BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ In a TV address to the nation, President Slobodan Milosevic on Monday blasted his political opponents as Western lackeys who would lead the country into wars and poverty.

In the 15-minute address, Milosevic said that if the opposition came to power, ``Yugoslavia would inevitably break up.''

``Our policy guarantees peace, while theirs clashes and hostility,'' Milosevic said, adding that all those opposition plans are initiated by NATO and Western countries.

``I though it was my task to warn the people of the consequences,'' Milosevic said. He said he was warning the people because of his ``conscience.''

Speaking on the day the opposition launched nationwide strikes to force him to step down, the Yugoslav leader said his opponents ``doubt they can have the result they want'' and are resorting to ``bribing, blackmailing with the money'' from the West to organize ``strikes and bring the country to a standstill.''

Milosevic warned that as ``a sovereign country,'' Yugoslavia ``has its laws,'' which will be applied to protect it from a Western ``invasion.''