Denisa Kostovicova's suggestion ["Kosovo's Peace Must Start on Separate Paths," Outlook, Sept. 12] that the way to peace between the Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo is the creation of Serb safe havens, or cantons, comes too late. The canton idea was pushed by two Kosovo Serbs -- Bishop Artemije and the head of the Serbian resistance movement, Momcilo Trajkovic -- long before the NATO bombing of the Serbs.

At that time the idea had merit. The bishop and Momcilo Trajkovic made several trips to Washington to sell their solution in the State Department and with Congress, but to no avail.

Now the only way out is partition. A New York Times correspondent in Kosovo, Charlota Gall, recently reported that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had pushed for partition during negotiations before the war, calling for the northern part of the province to be made Serbian and the rest to be abandoned to the Kosovo Albanians. If true, it gives the lie to President Clinton's contention that the Serbs refused a diplomatic solution to Kosovo.

Ms. Kostovicova is right in her assertion that ethnic separation was a feature of life in Kosovo for a long time, but in the rural areas there were many cases where Serbs and Albanians lived side by side.

On another point Ms. Kostovicova turns the facts upside down. The Serbs did not expel the Albanians "from the province's political, economic, social, educational and cultural institutions." After Kosovo's autonomy was reduced -- not abolished -- the Albanians refused to accept the reduction and boycotted the aforementioned institutions, and began building their own in homes, barns and other buildings. They also went on strike in government enterprises, which led to the firing of those employees.

All of this led to an increased Serb police and military presence. The rest is history.

ALEX N. DRAGNICH

Bowie