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Bosnia's Administrator Imposes Decree On Mostar

Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina; 28 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Bosnia's international administrator today imposed a decree to unify Mostar, a town ethnically divided since last decade's war among Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.

Paddy Ashdown said the new statute "will abolish the six city municipalities and create a single city assembly and single city administration." He said the decision will reduce the number of elected politicians in Mostar from 194 to 35, and will guarantee that no group can have a majority in the city council.

Ashdown announced his decision after a series of meetings with local leaders aimed at re-establishing equal rights for Croats, Muslims, and Serbs.

Before the country's 1992-95 war, Mostar had roughly equal numbers of Muslims, Croats, and Serbs with equal rights. But since the end of the war, Mostar has been tense and divided, with the west controlled by majority Bosnian Croats and the east by minority Muslims. Most Serbs also live in the east.