Slobodan Milosevic, Meet Jesse Jackson...

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This time, the Reverend Jesse Jackson ought to keep his eyes on the skies. Against the urging of the White House, the American civil rights leader arrived in Serbia Thursday hoping to meet President Slobodan Milosevic and press for the release of three captured G.I.'s. Jackson was warned that NATO bombing would continue during his visit, and it's not as if he has any guarantee that Milosevic will see him -- although the propaganda coup of a photo opportunity with one of the keepers of Clinton's conscience will probably be too tempting for the Serb leader to pass up.

But Jackson's visit is a sideshow in the diplomatic endgame. The man Washington is hoping will broker an honorable deal was also headed to town Thursday: Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin will meet Milosevic after consultations in Germany and Italy, hoping to generate momentum toward a negotiated settlement. The air war continues, meanwhile. One missile appears to have strayed into a suburb of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, which caused considerable alarm in a country seeking NATO membership. And on the Yugoslavian home front, President Milosevic sacked Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic from his cabinet after Draskovic publicly urged acceptance of a foreign peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Draskovic may have been a lone voice in the cabinet, but he has previously led pro-democracy demonstrations that forced important political concessions out of Milosevic. With the war going nowhere after five weeks of bombing, pressure to deal may be mounting on both sides.

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