NATO's peace plan is based on autonomy -- rather than independence -- for Kosovo. That may be a compromise for the KLA, but it's an even greater setback for the Serbs, who want to maintain the status quo. For that reason, they won't go quietly. "Milosevic will wait to see how serious the West is about its threats," says Calabresi. "He won't go to the talks unless he believes that the alternative means being bombed."
They're not shy about fighting, but the idea of talking leaves Kosovo's warring factions as coy as can be. Neither the KLA rebels nor the Serbian government have yet answered NATO's warning to attend peace talks at the weekend, or else. U.S. envoy Christopher Hill went to Kosovo Monday hoping to persuade the KLA to show up, but the real question may be whom the guerrillas send. "NATO has to get KLA representatives who matter -- representatives of the commanders in Kosovo rather than politicians who may not be able to deliver on their promises," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi.