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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Montenegro picks national symbols
Serbia and Montenegro
Montenegro's parliament has voted to adopt a new flag, national anthem and national day, as part of a push for the republic's independence from Serbia.

Parliamentary speaker Ranko Krivokapic, said the road to Montenegro's independence was now irrevocable.

There was no immediate reaction from Serbia to Monday's vote. Serbia and Montenegro stayed together after the former Yugoslavia broke up in 1991.

But the initial federal interdependence became a loose union last year.

Both republics now enjoy control over almost all policy areas.

Serbian leaders are said to favour a continued union with Montenegro but have suggested they would accept the independence of Montenegro, according to the Associated Press.

"For the first time in history we have all three symbols of a nation," said Mr Krivokapic.

"The road to Montenegro's independence is irrevocable."

Uprising

The flag approved by MPs to replace the current red, blue, and white flag will be red with a golden coat-of-arms depicting a two-headed eagle under a royal crown and carrying a shield with an engraved lion.

The national day of 13 July marks the date in 1878 when the Berlin Congress recognised Montenegro as the 27th independent state in the world.

It was also the day in 1941 when Montenegrins staged an uprising against Nazi occupiers and sided with the partisan communist guerrilla movement.

Parliament selected the popular "Oh Bright Dawn" as the national anthem.

Serbia and Montenegro can stage referendums on independence after 2006 under the European Union plan which transformed Yugoslavia.


SEE ALSO:
Ex-Yugoslavs row over flag
21 Apr 03  |  Europe
Timeline: After Milosevic
28 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
05 May 04  |  Country profiles


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