We All Win! NATO, Russia Agree on a Peace Fudge

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Peace in Kosovo will be all things to all people -- or, more specifically, the deal designed to end hostilities will allow all sides to claim victory. That much was clear from the peace plan agreed to by leading NATO countries and Russia at a summit of foreign ministers in Germany on Thursday. The agreement provides for an end to violence and repression in Kosovo; the withdrawal of Serb security forces; the deployment of ill-defined "international civil and security presences" under mandate from the United Nations; the safe return of refugees under the auspices of a U.N. interim administration; an agreement for the political autonomy of Kosovo within Serbia; and the disarming of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

"This is so open-ended that it allows NATO to say it's brought the Russians on board behind its demands, while the Russians can say they've won enough concessions from NATO to cut a deal acceptable to Milosevic," says TIME Central Europe reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. The key sticking point to a peace deal -- as at the Rambouillet talks in February -- has been the scope and nature of an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, and Thursday's accord in Bonn is vague enough on that issue to be sold to both sides. Fudging the contentious issues, of course, allows the political momentum of the peace process to be locked in, ending the war even as significant differences remain. "There's probably a lot more movement on the diplomatic front than is being made public," says Anastasijevic. For now, however, the bombing war continues. And the spin war is about to heat up.

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