Yugoslav Peace Plan Inches Ahead Killing of Observers Appears to Prompt Military Ouster, New Commitment to Support Plan. PEACEKEEPING FORCES

Article excerpt

THE Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army has reaffirmed its commitment to the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Croatia, easing fears of a coup by Serbian nationalist opponents of the plan to end the civil war.

"I think things ... are stabilizing around the position to go forward with the UN solution," says Vasil Tupurkovski, who formerly represented the republic of Macedonia on the eight-member collective presidency.

The plan crafted by UN special envoy Cyrus Vance "is something that the Army stands behind now," says Mr. Tupurkovski, currently chief foreign-policy advisor to the republic's president. "We are advising Vance to come back immediately and reestablish contact with the Army."

The military's reaffirmation of support for Mr. Vance's plan was especially significant as it came from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Blagoje Adzic, a reputed Serb hard-liner named acting defense minister after the Wednesday resignation of Gen. Velko Kadijevic. Army supports cease-fire

General Kadijevic had joined communist Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and secessionist Croatian President Franjo Tudjman two weeks ago in agreeing to the Vance plan, and the three signed a Jan. 2 cease-fire that remains the key condition for deployment of UN forces.

The Army will "respect all international obligations which in its name were undertaken ... by General Kadijevic," said General Adzic in a statement issued over the weekend.

"The Army leadership, as it has until now, will devote maximum efforts to preserving the achieved cease-fire, strengthening the truce, and creating conditions for the arrival, as soon as possible, of United Nations peace-keeping forces in crisis areas in Croatia," he said.

"The Army leadership fully advocates peace," said Adzic, whose statement contrasted sharply with a vow he made last July to use "terrible destructive forces" against secessionist republics.

While Kadijevic claimed health reasons for resigning, Western diplomats are convinced his departure was forced by the Jan. 7 downing of an European Community truce-monitoring mission helicopter over Croatia that killed five EC observers.

"The helicopter downing was not the responsibility of pilots acting alone," a Western diplomat says. "The purpose was to sabotage the Vance plan and possibly touch off something in the Army."

Concerns that the incident signalled a takeover by Serbian nationalist generals were also fueled by the suspension of the Yugoslav Air Force chief, Gen. …


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.