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Balkan Leaders Impressed by Ability of U.S. Political Process to Bring Together People of Diverse Opinions

Washington, D.C., Sept. 1, 2004 - Balkan political leaders are observing the Republican and Democratic party national conventions as invited guests, and are sharing their impressions with VOA's radio and TV audiences in Southern Europe as well as through, the Voice of America's multimedia, multilingual website.

Leaders from the region told VOA audiences in the Balkans of their experiences during July's Democratic National Convention. More are doing so now during the Republican Convention. They commented in particular on how the U.S. political convention process brings together people of diverse opinions within one party, and how they then engage in a vigorous debate with the opposing party. They also observed how Democrats and Republicans are still able to communicate and work together on common political goals.

Guests have included Hashim Thaci, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, and Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, former Bosnian Prime Minister and current President of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia.

Mladen Ivanic, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will appear live during tomorrow's VOA Bosnian TV news program Studio Washington. The program will originate Thursday from the Republican National Convention in New York, starting at 23:30 Central European Time.

In addition to its regular television and radio programs to the Balkans and Eurasia, during the Republican National Convention the Voice of America is sending special television and radio reports in Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Greek, Macedonian, Russian, and Ukrainian to TV networks and stations in the region.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 94 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-mail