Hard-line communist Slobodan Milosevic was sworn in as Serbia's president Friday and prepared for talks with political rivals Slovenia and Croatia to try to patch together a splintering Yugoslavia.

Slovenian President Milan Kucan said leaders of this Balkan nation's six republics have far to go before they can agree on how to co-exist.Milosevic, whose Communist Party now calls itself the Socialist Party, took his oath of office at the opening session of Serbia's first freely elected parliament in five decades.

Milosevic, who won easily last month, agreed on Friday to bilateral talks with Kucan and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.

Feuds between Communist Serbia and other center-right governments have added to the ethnic, religious and political schisms sundering Yugoslavia's fragile federation.

Agreement between Serbs and Croats, the two largest ethnic groups, is vital.

Kucan told Slovenia's leading daily, Delo, that Thursday's six-hour meeting of the republics was "a major step forward, because the majority . . . very clearly presented their views on how to tackle and solve the crisis."