education. Without funds, no delivery.
Now, we need an additional US$5.6 billion in order to secure Education for All. This is five times more than current spending on education in development. Can we raise this kind of money? My answer is yes, and I'll tell you why: one illustration: US$5.6 billion is one-third of what is spent on video games every year. Can we raise that much? Should be.
Another illustration: military spending takes approximately US$850 billion; US$5.6 billion is not much money. We know if all developed countries met the UN target of 0.7 percent of their GDP to development assistance and set aside 15 percent of that for education, we would have more than enough funds to offer every child on this Earth what is her right, access to basic education.
Now, this is what Norway is doing, this is what the Netherlands is doing, and if we can do it, so can other developed countries. Shouldn't be that hard. Even with giving higher priority to education within our development budgets, the targets can be met. We are doubling our efforts between 2002 and 2005. Others should do the same.
Four years ago, we committed ourselves to give every girl and boy, the global community, the chance to go to school by 2015, we got all the figures that we're lagging behind. That's why we have no time to lose. We need to Fast Track. And every donor should contribute to the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, the Catalytic Fund, to do so.
In this way, we can fill the financial gap for the poorest countries with good education plans and also not only the donor darlings should get funds but also what we can call the donor orphans amongst the countries.
The Fast Track Initiative was, to a large degree, a result of a G-8 working group on Education for All, and I would like to challenge here the G-8 countries to put EFA, Education for All, and the Fast Track Initiative, back on track on the G-8 agenda, and more importantly to let deeds follow words and to join in with significant funds.
Some of the G-8 countries are here. Now, a long-term goal for is to welcome the G-7 countries to I would say the more important and exclusive club of the G-0.7 and get them to join us. A short-term goal is to get the Fast Track on track. That should be possible within one or two years. By denying children their right to education, we do deny them the skill to read and write, but we also deny them their future, and to just echo what my colleague, Agnes van Ardenne said, this is linked to HIV/AIDS, even. It is actually protection of children.
A recent report from Oxfam indicates that 700,000 people would be spared from being affected by HIV if we had been able to offer Education for All. So we, as rich countries, can make Education for All possible. We have a choice. We can, if we set our priorities right, offer every child on earth access to basic education, irrespective of where she lives and how poor she is. Are we to tell her that her generation must wait? I don't think so. It's up to us, and we just have to deliver on our promises and let her and her friends down.
MR. HAY: Minister, thanks very much, indeed.
Let's turn it over to Jim Wolfensohn for some of his thoughts before we hear from our other participants.
MR. WOLFENSOHN: Well, thank you very much, and let me apologize for being 10 minutes late, but I had two meetings already this morning, and they ran late. I apologize.
I'm especially sorry that I was not able to hear Agnes speak, and I understand that once again, the Netherlands has indicated its enormous support for this initiative, and I must say personally how extremely grateful I am to the Dutch Government, essentially for giving the lead on this in such ample measure and again today taking the lead.
I am also grateful, of course, to my colleagues on my right from France and from Norway as I am to the U.K., Canada, and some others and also to the United States for chairing the last meeting on this.
Let me say in the first instance that having started this Fast Track Initiative, it was with a view to trying to test the resolve of the donor community to come up with resources to meet the Millennial Goals. And frankly, and Hilde was around, we decided on Education for All because we thought it was the subject that everybody would agree on. How could you not agree on education of children?
And so, we started it, and it had quite a number of bumps, and I've been trying to explain to my colleague from Holland, who yesterday told me that I was slow and incompetent in terms of the way in which we conduct ourselves, that it was damn difficult at the beginning to try to get people to focus on this subject and to say if we've got a Millennial Goal, how do you get out the money, and how do you come together to put the money together when people were saying, well, look, I've already given at the office; I don't need to give you any more for this Fast Track Initiative, because I'm already giving money over here.
And so, I guess I plead guilty to looking slow and incompetent, but I must tell you it was damn difficult to try and get this thing into a frame that we could actually focus on the particular objective and come up with a number and say we need this extra money.
Well, I think where we are at now is that we have moved first from--we started with 18 countries; then, we moved back to seven; then, we moved to 12; then, we moved to 18; and by November, we'll be at 40 countries that we can deal with. So whatever have been the delays before, I think really, we are now on track.
And now is the moment of truth. We have gone through all of the preliminaries. We've made all of the excuses. Now, as Hilde said, can we come up with the dough? And can we put it out there in an effective way in terms of this program? Well, my judgment is that we're at that point now. With the help of the Dutch and with others, we have the Catalytic Fund. We are starting to put out money in a way that people in the field can recognize that they will get the funds that they need.
But the fund gap is still very, very significant, and if we're going to get the new more than 100 million kids into school and have them sensibly operating by 2015, and if the countries themselves can know that they have coherent funding--this is really the other aspect of it: you can't get a country to hire teachers and get kids into school if they think they've got one year of funding, because if they do that, they're taking a huge risk. They need consistency and certainty of funding. Otherwise, you can't raise the expectations of kids and then be scrappling around for money because you've been induced to putting this huge program into effect.
And so, what we need to ask our donors for is not only an increased level but a continuing level of funding, and may I say again that the thing we should also understand is that when you get kids into primary school, it imposes an extra obligation on the country, because those kids will want to go to secondary school, and they'll want to go to university. So it is not just a question of the primary school thing.
I was in Kenya about six weeks ago. They got more than a million extra kids into primary school, but it increased the demand already in secondary school for 50,000. So this whole issue of education cannot have a wall around it.
So the big thing is now, I think, we're right in terms of how we're doing it. We've brought, maybe late, 40 countries focused. We've got a mechanism, and now is the moment of truth, and I think that's what we're talking about at this meeting, and I'm extraordinarily grateful to my colleagues here and to our friends in civil society also for their continuing push on this subject.
And may I say seeing the ministers here from the U.K. and Canada here also that I appreciate very much their contribution in what has been done.
MR. HAY: Jim Wolfensohn, thanks very much.
Let me now call on Hillary Benn, the U.K. International Development Secretary of State.
MR. BENN: Well, thanks very much Phil, and this is about, as we've heard this morning, the 100 million--oh, sorry. This is about the 100 million children who tomorrow morning will have no teacher, no classroom, no desk, no textbook, no window on the world because they don't go to school.
And we know that unless we do more now, we're not going to get those 100 million children into school by 2015. Now, the children who will graduate from primary school in 2015 will start school in three years' time, so time really is very short indeed, and we've got to begin today and tomorrow investing in the schools and training the teachers to make sure that they get that education, and there is particularly an urgent need to do that in the interests of the girls who are not in school.
Now, we've seen from countries around the world that it is possible to make progress. Rwanda, for example, recovering from the horror of the genocide; the progress that's been made in Bangladesh, where there are more girls in school now than ever before. Jim talked about Kenya, where the abolition of user fees has put a million plus extra children in school. Mozambique, in the last five years, has doubled the number of children in primary school.
Now, all of those examples show what can be done. Now, the U.K. is playing its part. This year, we've spent US$280 million on supporting education in our programs. Next year, that will rise to US$425 million, and over the next four years, we will invest a total of US$1.7 billion, and we are working with other partners in the international community to make our contribution.
I'm very pleased that the bumps--that was the phrase you used, Jim, the bumps that affected the Fast Track Initiative have now been resolved, and we look forward to rapid implementation. And I am delighted to be able to announce that the U.K. will be contributing US$20 million to the Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund alongside the terrific support that's been given by the Netherlands and others.
This is an initial contribution to provide a quick injection of funds for those countries that don't have enough assistance from the current group of donors. I hope we will be able to do more as the fund really gets going.
And finally, simply to say that as well as being a window on the world, an education does a lot of other things for young people. We've heard a lot already about the effect it can have in reducing the likelihood that people will become HIV-positive. We know that girls who go to school will, if they grow up and have children, result in those children being healthier.
So whichever way you look at it, this is an investment that is really, really worth making, and we've got to do it.
MR. HAY: Secretary of State, thank so much.
Now, let me turn to Aileen Carroll, the Canadian Minister for International Cooperation.
MS. CARROLL: Thank you and good morning.
As a global partnership and framework in response to the Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All Fast Track Initiative is unprecedented. It shows just what is possible when efforts are directly linked to developing countries' Poverty Reduction Strategies and their national Sector Plans.
In a relatively short time, through the Fast Track Initiative, we have supported important local policy reforms. We have encouraged a more unified policy dialogue and harmonized approaches among donors, helping to mobilize additional aid resources in response to sound, locally-owned strategies.
Our approach is a very tangible expression of the partnership principles we mutually agreed to at Monterrey, which Canada takes very seriously indeed. From 2000 to 2005, Canada is quadrupling its expenditures in basic education. And this translates to CDN$150 million this year and CDN$164 million next year. At the G-8 Summit in Kananaskis two years ago, we also committed an additional CDN$100 million annually by 2005 for Africa alone.
So investing in this manner and working very closely with the Fast Track Initiative partners from Mozambique to Honduras, we are helping developing country governments identify key issues in the education sector and make sustainable policy decisions. This is bringing much needed national level attention to universal access, as you've heard us mention this morning; to the quality of education, as was brought very much to my focus yesterday in meetings here; gender equality, a key imperative, a major priority within Canada's pedagogy and our approach to the MDGs, especially but particularly on the education front; and again, as Hillary has mentioned; strategies to deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
However, much more remains to be done. So we are joining our colleagues here in calling on all donors to stand ready, as we are in Canada, to scale up our support, to ensure that every child has access to and the ability to complete primary education.
Advancing the education goals is going to help us move forward on all the other MDGs. There's a spillover from this one that I think is particularly clear and one that we've all discussed in various groups. So by working together closely to support long-term, sustainable development initiatives such as Fast Track, we're going to be able to reach those goals.
So thank you.
MR. HAY: Minister Carroll, thanks very much indeed.
Let me turn it over very quickly to the Finance Minister from Niger, Dr. Ali Lamine Zene.
MR. ZENE: [Interpreted from French] Thank you very much.
It is a dubious honor to share this panel with the very eminent people in this world. As you know, Niger is one of the poorest countries, perhaps the second-poorest, and any initiatives aimed at helping us overcome this situation are welcome to us.
With regard to education, which is the topic of the day, Niger has invested in the special initiative of the UN for Africa, the Dakar initiative, Education for All, and the heads of state's recommendation for these developing countries; all of these initiatives aim at promoting universal primary Education for All by 2015, and in the specific case of my country, we believe that upholding these commitments means achieving the targets and raise the percentage to 100 percent in 2010; the 2003 initiative is 43 percent, and with all of the initiatives underway, we have already reached a figure of 50 percent.
In 2003, we had US$56 million; 2004, US$59 million; 2005, US$63 million; and US$618 million. Between 2003 and 2005, the overall needs are US$119 million. The funding achieved, including national resources that we are expecting, are US$192 million, and that's about US$28 million per year for the total period. Niger will only be able to achieve the Millennium Goals with the help of external resources. We have undertaken a major effort, like all developing countries, and we have sent out a strong political signal that we are implementing the poverty reduction strategy.
This is a main objective, and we are doing this by trying to raise awareness. This is especially important for Niger, in that because of lack of infrastructure, we are unable to get children and teachers into the schoolroom, and we don't have enough supplies every year. There is an average of about 400,000 children going to schools, but we are unable to absorb them all.
The upshot is children that go to school in unsatisfactory conditions, so we need to raise awareness and mobilize funds. And I could go into the details at length, but in short, I would like to thank all of the international community, and many efforts have been made, and I believe that with that help, we will be able to achieve our objectives in 2015.
MR. HAY: Mr. Satyarthi, please, Kailash Satyarthi is chair of the Global Campaign for Education.
MR. SATYARTHI: Thank you.
It has been said that over 100 million children are deprived of their fundamental right to education. But let me bring their aspiration and anguish here in this room, because they have been promised time and again; their hopes have been raised time and again by the international community to ensure good schooling. Not only that; their parents and even their grandparents were given this promise back in 1948 at the time of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I will also like to speak on behalf of 246 million children who are caught in the vicious circle of poverty, child labor and illiteracy, and out of them, approximately two-thirds or even more are languishing in the worst forms of exploitation, including slavery.
I would also like to remind that millions of innocent people, children, are going to be the sufferers of HIV/AIDS very soon, and hundreds of thousands are already there. Let me ask that what is their fault? Is it their sin to be born in the Southern Hemisphere or to be born in poor families or to be born as girls? Unfortunately, this is the truth of the day.
Education is not a charity for them. Education means freedom, freedom from slavery, freedom from poverty and injustice. Education is life for these potential HIV/AIDS victims. Today, the Global Campaign for Education is launching a new research, showing that achieving universal primary education can protect at least 7 million new HIV/AIDS victims in one decade. Similarly, the recent ILO study shows that investment in education for elimination of child labor will give approximately seven times return.
Perhaps you and me can wait, but not the children. Their childhood is stolen every minute, every day, and we have to protect it now, not tomorrow. Is it not a shame that when we talk of military and defense and war budgets, we use the figures of billions, but when it comes to education, we always talk in millions? Why can't we go beyond that and talk of billions which is required for education?
How long will we keep talking about more money for education? We have to talk about enough money for education, which has been promised by the international community. The good news is that during the last one week, under the auspices of the Global Campaign for Education, over 1 million children were on the streets on behalf of these 100 million children. Over a dozens heads of nations and heads of state joined hands with these children. Hundreds of parliament members--you were referring to the U.K.--hundreds of parliament members all over the world and dozens of ministers for education and development joined hands with these children for education in the world's biggest lobby week, which we organized.
Now, the good news is that we are having more involvement of people and children, but we should look for better news. The money should be on the table; that would be the better news. We should look for the best news: that we are able to eradicate illiteracy from the face of mankind.
Friends, let me finish with Jama, an 11-year-old girl, Jama, from Africa, traveled with me all the way to Washington, D.C. in 2000 at the time of the Special Session UNGAS. She came also to the Bank building across the road when we organized a meeting with some of the Executive Directors, and she said a very simple thing: looking at the big building, she said we are not demanding big buildings; we are not demanding cars; we are not demanding your luxury lives. What we are simply demanding is a simple school. We are demanding books in our hands. We demand our right to learn. Jama said is it too much? Is it too much to ask?
This is the question I'm asking to all of you: is it too much to ask for these children, Jama and 100 million more children, their right to be educated, their right to learn? It is not really a big deal. It is the matter of political will we have engender. It's the matter of finding a paradigm of poverty alleviation, Education for All and elimination of child labor, because the children missing out from the schools are the victims of this treatment.
Thank you very much.
MR. HAY: Kailash Satyarthi, thanks very much.
Let's squeeze in a few questions before the ministers and others have to go off to the Development Committee. If we can see any hands, let us know who you are; gentleman just here on the left.
QUESTION: Marty Krutzinger with the Associated Press.
Mr. Wolfensohn, you said now is the moment of truth. What can you tell us from these discussions this weekend? Has there been progress made? And if not, when do you expect progress will be made on these contributions?
MR. WOLFENSOHN: Well, we're meeting, as you know, today. So I may know more at the end of the day, but the one thing that I have sensed in the preliminary meetings of the G-7 and the discussions yesterday at the IMFC meeting is that I think people have come to the point where all the analysis is done. It was done in Monterrey; it was done in Johannesburg; the Africans did their own analysis in NEPAD.
In the case of Education for All, the preliminary work has been done. And now, we are faced with the decision of what is going to happen on the Doha Round in trade and how much additional assistance is going to be put up by the developed countries, and for the developing countries, they have to also face their challenges of building their capacity, of improving their legal and judicial systems to protect rights, of clarifying their financial systems and fighting corruption.
The deal is very clear: the developing countries know what they have to do; the rich countries know what they have to do, and now, we just have to get on and do it. And now, I think what you're seeing today is an example of the case of Education for All under the leadership of the people at this table that at least on this subject, there is now momentum. And I'm delighted that we've had this campaign for children and speaking on behalf of the children at the table, but I think you could say grudgingly, Kailash, that the people at this table at least are on the same moral equivalent as you are. We feel the same thing, and we are trying to do it.
And so, I hope it's not campaigning against us. We started the Education for All campaign. I was not there at the time of the Declaration of Human Rights, but I think at least this group here are pretty active in trying to bring this thing home, and we're alongside you in what you're trying to do.
MR. HAY: Gentleman just up here on the right. Yes; if you'd let us know who you are. There's a button just there.
QUESTION: Hi, it's Christopher Swan from the Financial Times.
I'm just wondering, given that many countries are emerging from HIPC, the HIPC process still with unsustainable debt levels, what plans there are at these meetings to address that.
MR. WOLFENSOHN: That is, I'm very happy to say, a subject which was very well discussed yesterday at the IMFC meetings. I have been concerned before the meetings about the 11 countries that have not yet qualified for HIPC and that could be affected by the so-called sunset clause at the end of the year, which would exclude them from HIPC, and I made the observation that the HIPC may disappear at the end of the year, but the countries are not going to disappear, and maybe it would be better if we could think about extending it.
And I think there was a recognition yesterday that at the Annual Meetings, that will be taken up. But the other thing which I thought was very important was that the whole question of debt and the importance of the issue of debt was, I think, recognized by all of the ministers. We will be discussing it a bit today, as you know, in the Development Committee, but my expectation is that during the coming six months and certainly by the Annual Meetings, a lot more attention will have been given to the debt question.
I can't tell you where it will come out. The one thing I can tell you, though, accurately is that I think everybody recognizes that debt remains a very important issue, and I think people were looking at it purposefully yesterday.
MR. HAY: Any other questions? we have a gentleman just here.
QUESTION: This is for Mr. Wolfensohn. My name is Asmouk Shah from Business Times.
Sir, Mr. Satyarthi just mentioned that we are spending billions--we means the world community--spends billions for wars and other purposes. I'm taking the example of the United States; now, almost every day, we are spending US$1 billion in fighting in the Middle East, in Iraq. Now, we need, for the children's education, an equal number of funds, and we are only just talking millions.
Can you say that you think the Bush administration might be able to spare some more money for the mankind in the future?
MR. WOLFENSOHN: Well, I, of course, don't represent the United States, but I think it's fair to say that the United States has indicated under President Bush an increase of US$5 billion on the US$10 billion it already provides in development assistance, and it's put out US$15 billion for AIDS.
So I don't think that we can trivialize that contribution. But I would say this at a much broader level: that the numbers are these. We spend US$900 billion on defense globally. We spend US$300 billion plus on agricultural subsidies, and we spend between US$50 billion and US$60 billion on development, of which only a portion is education, and that seems to me to be the most nonsensical thing that you could imagine.
I suggested humorously the other day that if we spent US$900 billion on development, we probably wouldn't need to spend more than US$50 billion on defense, but that seems an unlikely immediate result of these meetings.
MR. WOLFENSOHN: But I do think that this imbalance is just so obviously ludicrous that we need to focus on the causes of conflict and the causes of instability.
And one of the principal causes, if not the principal cause of all of this, is education and opportunity, and so, that's why we're here. And so, we keep pressing away, and hopefully, we'll bring about some change.
MR. HAY: And on that final note, let me just say thanks very much indeed for coming along this morning. The ministers now need to go off to the Development Committee. My thanks also to Kailash Satyarthi for coming all the way from India; Minister Zene, of course, from Niger and all of the other ministers for making their time available. Thanks very much indeed.
[Whereupon, at 8:46 a.m., the press conference was concluded.]
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