NATO Reads Kosovo Riot Act

  • Share
  • Read Later
BELGRADE: NATO is threatening to bash Serb and ethnic Albanian heads over Kosovo, but securing a peace deal may require a substantial military effort. Thursday, the Western alliance laid down the law to both sides: Start discussing a compromise autonomy agreement within four days -- or else. The threat against the Serbs remains punishing air strikes, while the Albanian insurgents have been warned that failure to agree could lead NATO to choke their supply lines.

"The plan can work only if the West is serious about doing what it takes to force both sides to accept an agreement," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Milosevic is way too wily to agree to anything unless he's absolutely forced to, and it's not clear whether even air strikes alone will be enough to force him to deal. Getting the Albanians to agree may be even more difficult, because they're anything but unified." Still, as ambitious as the NATO plan may be, the rising body count from Kosovo's pre-spring offensives is a harsh reminder of the ghastliness of the alternative.