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SARAJEVO -- Sarajevo's mayor says the international television news network Al-Jazeera will buy a local TV and radio station from city authorities and establish a regional news center in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Alija Behmen said the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera will purchase indebted Studio 99 from the city government, which acquired the station several months ago in order to set up a public broadcaster for the city.

"Al-Jazeera will establish a regional office in Sarajevo, which is expected to lead to the creation of new jobs," Behmen told journalists.

He said Al-Jazeera will pay the city about 160,000 euros ($210,000) for the station, the amount the city authorities have invested in Studio 99, a music and news radio and TV station which has fallen on hard times because of rising debts and a shrinking market share.

Al-Jazeera's office in Doha declined to comment on Behmen's claim.

Studio 99 was launched in 1992, at the beginning of Bosnia's 1992-95 war and the 43-month-long siege of Sarajevo. It was widely praised for broadcasting content that promoted tolerance and multiculturalism.

It survived largely due to international funding but struggled after those sources ended their support for the station in the late 1990s.
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