BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A special U.S. envoy declared talks with Yugoslavia's president over Kosovo a failure today and said he was returning to NATO headquarters. Allied airstrikes appeared imminent.

Richard Holbrooke said two days of talks with Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic had yielded no breakthrough that the West had hoped for and that he was leaving Belgrade today to consult with NATO officials in Brussels, Belgium, before returning to Washington.

Holbrooke described the situation over Kosovo, where war the past year has left more than 2,000 dead, as ``the bleakest since we began this effort almost four years ago.''