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Serbian President Recognizes Montenegro's Independence


Serbian President Boris Tadic has recognized the results of Montenegro's independence vote, which separates the tiny Adriatic republic from its union with Serbia.

Speaking Tuesday, Mr. Tadic said he supported the preservation of a joint state. But he said that as a democratic president he also recognizes the free will of the Montenegrin people.

Earlier, Montenegro's foreign minister said his government hopes to complete talks with Serbia on dissolving their union within 90 days.

Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlashovic said he hopes to start talks with Belgrade as soon as Sunday's independence referendum results are final.

The vote tally will not become official until Saturday, to allow for any challenges. Independence opponents have called for a recount, but it is not clear whether a formal appeal will be filed.

Montenegro's top referendum official confirmed Tuesday that 55.5 percent of voters cast ballots Sunday for independence. The results barely exceeded the 55 percent needed for approval. Officials say the turnout exceeded 86 percent.

The poll results signal the final break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia broke away during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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