NATO Won't Stand Down on Kosovo

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BELGRADE: Unconvinced by President Slobodan Milosevic's promises of compromise, NATO continues to plan for military intervention in Kosovo. "Not only has Milosevic failed to withdraw his forces, he's also offered no significant concessions on the political status of Kosovo," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Until he does, there will be a war there."

Milosevic's hard line has radicalized the Kosovar population, eroding support for moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova and -- to the consternation of the West -- boosting the ranks of the armed guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army. "The more Serb forces attack civilians, the weaker Rugova's position becomes," says Calabresi. Rugova today refused Milosevic's offer of talks, demanding Serb withdrawal as a precondition. But even that, says Calabresi, may not be enough: "Troop withdrawal wouldn't mean much unless Milosevic was prepared to make significant concessions on the political status of Kosovo" -- a notion that sticks in the craw of the nationalist Milosevic, who sent his people to war for a Greater Serbia. So if they're going to avoid another Bosnia debacle, NATO's commanders will need to keep their powder dry.