Yugoslavia: four years of sanctions, isolation under Milosevic
Herewith is a chronology of major events in Yugoslavia's two constituent republics, Serbia and Montenegro, since 1996.
-- 1996 --
- February: The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a separatist guerrilla force from the ethnic Albanian majority in the Serbian province of Kosovo, surfaces with a claim of responsibility for a series of bomb attacks.
- November 3: A leftist coalition led by Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia wins a landslide victory in federal legislative elections amid opposition charges of voter fraud.
- November 17: In municipal elections, opposition groups win control of numerous Serbian towns. Authorities cancel many of the results, sparking three months of widespread protests over alleged election fraud.
- February 20: In Montenegro, the republic's pro-Western prime minister, Milo Djukanovic, breaks ranks with Belgrade to call openly for the resignation of Milosevic.
- July 15: With Milosevic constitutionally barred from seeking another term as president of Serbia, a post he had held since 1989, the federal legislature dominated by his Socialist Party elects him president of the rump Yugoslavia.
- September 21: In Serbian presidential and legislative elections, the Socialist Party loses its absolute majority in the republic's parliament due to a strong showing by far-right parties. Milan Milutinovic, a Milosevic ally, is elected Serbian president in a second round of voting on December 21.
- October 5 and 19: In presidential elections in Montenegro, the reformer Djukanovic beats incumbent Momir Bulatovic in a setback for Milosevic.
- Late February: The Yugoslav army launches a vast offensive
against ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, notably attacking villages in the central Drenica valley where at least 80 Kosovars are killed.
The fighting escalates over the following weeks as federal forces encounter well-armed KLA guerrillas. Thousands of ethnic Albanians begin fleeing the fighting to neighboring Montenegro and Albania amid reports of atrocities by Yugoslav troops.
- March 22: A moderate ethnic Albanian, Ibrahim Rugova, is elected president of a shadow Kosovo government in a referendum rejected by Yugoslav authorities and the international community.
- March 31: The United Nations imposes an embargo on arms sales to Yugoslavia due to the army repression in Kosovo.
- May 28: A coalition loyal to Montenegrin President Djukanovic wins a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the republic.
- September 23: The United Nations demands an immediate ceasefire in Kosovo, calling on Belgrade to withdraw its troops, open a political dialogue with ethnic Albanian leaders and permit the return of Albanian refugees.
- February 6-23: Representatives of the Belgrade regime and Albanian Kosovars hold talks at Rambouillet outside Paris and draw up an agreement foreseeing "substantial autonomy" for Kosovo. Only the Kosovar side signs the accord on March 18.
- March 24-June 10: NATO launches an air and naval offensive against Yugoslavia aimed at forcing the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo. The bombing prompts a new rush of up to a million refugees fleeing Kosovo.
- May 8: The Chinese embassy in Belgrade is hit by NATO missiles which kill three people, one of a series of bombing errors which left dozens of civilians dead, primarily in Kosovo.
- May 27: Milosevic is indicted for war crimes in Kosovo by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
- May 29: Following Russian mediation, Yugoslavia says it has accepted principles drawn up by the Group of Eight nations for a peace deal in Kosovo.
- June 9: After a series of negotiations, NATO and Yugoslavia agree on a timetable for a Serb military withdrawal.
- June 10: NATO suspends airstrikes after the start of the Yugoslav army retreat from Kosovo. The UN Security Council adopts resolution 1244 authorising the deployment of a multinational force in Kosovo and calling for "substantial autonomy" for the province.
- June 12: The first units of the NATO-led peacekeeping force, KFOR, enter the province.
- August 5: Montenegro adopts a document calling for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to become a looser "community of Montenegro and Serbia."
- September 20: The KLA and KFOR sign an agreement to turn the guerrilla movement into a civilian protection force.
- November 2: Montenegro adopts the German mark as an official parallel currency to the Yugoslav dinar in a transparent move towards autonomy which is assailed as "anti-constitutional" by the regime in Belgrade.
- July 6: Milosevic obtains from parliament new constitutional amendments allowing the direct election of the president and permitting him to seek a new mandate when his current term expires in June 2001. Montenegro rejects the amendments, which effectively reduce the republic's influence in federal government.
- July 24: New electoral laws based on the revised constitution are adopted.
- July 27: Federal presidential and legislative elections are called for September 24. Montenegro announces it will boycott the vote.
- August 7: The main coalition of Serbian opposition parties officially names Vojislav Kostunica their candidate for president. The choice confirms a split in opposition ranks after Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement picks Belgrade mayor Vojislav Mihailovic as its candidate.
- August 29: Opinion polls for the first time show Kostunica leading Milosevic, by 35.3 percent to 24.4 percent.
- September 18: The European Union says it could lift sanctions if Serbs vote to oust Milosevic.
- September 19: The KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo says it had uncovered a large weapons cache in a Serb stronghold that was to be used in a "terrorist" plot to unsettle the elections.
- September 20: Milosevic visits Montenegro for the first time since 1997 to tell Montenegrins to reject their "boot-licking" leaders' independence ambitions.
- September 20: The United States says it could lift sanctions on Yugoslavia if September 24's elections lead to a "democratic transition."
In Belgrade, 150,000 attend the final opposition election rally while Milosevic draws only 15,000 to his closing campaign event.
- September 22: Belgrade authorities say Milosevic will remain in office until his mandate expires in July 2001 regardless of Sunday's vote results.
Copyright (c) 2000 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 09/24/2000 10:03:00
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