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Army proposes 12-point withdrawal plan

By
PETER S. GREEN

LJUBLJANA, Yugoslavia -- Yugoslav People's Army commanders Saturday proposed a 12-point plan to end fighting in the rebel republics of Croatia and Slovenia, warning that any resistance to the plan would be crushed by federal forces.

Yugoslav Lt. Gen. Marko Negovanovic accused Slovenia's forces of disrespecting an preliminary cease-fire agreed to Friday evening and issued a stern warning.

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Negovanovic, in a statement on national television said: 'If the Slovenian leadership fails to fulfill these demands, the staff will order measures, as the situation in the country requires, including the rise of combat readiness of the Yugoslav Peoples Army to a maximum, the needed mobilization and resolute military measures.'

In Croatia, a 'general mobilization of all its armed forces is nearing its end,' he said, adding that the military wants a 'peaceful and democratic solution to the Yugoslav crisis.'

'The situation in the country is dramatic. Yugoslavia is facing disintegration. Fierce inter-ethnic conflicts are being waged. We are at the beginning of civil war.'

The military's statement came only hours after Yugoslav leaders canceled a session of the eight-member federal state presidency originally slated for 7 p.m. Saturday in Belgrade. Croat Stjepan Mesic was to be confirmed as the new head of the federal presidency at the meeting.

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The national news agency Tanjug gave no reason for the cancellation but earlier Yugoslav officials said the talks would not be held until all shooting had stopped in Slovenia. There were reports of sporadic fighting in the republic.

The leader of the group presidency, which has one representative from each of the six republics and two autonomous provinces, is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The concrete terms proposed for a cease-fire are seen in Ljubljana as a vital first step to returning federal troops to their barracks and preventing the breakdown of a European Community-brokered peace plan agreed to in Zagreb by the Yugoslav government, Croatia and Slovenia.

Before the cease-fire plan was announced, Information Minister Jelko Kacin said federal army units would have to stay in their current positions to keep the Slovene forces from 'misinterpreting' their movements and accidentally firing on them.

The plan was presented to the Slovenes by Gen. Andrsa Rasida, deputy commander of the Yugoslav army's Fifth Army district, which includes Slovenia.

Slovene Defense Minister Janez Jansa said he would not decide whether to accept the plan until he saw it in writing. Jansa said most technical aspects of the plan appeared workable, although it had some problems.

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Jansa said the plan called for 'the return of all borders to their status before the process of Slovene independence began.'

He called this a political demand and said it was 'unacceptable and completely incomprehensible.'NEWLN: more

Slovenia formally took control of its international border crossings hours after declaring independence Tuesday. But in its bid to regain titular control of the breakaway republic, the federal government said it recaptured all 27 crossings from Slovene forces by Friday. Witnesses said, however, some checkpoints remained in the hands of the Slovenes.

The federal army used tanks, airplanes and helicopters in its battle for control of the border posts and Slovenia's two major airports. Casualty reports could not be confirmed, but Slovene Information Minister Jelko Kalin told the BBC that 27 people were killed in the republic during two days of fighting. On Thursday, Jansa said 100 people had been killed or wounded.

Jansa said some parts of the cease-fire proposal would be acceptable but others would have to wait until the troops returned to their barracks.

Among the acceptable points were the return of army dead and wounded, the enforcement of a cease-fire, the release of captured federal police units; the supply of soldiers with food and medicine and an end to persecution of army officers' families.

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Jansa said resupply missions could not be carried out by helicopter.

Among the points that caused problems were a return to normal working conditions for the military in Slovenia and the restoration of army infrastructure and communications systems, which Jansa said was possible only if the troops returned to their barracks; the release of blockaded units, the return of army technical facilities and equipment and the resumption of army contracts with local subcontractors, which Jansa said could only be discussed after war indemnities were settled.

Slovene Information Minister Jelko Kacin said there was shooting around a federal army tank column moving along the Drava River valley but that the tanks had not started to move past Slovene roadblocks.

Kacin said Slovene troops controlled Ljubljana's Brnik airport but the runways remained blocked and federal tanks continued to surround the airport.

Kacin said that the bodies of two photojournalists, an Austrian and a German, were recovered from the airport where they were killed in crossfire.

The Yugoslav army is dominated by an officer corps taht is 70 percent Serbian. Many Serbian officers are hard-line Communists who have repeatedly voiced outrage at the desire of Slovenia and Croatia to leave the Yugoslav federation.

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Ethnic conflict between the Serbs and Croats has been at the heart of a two-month-old crisis in the leadership of the federal government. Prime Minister Ante Markovic, a yout, tried to resolve that crisis by demanding that Mesic be named to the chairmanship of the eight-man federal presidency that is supposed to command the army.

Serbia and its allies blocked the election of Mesic on May$0u, The move was denounced by the U.S. government because under Yugoslavia's system of goverment, the one-year rotating position was guaranteed to go to Croatia's representative this year.

Serbia's obstruction of Mesic helped trigger this week's crisis, the bloodiest fighting in Yugoslavia since World War II. Outraged Croatian leaders decided, after Mesic was blocked from leading the presidency, that they would join Slovenia in declaring independence.

Serbia insists on a strong Yugoslav federation, while Croatia and Slovenia favor a loose union of sovereign states.

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