The skirmishes over a road that had been closed by the rebels highlight the gulf that remains between the two sides. Yugoslavia's Serb government held a cabinet meeting in the territory Friday to underline its determination to resist KLA demands for independence. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke brokered a cease-fire last fall to avoid NATO air strikes against the Serbs, but that was widely interpreted as the two sides taking a winter recess. "One explanation for the renewed fighting might be that the weather has warmed up a little," says TIME reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. And when spring sets in, young men's fancy isn't likely to be turning to love.
That didn't take long. Thursday's prisoner exchange in Kosovo may have been hailed as an important Serb recognition of the KLA rebels as a legitimate fighting faction, but on Friday, the two sides did what warring factions do. As many as 15 KLA fighters were reported killed in fierce clashes in southern Kosovo. And for the first time, two European monitors were wounded in the fighting.