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VOA Interviews Balkan Presidents on Kosovo


Washington, D.C., September 26, 2008 - Kosovan President Fatmir Sejdiu, in an interview today with the Voice of America (VOA), said he continues to lobby his Balkan neighbors to officially recognize his country's independence from Serbia.

In separate interviews with VOA, Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić and Albanian President Bamir Topi said they support Kosovo's independence and are opposed to Serbia's request that the International Court of Justice issue an opinion on the legitimacy of Kosovo's independence.

But Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović told VOA, "Since the debate on Serbia's initiative is scheduled for the first part of October, I do not see the need to express my country's position." He said his country sought good relations with both Serbia and Kosovo, and recognition of Kosovo would come "at the appropriate time."

Kosovo's Sejdiu said he hoped the Balkan states, Macedonia and Montenegro, in particular, would back Kosovo, which has the recognition of 47 countries, including the United States. Serbia viewed Kosovo's February 2008 declaration of independence as an act of secession.

"This would be very important for us, as it would complete the cycle of recognition from the neighboring countries, with the exception of Serbia, and would be a very positive signal for the countries that are far away from Kosovo," Sejdiu said.

Earlier this week VOA interviewed Serbian President Boris Tadić. All of the interviews were featured in newscasts reaching the Balkan nations and can be viewed by selecting the appropriate language on VOA's main website at www.VOANews.com.

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 approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.

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