Belgrade, 4 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Yugoslavia's federal parliament has approved a new constitution which dissolves the Yugoslav Federation, replacing it with a new loose union called Serbia and Montenegro. The Western-brokered union came into effect immediately after a vote in favor of it by Yugoslavia's lower house followed a similar vote by the upper house earlier today.
Parliamentary Chairman Dragoljub Micunovic said after the lower house vote in Belgrade that a "major task" has been completed, and that time is now needed to "breathe life into the new state."
Under the new constitution, the new country of Serbia and Montenegro will be held together only by a small joint administration running defense and foreign affairs. The new constitution allows each republic to hold a referendum on full independence after three years.
Serbia and Montenegro were the last two republics in Yugoslavia after the old six-member socialist federation collapsed in bloodshed during the rule of Slobodan Milosevic in the early 1990s.
The parliaments of both Serbia and Montenegro have already approved the constitutional charter.