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Alija Izetbegovic

Age: 78

Bosnian politician who presided over Bosnia's move toward independence in the early 1990s. In a March 1992 referendum, Bosnian voters chose independence, and President Izetbegovic, a Muslim, declared the nation an independent state. But Bosnia was an ethnic tangle of Muslims (44%), Serbs (31%), and Croats (17%), and this mix contributed to the duration and savagery of its fight for independence. War ravaged the nation until NATO intervened in 1995. In 1996, Izetbegovic was chosen to head a three-member presidency of Bosnia. He stepped down in 2000.

Died: Sarajevo, Oct. 19, 2003

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More on Alija Izetbegovic from Infoplease:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Information on Bosnia and Herzegovina — geography, history, politics, government, economy, population statistics, culture, religion, languages, largest cities, as well as a map and the national flag.

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