Peace talks reconvene on March 15, but three weeks is a long time in the Balkans. Western diplomats believe the Serbs are planning a new offensive, which could harden positions on both sides. "The process has slid into a sort of limbo," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "While the talks haven't collapsed, the failure to achieve an agreement isn't going to make it any easier for the administration to convince Congress about sending troops." After all, Capitol Hill can't be bombed if it says no.
Madeleine Albright could be forgiven for wanting a day off. Twenty-four hours after Kosovo peace talks ended in something close to a debacle, the secretary of state was facing a Senate Foreign Relations Committee skeptical about U.S. involvement in the proposed peacekeeping force. That question remains academic for at least the next three weeks, of course, after the ethnic Albanian delegation's refusal to sign the deal put the kibosh on NATO's plan to bomb the Serbs into compliance. The Serbs celebrated on Wednesday by barring the ethnic Albanian delegation from returning to Kosovo, where they planned to hold consultations before signing the deal two weeks from now.