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Yugoslav Presidency Assails EC Offer on Breakaway States

<i> From Reuters</i>

The nation’s state presidency bitterly attacked the European Community’s offer to recognize the country’s breakaway republics and said Wednesday it will appeal to the U.N. Security Council.

Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic also condemned the EC agreement to recognize Croatia and Slovenia on Jan. 15 if they meet a set of conditions. He threatened to pull Serbia, the largest republic, out of an EC peace conference on Yugoslavia unless the United Nations is brought in.

“The decision is a crude violation of the U.N. Charter and other relevant acts of international law,” the collective state presidency said in a statement published by the official Tanjug news agency.

“The Yugoslav presidency has therefore decided to appeal to the U.N. Security Council urgently to debate the resulting situation.”

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Serbia, the biggest republic, wants to preserve Yugoslavia as a federal state. But the northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia want no part of the federation and declared independence June 25.

Their declarations prompted fighting across Croatia that continued unabated Wednesday, marring the start of a new peace mission by EC mediator Lord Carrington and the arrival of a team of U.N. observers.

EC foreign ministers agreed in Brussels on Tuesday to recognize any of the six Yugoslav republics in January if they guarantee democracy and human rights and protect ethnic minorities.

The Yugoslav presidency, which groups Serbia and three allies and is boycotted by four of its eight representatives, accused the EC of trying to break up Yugoslavia.

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“Meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, encouraging unilateral and unconstitutional secession, trying to liquidate Yugoslavia as a sovereign subject of international law do not contribute to a peaceful and democratic solution to the Yugoslav crisis,” it said.

Milosevic told Carrington during two hours of talks in Belgrade that the EC had gone beyond the mandate it was given to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Yugoslav crisis.

“The Serbian president therefore thinks the conference on Yugoslavia has a chance of continuing and being concluded successfully only under the umbrella of the U.N. and with respect for the principles of the U.N. Charter,” Tanjug said.

The EC has been holding its peace conference in The Hague with the leaders of the six republics to try to settle the Yugoslav crisis. It is expected to continue in Brussels next year.

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