Talks Progress, but No Peace for Unyielding Kosovo

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Peacekeeping troops for Kosovo may have won congressional approval, but chances are slim that there'll be any peace to keep. Serb and Kosovar Albanian negotiators reconvened their Western-mediated peace talks in Paris Monday, amid mounting pessimism over the prospects for a deal and with fierce fighting escalating in the disputed region. The Kosovar delegation pledged Monday to sign the Western-authored peace deal, but President Slobodan Milosevic has stiffened his resolve to reject NATO peacekeeping troops. So the real question hanging over the talks is what the Western alliance plans to do if -- or, more likely, when -- they collapse.

The game plan to pummel Milosevic with air strikes if he failed to sign unraveled three weeks ago when the Kosovars backed out. That took the heat off the Serbs, and Milosevic's defiance has grown as NATO's resolve has appeared to waver since the collapse of the last round of talks. If there's no progress after a couple of days negotiating in Paris, the West faces two ugly options: Intervene in a messy civil war in which NATO actually supports neither side, or simply let the bodies pile up in the hope that at some point the combatants will tire of fighting and give peace a chance.