The Former Yugoslavia: Chronology
1980 May 4, Tito dies aged 88
May 15 - Milosevic becomes Serbian regional Communist Party
Apr 24 - First major Serb protest in Kosovo over alleged
persecution by majority Albanians. Milosevic's star rises in Serbia
as he defends protesters from being beaten by predominantly
ethnic Albanian Kosovo police.
Oct - Milosevic purges Serbian Communist Party and media.
Jan - Milosevic's wing in Serbian party ousts Serbian state
President Ivan Stambolic.
June 28 - Milosevic addresses a million Serbs at Kosovo Polje on
600th anniversary of defeat of mediaeval Serb kingdom by Turks,
foreshadows Yugoslavia's violent disintegration.
20-22 January 14th Extraordinary Congress of the League of Communists
of Yugoslavia collapsed with the walk-out of the Slovenian delegation, due to Serbian delegation's resistance to reform.
28 September Adoption of Constitution of Republic of Serbia. Vestiges of
autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina effectively ended.
1 October: Knin-based 'Serbian National Council' declared 'autonomy
within Croatia for areas of Serbian majority Population'.
25 June Slovenia and Croatia declared independence.
7 July EC-brokered 'Brioni Agreement' between Federal, Croatian and
Slovenian authorities called for withdrawal of Federal troops from Slovenia, demobilisation of Slovenian troops, talks on the future of the State and the dispatch of EC observers to Slovenia and Croatia.
7 September Formal opening session of EC-sponsored Conference on
Yugoslavia, chaired by Lord Carrington, a former British Foreign Secretary.
17 September Leaders of Serbia, Croatia and Federal Army (JNA)
signed ceasefire agreement with Lord Carrington.
25 September UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 713 placed arms embargo on the whole of the former Yugoslavia.
8 October UN Secretary-General appointed Cyrus Vance, a former US
Secretary of State, as his personal envoy to former Yugoslavia.
15 October Bosnian Parliament issued memorandum on sovereignty.
Serb leader, Dr Radovan Karadzic, declared this could lead to war of
extermination, and Serb delegates walked out.
21 October Rump Federal Presidency rejected EC proposals for loose association of sovereign republics.
24 October Serbian Deputies in Bosnia proclaimed Assembly of Serbian
23 November Vance and Lord Carrington met Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Defence Minister Veljko Kadijevic, in Geneva. Further ceasefire agreement
27 November UNSCR 721 passed, envisaging peacekeeping operation,
provided that parties complied with peace agreement reached in Geneva
on 23 November 1991.
19 December 'Serbian Autonomous Regions' of Croatia proclaimed as
'Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK)'.
23 December Germany recognised Slovenia and Croatia, with diplomatic
relations to be established as from 15 January. President Alija Izetbegovic
requested UN peacekeepers for Bosnia.
9 January Bosnian Serbs declared establishment of their own republic,
effective from date of international recognition of Bosnia.
15 January EC recognised Slovenia and Croatia.
21 February UNSCR 743 set up a Protection Force (UNPROFOR),
mandated to create three IJN Protected Areas (UNPAs) in Croatia.
29 February Referendum on independence held in Bosnia. Majority of
Muslims and Croats in favour, majority of Serbs boycotted it.
1 April Paramilitaries from Serbia 'ethnically cleansed' the Bosnian town
7 April EC recognised Bosnia.'Assembly of the Serbian Nation of Bosnia-
Hercegovina' proclaimed an independent Bosnian Serb Republic, which
was later named 'Republika Srpska (RS)'.
27 April New Constitution approved by 'Federal' assembly for 'Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY),' consisting of Serbia and Montenegro.
30 May UNSCR 757 imposed a wide range of economic and political
sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro.
26-27 August International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia
(ICFY), London. Co- Chairmen of the ICFY's Steering Committee were Vance, representing the UN, and Lord Owen, former British Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen, representing the EC Presidency.
14 September UNSCR 776 approved the expansion of UNPROFOR into Bosnia, where it was mandated to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid throughout the region by protecting convoys run by the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNPROFOR was also intended to
protect convoys of released detainees.
9 October UNSCR 781 introduced No-Fly Zone (NFZ) for all military
flights over Bosnia.
11-12 January Vance and Lord Owen produced 'Vance-Owen peace plan'
creating 10 largely autonomous provinces based on ethnic mix,
geographical and historical factors, communications and economic
25 March President Izetbegovic signed all documents relating to Vance-
Owen peace plan.
1 May Thorvald Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian Foreign Minister,
replaced Vance as UN Representative and Co-Chairman of ICFY.
1-2 May Summit meeting in Athens between all Bosnian leaders and
Croatian and Serbian Presidents. Karadzic signed Vance-Owen peace
6 May UNSCR 824 declared that the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and also
Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, Bihac, Srebrenica and their surrounding areas,
should be treated as safe areas by all parties concerned and should be free
from armed attacks.
15-16 May Bosnian Serb referendum on Vance-Owen peace plan and
independence: plan rejected (96 per cent against).
22 May Foreign Ministers of Britain, US, Russia, France and Spain
agreed Joint Action Programme.
25 May UNSCR 827 established the International Criminal Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia, tasked with prosecuting those accused of serious
violations of international and humanitarian law.
4 June UNSCR 836 mandated UNPROFOR to defend the UN safe areas and occupy key points on the ground in those areas.
19-20 June Referendum in 'RSK' on unification with other Serbs: 98 per cent in favour.
24 August Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) proclaimed the
Mostar-based 'Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna' a republic.
27-29 August Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats accepted new Owen-
Stoltenberg proposals on a union of three ethnic republics in Bosnia.
29 September Bosnian Assembly voted for the Owen-Stoltenberg
proposal, but only if territories seized by force were returned.
29 October New Bosnian Government: Haris Silajdzic appointed Prime
3 December Yasushi Akashi, a former Japanese diplomat, became UN
Secretary-General's Special Representative for the former Yugoslavia.
16 December Britain and other EU States established diplomatic relations
with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
5 February Bosnian Serb mortar attack on Sarajevo market place resulted
in numerous civilian deaths and casualties.
7 February EU Foreign Ministers backed use of NATO airpower if
necessary to lift Bosnian Serb siege of Sarajevo.
9 February At UN request, NATO agreed to authorise air strikes, declared
20 km total exclusion zone around Sarajevo and required Bosnian Serbs to
withdraw heavy weapons from zone or place them under UN control
within 10 days; also called on Bosnian Government to place heavy
weapons in Sarajevo under UN control. Agreement between 'RS' and
Bosnian Government to a ceasefire in Sarajevo, negotiated by Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Rose, then Commander of UN forces in Bosnia.
17 February Russian initiative secured Bosnian Serb cooperation in
withdrawing heavy weapons from Sarajevo.
1 March In Washington, Silajdzic, Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic
and Bosnian Croat leader, Kresimir Zubak, signed framework Federation
agreement between Bosnian Muslims ('Bosniacs') and Bosnian Croats, as
well as a preliminary agreement on a confederation between that
Federation and the Republic of Croatia.
24 March 'RS' Assembly rejected joining Muslim-Croat Federation and
demanded that sanctions against Serbs should be lifted.
29 March Agreement on ceasefire in Krajina signed at Russian Embassy
in Zagreb by Croatian Government and Krajina Serbs.
11 April NATO planes bombed Bosnian Serb arrnoured vehicles in
response to resumption of shelling of Gorazde.
22 April NATO authorised use of air strikes against Bosnian Serb heavy
weapons within 20 km exclusion zone around Gorazde unless: there was
an immediate ceasefire; Bosnian Serb forces pulled back 3 km from
Gorazde centre; humanitarian convoys and medical evacuations were
permitted. NATO also authorised immediate use of air strikes against
Bosnian Serbs in the event of attacks against any UN safe area, or if
Bosnian Serb heavy weapons come within 20 km exclusion zones around
22-23 April Akashi held talks with President Milosevic and Bosnian Serb
leadership in Belgrade. Reached six-point ceasefire agreement on
Gorazde, with Bosnian Serbs agreeing to immediate ceasefire;
Deployment of UNPROFOR in 3 km radius of centre and on both sides of
the River Drina; safe medical evacuation; freedom of movement for
UNPROFOR and humanitarian organisations.
26 April First meeting of 'Contact Group', comprising representatives of
Britain, Russia, US, France and Germany, held in London. The Group was
set up as a forum to present a united front to the warring parties, and
concentrated on securing agreement on a territorial allocation as the first
step in a political settlement. It produced a map for the parties to consider.
British Embassy opened in Sarajevo.
11 May Vienna Agreement between Bosniacs and Croats set
Bosniac/Croat Federation at 58 per cent of Bosnian territory; divided
Federation into eight cantons; and determined composition of interim
13 May Foreign Ministers of France, Russia, Britain, US and EU Troika,
plus Vice- President of European Commission, met in Geneva. They
called for four-month cessation of hostilities and requested negotiations
within two weeks, under aegis of Contact Group, on the basis of territorial
division of 51 per cent for the Bosnian Federation and 49 per cent for the
31 May Bosnian Assembly elected Zubak (Bosnian Croat) and Ejup Ganic
(Bosnian Muslim) as President and Vice-President of Federation until
federal elections, scheduled after six months. Assembly also endorsed
Washington and Vienna Agreements (see 1 March and 11 May).
10 June Draft Memorandum of Understanding on the EU administration of
Mostar initialled ad referendum by enlarged EU Troika and Bosnian and
Bosnian Croat sides.
8 July Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa approved as Chief
Prosecutor for International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
20 July Bosnian Serb Declaration handed to Contact Group in Geneva.
Stated that: they could not take position on Contact Group peace plan
because constitutional arrangements for Bosnia were not fully elaborated,
and further work was required on map. But it could serve as basis for
23 July Hans Koschnick from Germany inaugurated as EU administrator
3 August 'RS' Assembly rejected Contact Group peace plan.
4 August President Milosevic announced decision to sever political and
economic ties with Bosnian Serbs because of their rejection of the peace
20 August 'RS President' Karadzic and 'RSK President' Milan Martic
signed a proposal for the unification of 'RS' and 'RSK'.
11 November US announced it would stop enforcing arms embargo on
Bosnian Government and Bosniac/Croat Federation.
21 November NATO bombed Udbina airport in 'RSK' following air
attacks by Krajina- based Serbian aircraft on the Bihac region. Intense
diplomatic and military activity ensued, including UN Security Council
Presidential statements, attempts to broker a ceasefire, continued Krajina
Serbian attacks on Bihac, NATO close air support and Bosnian Serb
detention of UNPROFOR personnel.
2 December Croatian Government and 'RSK' authorities signed an
31 December Bosnian and 'RS' Governments signed a four-month
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
12 January Croatia said she would not renew UNPROFOR mandate after
31 March. UNPROFOR would then have three months to withdraw.
30 January Zagreb-4 plan presented to Croatian Government and Knin-
based 'RSK' leadership. Drawn up by EU, UN, US and Russian
representatives, the plan aimed to bring a political settlement to the
conflict in Croatia. 'RSK' refused to consider it until guarantees were
received of UNPROFOR's presence beyond 31 March. President
Milosevic refused to receive Z4 ambassadors.
5 February US convened a meeting in Munich in support of the
Bosniac/Croat Federation. A nine-point aid plan was announced and
Muslim and Croat officials agreed to the appointment of an arbiter for
8 February 'RSK' Assembly suspended all economic and political
negotiations with Croatia until she reversed her decision on terminating
the UNPROFOR mandate.
13 February International Criminal Tribunal indicted 21 Serbs for
genocide. 'RS' President refused to allow extradition of anyone. 'FRY'
ruled that alleged 'FRY' war criminals must be tried there.
20 February 'RS' and 'RSK' announced a Joint Defence Council.
6 March EU adopted negotiating mandate for Trade and Cooperation
Agreement between the EU and Croatia, but made start of the negotiations
dependent on continued UN presence in Croatia.
8-10 March Zubak and Ganic, in Bonn, signed the Petersburg Agreement
on the implementation of the Bosniac/Croat Federation.
12 March President Tudjman announced that a reconfigured UN force
could remain on Croatian soil.
31 March UNSCRs 981, 982 and 983 adopted unanimously. 981 set up
UNCRO (Confidence Restoration Operation) in Croatia; 982 renewed
UNPROFOR mandate in Bosnia; 983 transformed UNPROFOR in the
FYROM to UNPREDEP (UN Preventive Deployment Force). All three
new mandates to run until 30 November 1995.
1 May Start of the Croatian offensive, 'Operation Flash', to retake western
Slavonia. Croatian Serbs responded by shelling, and detained some UN
3 May UN-brokered ceasefire agreement signed by Croatia and Croatian
Serb representatives .
24-26 May In response to high levels of shelling and shooting, Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith, UNPROFOR Commander for Bosnia, issued ultimatums: 'RS' to stop firing into the Sarajevo exclusion zone; to return heavy weapons removed from UN collection point by noon on 25 May; and, by 26 May, to remove all heavy weapons from the exclusion zone or put them under UN control.
8 June US House of Representatives voted for unilateral lifting of arms
9 June Carl Bildt, a former Swedish Prime Minister, to succeed Lord
Owen as Co- Chairman of the ICFY Steering Committee.
16 June UNSCR 998 authorised increase in UNPROFOR personnel by up
to 12,500 to reinforce existing forces and create Rapid Reaction Force
(RRF). China and Russia abstained.
18 June UNPROFOR withdrew from weapon-collection points and
observation posts in Sarajevo's 20 km exclusion zone.
20 June NATO requested UN permission for air strike on Banja Luka
airport in response to violations of NFZ by Bosnian Serbs.
2 July UN HQ at Sarajevo shelled by Bosnian Serbs.
3 July UN convoy on Mount Igman fired at and returned fire.
8 July 'RS' forces moved into Srehrenica safe area.
9 July 'RS' forces overran Srebrenica UN posts, capturing UN troops. UN
threatened to call for air strikes if Bosnian Serb forces moved closer.
11 July NATO air strikes. 'RS' threatened to kill UN hostages.
'RS' forces took Srebrenica.
12 July UN and EU demanded Bosnian Serb withdrawal from Srebrenica.
19 July 'RSK' and forces of Fikret Abdic, a Muslim separatist leader,
attacked Bihac region.
21 July Meeting of EU, UN, NATO, Contact Group and other UN troop
contributors held in London to discuss response to Serb attacks on safe
22 July Presidents Tudjman and Izetbegovic met in Split. Agreement
signed on joint defence and implementation of the Bosniac/Croat
23 July UK, US and French representatives delivered ultimatum to Ratko
Mladic, commander of the 'RS' army: attacking Gorazde or putting UN
lives at risk there would lead to extensive air strikes.
25 July International Criminal Tribunal indicted Karadzic and Mladic for
genocide and Martic for war crimes. Bosnian Serb forces entered Zepa.
26 July UN Secretary-General delegated his authority for air strikes to
UNPROFOR Commander Bernard Janvier. US Senate voted to lift
embargo on Bosnia if UN decided to withdraw or Bosnian Government
requested UN withdrawal.
27 July Tadeusz Mazowiecki, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights,
resigned, saving he could not participate in pretence of protection of
human rights. Abdic declared himself President of the 'Independent
Republic of Western Bosnia'.
28 July'RS' and 'RSK' both declared state of war on their enemies.
29-30 July Akashi talked to President Tudjman and 'President' Martic with
the aim of averting a Croatian offensive against 'RSK'.
1 August NATO agreed to use theatre-wide air power to protect safe areas.
3 August UN-brokered talks in Geneva, between Croatian Government
and 'RSK' leaders, broke down.
4 August Croatia launched 'Operation Storm', which rapidly retook
Sectors North and South. The majority of Serbs fled via Bosnia into
Serbia, where tens of thousands have settled in Vojvodina. Smaller
numbers agreed to move to Kosovo.
7 August Bosnian Government forces gained control of Abdic's stronghold
in the Bihac region.
10 August US President Clinton's National Security Adviser, Anthony
Lake, began four-day trip to London, Bonn, Paris, Madrid, Rome,
Moscow and Ankara to outline new US peace initiative, based on the
existing Contact Group map.
28 August Bosnian Serb mortar attack killed 37 civilians in Sarajevo.
29 August 'RS' Assembly welcomed US initiative.
30 August NATO and RRF began air strikes on 'RS' military targets in
response to 28 August mortar attack on Sarajevo. 'RS' and 'FRY'
leaderships announced that joint negotiating team, led by President
Milosevic who would have casting vote, would consider US
8 September Bosnian, Croatian and 'FRY' Foreign Ministers met in
Geneva and reached agreement on basic principles including 1) Bosnia-
Hercegovina would continue its legal existence with its present borders
and continuing international recognition; 2) it would consist of two
entities, each with the right to establish parallel special relationships with
neighbouring countries, consistent with the territorial integrity of Bosnia.
14 September 12-hour pause agreed in the NATO/RRF strike campaign to
allow for US envoy Richard Holbrooke, Mladic and President Milosevic
to conclude a 'Framework for a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement'.
Strikes were suspended for 72 hours to allow withdrawal of Serb heavy
weapons from Sarajevo exclusion zone. Within 24 hours, airport and
humanitarian routes into city were to be opened; within 144 hours the
weapons withdrawal was to be completed.
22 September Croatia revoked the refugee status of all persons from areas
of Bosnia held by the Federation.
26 September Bosnian, Croatian and 'FRY' Foreign Ministers met in New
York and agreed that Bosnia would have a central presidency, parliament
and constitutional court. Parliament was to be composed of one-third 'RS'
delegates and two- thirds Federation delegates. Within the presidency,
voting would be by majority but the results could be blocked by
parliaments of the entities. Provision was made for holding internationally-supervised elections.
3 OctoberAttempt to assassinate President Kiro Gligorov of FYROM.
1 November Bosnian, Croatian and 'FRY/RS' delegations, plus the
Contact Group countries, met for talks in Dayton, Ohio.