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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Bosnia 'destabilised by Bin Laden slur'

International officials in Bosnia have blamed Croat and Serb hardliners for destabilising the country with allegations about Osama bin Laden's links with the Bosnian authorities.

A spokesman for the country's international administrator - the High Representative, Wolfgang Petritsch - said the hardliners were taking advantage of last week's events in the United States to advance their own agenda.

The local media has speculated that Osama Bin Laden had bases in Bosnia and had obtained a Bosnian passport.

The Bosnian authorities have denied the allegations, and said they have investigated all passports issued since 1992.

Correspondents say the allegations have been fuelled by the presence of Muslim soldiers in the country during the war almost 10 years ago.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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