A deputy defense minister on Wednesday accused the leaders of Yugoslavia's republics of encouraging ethnic conflict and pushing the country into civil war.
Adm. Stane Brovet addressed the federal Parliament in Belgrade while representatives of the federation's republics were discussing what sources said was the military's demand for a nationwide state of emergency.Borba, the respected Belgrade daily newspaper, said representatives of the republics were badly split over the demand. The representatives failed to agree on how to resolve the conflict at a 12-hour meeting Tuesday. Talks were to resume later Wednesday.
Twenty people have been killed in the past week in some of the worst inter-ethnic fighting since World War II. The army has been sent into some areas of Croatia to separate Croats and Serbs.
Brovet, who is also head of military counterintelligence, said: "Legally elected organs of authority . . . regrettably are the proponents of inter-ethnic conflict that assume many forms of a civil war."
Yugoslavia's main conflict is between Serbs, the largest ethnic group, and Croats, the second largest. Nearly all of those killed in the past week died in fighting between the two groups inside Croatia.
On Tuesday, Brovet charged that a Croatian policeman was responsible for killing a 19-year-old soldier from Macedonia who was guarding naval headquarters in the Croatian port of Split during an anti-military protest.
Serbia and Croatia are old rivals, but now differ widely on Yugoslavia's future. Croatia says it will secede if Yugoslavia does not become a looser association of states. Communist-run Serbia wants a strong federation.
Serbia's Parliament also was meeting Wednesday in Belgrade. Premier Dragutin Zelenovic accused Croatia's leaders of seeking to "politically and physically destroy the Serbian people."