Kosovo Peace Pipe Is Still to Be Smoked

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Like the man said, it ain't over till it's over. As Yugoslav and NATO generals haggling over the Kosovo endgame took a break Sunday -- the length of which the two sides apparently had some disagreement over -- life on the ground was pretty much the same as it has been for the last 73 days. NATO continued to let loose from the air, bombing targets both in and outside of Kosovo. Serb mortars landed in Albania, scattering refugees and relief workers, and Milosevic's armies continued to do battle with KLA troops. "The fighting isn't over yet," said NATO military spokesman Gen. Walter Jertz. "Serb forces will not halt their operations until their commanders give them the order. There is hope that will happen soon." Negotiations over the timetable for Serb troop withdrawals were expected to resume Sunday night and continue, said NATO spokesman Maj. Trey Cate, "through till the end."

Meanwhile, NATO is getting ready to pass the baton from the flyboys to the doughboys, building up its troop presence in Macedonia and preparing to divide Kosovo into five sectors, with the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy and France each overseeing a sector. Absent: the Russians, who got Milosevic and NATO to shake hands and who have have some much-needed credibility as babysitters of Kosovo's Serb minority (having not just finished bombing them). But NATO doesn't want any partners -- chief Javier Solana insisted on "Fox News Sunday," that "there will be one commander" of the postwar force -- and the Russians aren't looking to take any more orders from the West. "Under our law and under our morality," said former prime minister and current peace broker Viktor Chernomyrdin on Sunday, "we will never be under NATO." Right now, as Milosevic seems finally to have admitted, there's no other place to be.