Belgrade Warned Over Albanians

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A week of violent clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo has galvanized the U.S. and the European Union to move swiftly to head off a new round of ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia. “The EU knows from experience in the region that if you let these things go too far, they can spin violently and dangerously out of control,” says TIME’s London bureau chief Barry Hillenbrand. The “Contact Group” on former Yugoslavia -- the major EU governments, the U.S. and Russia -- meets in London Monday, and Hillenbrand says it is likely they will adopt a carrot-and-stick approach to force Belgrade to find a political solution to the demands of Kosovo’s Albanians for greater autonomy.

The carrot is Western aid to help reconstruct the war-torn region, and the long-term prospect of some form of involvement in the EU. The stick: The U.S. State Department today renewed sanctions against Belgrade, and warned President Milosevic that further repression of Albanians would have the by-now-familiar “most severe consequences.”