Party Factions Continue Clash Despite Warnings From Military
Jan. 31, 1989
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Deeply split factions in Yugoslavia's Communist Party quarreled for the second day at a key meeting Tuesday, and the military issued new warnings that it will intervene if the crisis continues.
The meeting also was told that the Central Committee will discuss demands for the ouster of national party chief Stipe Suvar, but that the 23-member Politburo, the most powerful party body, will make a final decision.
Suvar took the floor to announce that if the Politburo deciedure for a possible dismissal.
The meeting of the policy-making Central Committee, which started Monday, is marked by a rift between liberals and conservatives over ways to overcome the country's worst economic and political crisis.
As opposing delegates clashed, two senior military officers issued dramatic warnings that the armed forces would not remain idle if the country's fortunes continue to decline.
''One of the biggest barriers to the stabilization of the situation in the country is the disunity of the leaderships on all levels,'' said Vice Adm. Stane Brovet, the deputy defense minister.
''Yugoslavia can survive only as a true federation, and the forces which are striving toward the breakup of such a Yugoslavia should be prevented primarily by political, but also by all other means,'' Brovet said.
The military has remained on the sidelines of recent political conflicts between those favoring more democracy and political pluralism and those advocating a strong, centralized communist system to solve the country's problems.
Senior officers show signs of increasing unease over the crisis, which includes a 250 percent inflation rate, a sharp drop in living standards and an alarming increase in labor and ethnic unrest.
The political chief of the armed forces, Adm. Petar Simic, told the meeting Monday: ''What some describe as the battle for Yugoslavia will not be waged without the Yugoslav army.''
Both military men have called for an end to the feuding.
But supporters of Slobodan Milosevic, the hard-line party chief of the Serbian republic, continued attacks on Suvar, a Croat, and other non-Serbian federal officials whom they blame for Poland's protracted crisis.
Croatian Ivo Druzic sparked a sharp debate when he appealed to Suvar and Milosevic to reconcile their differences and compromise.
Druzic compared their clash to ''a train being pulled in opposite directions by two locomotives.''
Milosevic rejected this assertion without indicating any willingness to compromise.
Vukasin Micunovic, a Central Committee member from Montenegro, said, ''The intolerance shown at this meeting ... is a result of the struggle for power'' under way in the party leadership.
Milosevic's supporters at the session criticized Suvar's opening speech Monday, when he said the country faces a stark choice between more democracy or ''neo-Stalinism.''
''Yesterday's speech, without a trace of self-criticism ... does not offer answers to any of the key questions,'' said Serbian member Tomislav Radovic.
Milosevic is supported by Yugoslavia's poorer regions, which fear that market-oriented economic reforms will cause layoffs at loss-making, state- subsidized enterprises.
Suvar is supported by Slovenia and his native Croatia, which favor increased political pluralism, more democracy and radical market-oriented reforms.