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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 19:47 GMT
Yugoslavia consigned to history
Marshal Josip Tito
Tito's post-war state is finally at an end
The Yugoslav parliament has voted itself out of existence, dissolving the Yugoslav federation after nearly 74 years.

From now on it will be called just Serbia and Montenegro - the two remaining republics joined in a loose union

YUGOSLAVIA'S RISE AND FALL
1918 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is created
1929 - kingdom is renamed Yugoslavia
1945 - becomes communist state under Tito
1990s - four states break away
2003 - Yugoslavia vanishes, rump state becomes Union of Serbia and Montenegro
Yugoslavia lost its other four republics in the bloody wars of independence in the 1990s, as Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia broke away.

Under the new arrangement, Serbia and Montenegro have the right to vote for independence in three years' time.

"This is a final act in a formation of a new country," the parliament speaker, Dragoljub Micunovic said.

The BBC's Alix Kroeger in Belgrade said there was little sense of regret for the reduced Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

But, our correspondent adds, there was much more nostalgia for the old, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia - which broke up more than a decade ago and will never be recreated.

The forerunner of Yugoslavia was founded after World War I as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, becoming Yugoslavia in 1929.

The federal socialist state was born after World War II under the communist rule of Marshal Josip Tito.

But as communism unravelled across Europe, Yugoslavia's republics began to break away.

Montenegro had been moving towards independence when the European Union applied diplomatic pressure to stop it in its tracks.

Compromise

Correspondents say the EU-brokered deal has satisfied neither those who wanted to preserve the federation nor those who wanted the two republics to go their separate ways.

Open in new window : Yugoslavia ends
Voices from Belgrade

The name Serbia and Montenegro is criticised for being unimaginative, and being difficult to chant at sporting fixtures.

A small joint administration will run defence, foreign affairs, international economic relations, and human rights.

All other every-day matters will be run separately in the two capitals, Belgrade and Podgorica.

Belgrade will technically remain the federation's capital, although some joint functions will be based in Montenegro.

Breathing space

Both republics can hold referendums on full independence in three years.

UNION DEAL
Common foreign, defence, trade and human rights policy
Separate parliaments plus central parliament
Weak central presidency
Separate currencies
Belgrade remains capital
Right to secede after three years
BBC south-east Europe correspondent Gabriel Partos says the international community is keen to prevent Serbia and Montenegro separating because this could encourage other communities in the Balkans to split apart.

He says that few expect the new union to last much more than three years, but that this will be a valuable breathing space in which the region will have become more stable.

Although the new state will have a president, the last Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, has been seeking re-election as Serbian president.

Serbia is by far the bigger partner in the new federation. Its population of 10 million dwarfs the 650,000 population of Montenegro.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Goran Svilanovic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister
"We will have several years to see whether it is feasible or not"
See also:

25 Jan 03 | From Our Own Correspondent
15 Mar 02 | Media reports
15 Mar 02 | Europe
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