Germany's dismissal Wednesday of British calls for sending in ground troops and its demand for a full investigation into the Chinese embassy bombing were the sharpest sign yet of a public unraveling of allied unity. Meanwhile, Italy and Greece are urging a temporary halt to the bombing, while Washington insists on maintaining the air campaign. Graphic video footage of victims of an alleged massacre of Kosovar villagers shown on U.S. TV Wednesday may have been a reminder to NATO countries of what drew them into this war, but Thursday's images of patients fleeing a Belgrade hospital struck by a wayward NATO bomb will simply fuel calls to stop the carnage. With even the war of images deadlocked and cracks beginning to show in the alliance's resolve, Milosevic clearly believes that prolonging the conflict now may actually work in his favor.
Slobodan Milosevic is in no hurry to sign a deal, and why would he be? "Milosevic has no reason to conclude an agreement with the West right now and he's probably delighted at the divisions emerging in NATO," says TIME Central Europe reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. "The alliance isn't clear and unanimous in its strategy on everything from ground troops and its bombing campaign to the issue of indicting Milosevic for war crimes. He's awaiting the outcome of NATO's debates, and if splits begin to grow it will make things even easier for him." Milosevic held seven hours of talks with Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin Thursday, after which he called for a peace deal to be negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations -- in other words, Belgrade right now has no intention of simply signing on to the Bonn accord between NATO countries and Russia.