Steam-filled rooms

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The Independent Online

One obvious problem in Kosovo has been the refusal to believe that cross-cultural tolerance can be of any benefit to anybody. Despite the best intentions of the international forces in Kosovo, it sometimes seems difficult to imagine that anybody can persuade Serbs and Albanians to change their minds in this respect. Distrust runs deep; there are few signs that any change is on the way.

One obvious problem in Kosovo has been the refusal to believe that cross-cultural tolerance can be of any benefit to anybody. Despite the best intentions of the international forces in Kosovo, it sometimes seems difficult to imagine that anybody can persuade Serbs and Albanians to change their minds in this respect. Distrust runs deep; there are few signs that any change is on the way.

Unless, of course, the Finns have their way. Naked international press conferences have not, it must be admitted, been the norm until now. The Finns have, however, broken the mould by holding a Nato press conference in their specially built Kosovo sauna, an acknowledged centre of Finnish community life.

We were sorry to learn that the Reuters correspondent kept his tartan trunks on during the briefing, thus breaking an absolute rule of European sauna use. We feel that a news agency which prides itself on its international identity should know when to take its clothes off.

Still, it is good to hear that Serbs and Albanians have both declared themselves ready to sit naked next to each other on the same pine bench. Heat, steam, and nudity: a perfect recipe for peace.

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