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Bosnia: Christopher Receives Enthusiastic Welcome On Tour of Sarajevo

Sarajevo, 15 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher was greeted with cheers and applause from small but enthusiastic crowds as he toured Sarajevo's old town center on foot today on a one-day visit to the Bosnian capital. Christopher bought a bunch of grapes at a fruit and vegetable shop and was given a Bosnian flag and a T-shirt by a man in the old town's market square. The man called Christopher "a real friend to my country."

On a somber note, Christopher also placed flowers at the site where 41 people died when a shell hit a bread line in the center of town in 1992.

Christopher was in Sarajevo to encourage Bosnians to vote in next month's country-wide elections. His arrival also marked the formal opening of Sarajevo's airport to commercial flights.

Speaking after the arrival of a commercial flight from Istanbul, Christopher said that the airport -- for nearly four years a symbol of isolation -- is now a symbol of Sarajevo's re-integration with the world.

Meanwhile, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who hosted Christopher in Sarajevo, welcomed the agreement of Bosnian Croats to dissolve their separatist mini-state of Herzeg-Bosna by the end of the month.