Yugoslav Army Alleges West Plans Sabotage

Thursday September 21 6:54 AM ET

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The head of the Yugoslav army has warned again that the West plans to destabilize the country after Sunday's elections but says the army is ready to respond, independent Beta news agency said Thursday.

Beta cited army chief-of-staff General Nebojsa Pavkovic as saying the voting would pass off peacefully only if there were no interference. "If someone interferes from outside, it will not be quiet," it quoted him as telling Montenegrin state television in an interview late Wednesday.

The army knew of a plan, he said, under which there would be disturbances on September 24 ''provoked by special units of foreign armed forces who would be infiltrated into Yugoslav territory on that day."

He said they would come from the Serb part of neighboring Bosnia, Montenegro -- Serbia's smaller partner in Yugoslavia -- and the NATO -controlled province of Kosovo, and would dress in Yugoslav army and police uniforms.

They would then stage provocations "under the guise of extending aid to the 'victors' -- the opposition," he said.

Yugoslav Information Minister Goran Matic last week outlined what he said were several Western scenarios for toppling the legal authorities after the Yugoslav presidential and parliamentary polls and local vote in Serbia on September 24.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling leftist bloc has ruled out an opposition victory in the elections, branding its opponents NATO candidates and portraying the race as a choice between "patriotism and treachery."

Pavkovic said he would recognize an opposition victory but did not see how it could come about, saying opinion polls giving opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica a six point lead over Milosevic did not reflect reality.

"If the opposition in Serbia is certain in its victory then there is no reason to fear for anything," Beta quoted him as saying. Pavkovic has come out in open support of Milosevic in the past few days, calling him a "courageous visionary" and election day "D-day" on which the army must be on the front line.

"Threats are being addressed to our country at the moment and as a serious army it is our duty to make all the preparations to prevent any surprises," he said.

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