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Bosnian President Asks U.S. to 'Stay With Bosnia' Despite Reform Setback

An exclusive interview about the Bosnian President's meetings with senior U.S. officials

Washington, D.C., May 12, 2006 - Bosnian President Sulejman Tihic told the Voice of America (VOA) Thursday that the main purpose of his current visit to Washington is to ask U.S. officials "not to abandon us" in light of the failure of recent Constitutional reforms.

"Stay with Bosnia, keep on helping Bosnia move forward, don't abandon it," said President Tihic. He told VOA that when U.S. Vice President Richard B. Cheney asked why he was unable to secure the two votes by which the referendums failed, he responded: "Most of the Bosnian people want the reforms, and most of the members of the Parliament support them. That is why we pleaded with the U.S. not to abandon us now, and to help us try again to adopt the reforms as soon as possible."

President Tihic made his comments in an exclusive interview at the Voice of America headquarters in Washington after separate meetings earlier in the day with U.S. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The interview was broadcast live on VOA's Bosnian language TV program Studio Washington.

President Tihic also commented on the upcoming referendum in Montenegro. "Their will expressed through the referendum should be respected," he said. He called the discussion on the future status of Kosovo "more complex," but added, "Whatever the outcome, it should in no way influence the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia." He was alluding to the claim by some Bosnian and Serbian Serbs that if Kosovars gain independence, a Bosnian Serb entity should also be allowed departure from Bosnia.

VOA's Bosnian Service broadcasts Studio Washington, a 30-minute TV news program that is also simulcast on radio, every weekday. The service also sends a daily feed of the major news story from the U.S. to major Bosnian TV stations for their prime time newscasts. Programs are also available on the Internet at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

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