Kosovo Stand-Down

NATO and Milosevic cut a deal, but come springtime, young men's fancy may not be turning to love.

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BELGRADE: Slobodan Milosevic is off the hook. While the peace deal he signed with NATO to avert air strikes will keep Kosovo quiet through the winter, it may not last through the spring: NATO remains poised to strike should the Serbs fail to withdraw their forces or otherwise misbehave. But the last-minute accord struck with Richard Holbrooke late Monday makes an attack increasingly unlikely during the next few months. "There probably won't be much fighting in the winter, but then there rarely is in the Balkans," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Don't be surprised though if it starts up again in the spring."

The primary problem in Kosovo remains political: The overwhelming majority of the region's 90 percent ethnic Albanian population want independence from Serbia; Milosevic on Tuesday insisted that despite granting greater autonomy, he plans to hang on to the territory. "There's certainly some disappointment in Kosovo over this outcome," says Calabresi. And as much as they suffer through the bitter Balkan winter, Kosovars will likely dread the onset of the season in which armies don't stand idle.