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