Yugoslavia's Army started calling up reservists Tuesday after the defense minister said civil war had begun, and federal leaders were deadlocked in crisis talks. Witnesses said tanks rumbled out of the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, and through the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina while troops left their Belgrade barracks early Tuesday. The Army did not comment on the reports.
The state presidency summoned the leaders of Yugoslavia's six republics for an emergency meeting on clashes between Serbs and Croats, the country's biggest nationalities, which have killed 18 people since May 2.
Croatia and Serbia accuse each other of orchestrating the violence. Their relations have been strained since free elections fed nationalism and old rivalries last year after 45 years of communist rule.
Members of the Serbian minority in Croatia have taken up arms and declared themselves independent of Croatian rule.
The collective presidency talked with the republican leaders late into Tuesday night but reached no agreement except to continue Wednesday.
The emergency meeting was called after Defense Minister Gen. Veljko Kadijevic told President Borisav Jovic Monday that the country was in a civil war and that the Army should end the unrest if the presidency could not do so alone. He said the Army would open fire if it were attacked.
``The Army will respond according to combat rules, which means even with fire,'' General Kadijevic said.
Several thousand people prevented tanks and armored vehicles from moving through the Bosnian town of Polog by blocking the road with trucks, cars and buses. Roads were also blocked in other towns to prevent tanks from passing, according to Tanjug, the Yugoslavian news agency.
The presidency, an eight-person body grouping representatives of the country's six republics and two provinces, reconvened Wednesday to consider Kadijevic's call for powers to end the unrest.
The presidency can impose a state of emergency, but is divided by the same disputes that have split the country.