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Serbia Declares Own Independence After Montenegro's Split


Serbia has declared itself a sovereign state, following Montenegro's decision to split from the union with its larger neighbor.

All 126 lawmakers present in the 250 seat assembly in Belgrade Monday voted for sovereignty. In a brief ceremony, the flag of Serbia and Montenegro was removed from the parliament building in Belgrade and replaced with the Serbian ensign.

Legislators also instructed state institutions to resolve all remaining issues with Montenegro within 45 days.

Neither Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica nor President Boris Tadic attended the assembly session.

Montenegro's vote May 21 to split from Serbia-Montenegro ended the 88-year union of the two republics. The Montenegrin parliament formally declared independence late Saturday. It was the final act in the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

On Sunday, the last president of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, stepped down and the federal parliament announced it would not meet again.

The Montenegrin head of the federal army was replaced by a top Serbian officer. Other changes are expected in the coming weeks.

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

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