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Belgrade, Ljubljana reach cease-fire after bloody crackdown

By
PETER S. GREEN

LJUBLJANA, Yugoslavia -- Yugoslavia reached a cease-fire agreement Friday night with Slovenia, ending a bloody, 24-hour crackdown in which federal forces seized all international border checkpoints in the breakaway republic.

But Slovenian officials said the federal forces were using the cease- fire to reposition troops. They said the Yugoslav People's Army committed 12 violations of the agreement within the first two hours.

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Ethnic violence persisted in Croatia, where at least eight people have been killed and 21 wounded since the two republics declared independence Tuesday night.

Slovenian President Milan Kucan said in an address on Ljubljana Television that he had agreed with Adm. Stane Brovec, the Yugoslav deputy defense minister, to a cease-fire effective at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EDT).

The cease-fire followed an announcement by the federal government in Belgrade that the Yugoslav People's Army had completed the job of seizing all 28 checkpoints along Slovenia's frontiers with Italy, Austria and Hungary and so would cease maneuvers in the republic. The federal crackdown began Thursday.

Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic's government also called for 'an opening of the process of negotiations which should lead to a solution of the crisis in Yugoslavia in a democratic and peaceful way.'

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The Slovenian leadership has demanded a withdrawal of the Yugoslav People's Army from Yugoslavia's westernmost republic as a condition for negotiations, and on Friday night said any negotiations should be held with the understanding that its declaration of independence is irrevocable.

Sporadic fighting continued into the evening, and it was unclear whether the cease-fire order had reached army troops in the field. 'Conflicts are everywhere where units of the Slovene forces have not yet surrendered,' Slovenian Defense Minister Janez Jansa said. 'We will not yield to the occupying army.'

Slovenian television said several border points were still controlled by Slovenia, including Nove Gorica on the Italian border, which was taken back in the evening, but this report could not be independently confirmed.

Reports on Slovene radio quoted the Slovenian authorities as saying Army tanks were moving on Ljubljana's Brnik airport, where sporadic fighting was reported.

'They are trying to shift their positions, remove barricades, and take new positions near state borders,' a statement from the defense ministry said.

Shooting also was reported in Vrhnika, 15 miles southwest of Ljubljana, and outside Dravograd near the Austrian border, where earlier in the day Yugoslavia Air Force planes had attacked Slovenian forces in an unsuccesful effort to free an armored column trapped between two roadblocks.

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In Ljubljana, Kacin said a group of 70 federal soldiers had tried to break out of their barracks, but they were quickly controlled by Slovene forces.

European and other Western countries have expressed concern at the bloodshed. The European Community, meeting in Luxembourg, suspended then apparently restored $925 million in aid to Yugoslavia and sent a three- member delegation to Belgrade to urge a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The fighting in Slovenia left many casualties. The Yugoslav Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Milan Gvero said 10 members of the Yugoslav army -- five officers and five soldiers -- were killed. He said he did not know the number of Slovene troops killed.

Slovenian Defense Minister Janez Jansa had said at least 100 soldiers, most of them federal troops, were killed in Thursday's fighting and that Slovenian troops had shot down at least six Yugoslav helicopters and destroyed 15 tanks. These figures could not be independently confirmed.

Slovenian officials also reported the deaths of two photographers, a French and a German, whose rental car was caught in the crossfire between federal troops and the local militia at the airport outside Ljubljana.

In Ljubljana, Slovenian Information Secretary Jelko Kacin said four Yugoslav warplanes bombed the Brnik airport, Slovenia's most important airport located outside the capital.

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The bombs destroyed an old plane that was placed on the runway by Slovenian police and territorial defense troops to prevent federal warplanes from landing. There were no reported casulaties but one hangar was hit and burst into flames.

In another air raid, two Yugoslav fighters bombed barricades on a main road between the Croatian capital of Zagreb and Ljubljana to clear the way for 60 federal armored vehicles advancing towards the borders with Austria and Hungary.NEWLN: (1stadd stands)

Federal authorities already control all the checkpoints on the Italian border. Yugoslav authorities said federal police will take over all remaining border crossings to Austria and Italy in Slovenia by the end of the day.

The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said 386 federal policemen arrived in Slovania Thursday to complete the takeover.

The federal Interior Ministry said Slovenian police shot at federal police and put up roadblocks to thwart their deployment. 'During an armed attack near the Karavanke crossing on the border with Austria, an army helicopter was downed and a federal policeman slightly injured,' the statement said. 'About 30 federal policemen were surrounded.'

Before leaving some border posts, Slovenian policemen damaged or destroyed most of the equipment, cut off telephone lines and destroyed or took away documents, it said.

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Federal police have control of the border crossings of Fernetici, Jesnice, Hodos, Skofje, Dolga Vas, Getberovic, Duh na Ostrem Vrhu, Jezersko, Predelj, Uceje, Robic, Lipica and Karavanke, it added.

In Croatia, the National Security Council in Zagreb, the Croatian capital 250 miles west of Belgrade, Friday proposed raising the 'combat readiness' of its paramilitary national guard and police as well as partial mobilization of these forces in Serbian-dominated enclaves.

Croatia threatened to ban federal forces from its territory if the troops did not return to barracks, according to a statement issued Friday after a session of the Croatian leadership chaired by President Franjo Tudjman.

The leadership demanded that the federal government explain its 'extreme ruthlessness and brutality' in Slovenia and 'aggressive' movements of armored vehicles in Croatia.'

Federal troops overnight surrounded a grain silo at Vukovar, 100 miles northwest of Belgrade, in search of suspected Croatian sharpshooters, after sporadic fire was targeted at Yugoslav troops. The search was futile, Tanjug said.

In the Croatian town of Borovo, near Vukovar, about 20 armed Serbs came from their village and exchanged fire with residents of Borovo. There were no reports of casualties, Tanjug said.

The European Community announced it was suspending $925 million in aid to Yugsoavia and was sending a delegation to encourage a peaceful settlement to the civil war.

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While the United States and most other nations called for a peaceful resolution of the dispute and an end to the violence, the two breakaway republics received congratulatory messages from leaders in Slovakia, one of Czechoslovakia's two republics.

Jan Carnogursky of the Slovak Christian Democratic Movement, who is also the Slovakian premier, wished the two republics 'success in building their statehood by democratic means.'

Jozef Prokes of the Slovak National Party assured them his party's parliamentary deputies 'will do everything for the international recognition of Croatia and Slovenia.'

The Slovak National Party favors Slovak independence.

Slovenia and Croatia have emphasized that their declarations of independence did not amount to secession but instead the beginning of an effort to turn the Yugoslav federation into a loose alliance.

The two republics want the federation dissolved into a common market- style association of independent states to escape perceived domination by Serbia, the largest republic with 8.5 million people.

The Marxist government of Serbia, in the east, wants to preserve the federation or redraw internal borders so all Serbs would live in one state to guarantee their political and civil rights. Serbia thus would annex Serbian-dominated enclaves in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

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About 600,000 Serbs live in Croatia and another 1.4 million live in Yugoslavia's central republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Annexation of these enclaves by Serbia is widely believed to mean civil war.

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