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Wednesday, February 4, 1998 Published at 17:30 GMT

World: Europe

New flag imposed on Bosnians
image: [ A section of the new Bosnian flag ]
A section of the new Bosnian flag

The international high representative in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Carlos Westendorp, has imposed a new state flag after Muslims, Serbs and Croats failed to agree on a design.

The new flag will have a dark blue background, suggestive of the European Union flag and other European emblems, with a yellow triangle and white stars along the longest side of that triangle.

Duncan Bullivant, a spokesman for Mr Westendorp, said the flag - a yellow triangle and white stars on a dark blue background - represented unity, not division.

He defended criticism of the design by saying: "This is the flag of the future," he said. It is a flag that belongs in Europe."

He said it would be carried by the Bosnian team at the Winter Olympics in Japan on Saturday.

Bosnian Serbs and Croats were opposed to designs without any national symbols, and had argued over the issue in their joint parliament.

Last month, Mr Westendorp the final design of Bosnia's currency after deadlock on that issue as well.

The new currency is to be introduced in April.

He has also introduced a new passport and citizenship law after Bosnian leaders failed to resolve their differences over that issue.

However, they leaders did manage to agree recently on the design of a new car licence plate which makes it virtually impossible to tell whether the driver comes from the Bosnian-Serb Republic or from the Muslim-Croat Federation.

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