The communist-dominated Yugoslav presidency met in emergency session Tuesday, divided by a dispute over whether the secession-minded Slovenian and Croatian republics risk army intervention for refusing to surrender the weapons of their police and military reserves.

As Yugoslavia's worst post-World War II crisis deepened, security remained high in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana and the Croatian capital of Zagreb, with police in camouflage suits and carrying automatic weapons guarding key government buildings and the cities' airports, witnesses said.Authorities in Zagreb also positioned buses and trucks overnight near the city's main bridges for use as barricades, state-run Zagreb Television said..

The nationalist governments of Yugoslavia's wealthiest republics have warned that their security forces and citizens would fight military intervention.

The presidency convened 12 hours after expiration of a midnight Monday deadline set under a Jan. 9 order for the disarmament of "illegal paramilitary units" allegedly formed by unnamed political parties along ethnic lines, exacerbating tensions pushing the nation toward civil war.

The order threatened unspecified "legal" measures for violators and entrusted enforcement to the communist-commanded Yugoslav Peoples Army.