Outside world chooses new flag for Bosnia

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The Independent Online
Bosnia's feuding Muslims, Croats and Serbs were unable to agree on a new flag for their divided country yesterday, so the outside world chose one for them. Carlos Westendorp, the International High Representative for Bosnia, stepped in after the internationally-imposed deadline expired for Bosnia's parliament to choose one of three designs.

Flags, number plates and coats of arms are the stuff of wars in Bosnia, where the three communities cling passionately to their national symbols - an eagle for the Serbs, a fleur-de-lys for the Muslims and a chequerboard for the Croats. Mr Westerndorp's flag rides roughshod over the old icons of statehood; his design is a yellow triangle with a line of white stars on a blue background. "The triangle represents the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and the blue and the stars represent Europe," his spokesman said.

The flag will be used for the first time by the Bosnian team competing in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, this weekend.

- Marcus Tanner

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