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

of Bijeljina.


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

these areas.


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

federal government.


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

Bosnian Serbs.


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

further negotiations.


23 July Hans Koschnick from Germany inaugurated as EU administrator

of Mostar.


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

economic agreement.

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

Muslim/Croat disputes.


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

peace plan.


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.