PRISTINA, YUGOSLAVIA — Serb and ethnic Albanian leaders in Yugoslavia's troubled Kosovo province sat down together for face-to-face peace talks yesterday for the first time in three years.
The unexpected move was a triumph for the co-chairmen of an international conference on Yugoslavia in Geneva, Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen, who arrived in Kosovo to try to defuse the ethnic tensions among the Serbian province's Albanian majority.
The breakthrough was also a major boost to Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic in his struggle against nationalist Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs 8 to 1 in Kosovo, which had considerable autonomy until Mr. Milosevic stripped it of self-rule, sparking riots in 1990 and 1991. A major point of dispute between the two groups is an Albanian demand to have an educational curriculum in their own language.