Montenegro's government and opposition leaders have agreed to hold a referendum on May 21 on the republic's independence.

Officials announced the decision Tuesday following talks with European Union envoy Miroslav Lajcak.

Montenegro's parliament is to meet Wednesday to consider the referendum plan.

Officials say the agreement calls for postponing local elections, originally set for March, to coincide with a parliamentary vote later in the year.

The two sides accepted an EU proposal that 55 percent of those casting ballots must back independence for the referendum to be approved.

The 2003 agreement that transformed the former Yugoslavia into Serbia and Montenegro allows the Montenegrins to move towards independence this year.

Montenegro was the only republic to remain with Serbia after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

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