Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Timeline: Kosovo

A chronology of key events

12th century - Kosovo lies at the heart of the Serbian empire, under the Nemanjic dynasty. The period sees the building of many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries.

Pristina skyline March 1999
Pristina, March 1999: Nato carries out its threat to bomb Serbian targets

1389 28 June - Epic Battle of Kosovo heralds 500 years of Turkish Ottoman rule. Over the ensuing decades many Christian Serbs leave the region. Over the centuries the religious and ethnic balance tips in favour of Muslims and Albanians.

1689-90 - Austrian invasion is repelled.

1912 - Balkan Wars: Serbia regains control of Kosovo from the Turks, recognised by 1913 Treaty of London.

1918 - Kosovo becomes part of the kingdom of Serbia.

1941 - World War II: Much of Kosovo becomes part of an Italian-controlled greater Albania.

1946 - Kosovo is absorbed into the Yugoslav federation.

1960s - Belgrade shows increasing tolerance for Kosovan autonomy.

1974 - Yugoslav constitution recognises the autonomous status of Kosovo, giving the province de facto self-government.

KLA members near Junik, 1998
Members of the now-disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army

1981 - Troops suppress separatist rioting in the province.

1987 - In a key moment in his rise to power, future president Slobodan Milosevic rallies a crowd of Kosovo Serbs, who are protesting against alleged harassment by the majority Albanian community.

1989 - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic proceeds to strip rights of autonomy laid down in the 1974 constitution.

1990 July - Ethnic Albanian leaders declare independence from Serbia. Belgrade dissolves the Kosovo government.

1990 September - Sacking of more than 100,000 ethnic Albanian workers, including government employees and media workers, prompts general strike.

1991 - Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia break away from Yugoslavia and declare their independence.

Kosovo Albanian refugees, 1998
A crackdown by Serbs prompted Nato air raids, which were followed by massacres and an exodus of ethnic Albanians

1992 - War breaks out in the Balkans.

1992 July - An academic, Ibrahim Rugova, is elected president of the self-proclaimed republic.

1993-97 - Ethnic tension and armed unrest escalate.

1998 March-September - Open conflict between Serb police and separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Serb forces launch a brutal crackdown. Civilians are driven from their homes.

1998 September - Nato gives an ultimatum to President Milosevic to halt the crackdown on Kosovo Albanians.

Nato intervention

1999 March - Internationally-brokered peace talks fail.

Nato launches air strikes against Yugoslavia lasting 78 days before Belgrade yields.

Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees pour into neighbouring countries, telling of massacres and forced expulsions which followed the start of the Nato campaign.

1999 June - President Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops from Kosovo. Nato calls off air strikes. The UN sets up a Kosovo Peace Implementation Force (Kfor) and Nato forces arrive in the province. The KLA agrees to disarm. Serb civilians flee revenge attacks.

2002 February - Ibrahim Rugova is elected as president by the Kosovan parliament after ethnic Albanian parties reach a power-sharing deal. Bajram Rexhepi becomes prime minister.

2003 October - First direct talks between Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders since 1999.

2003 December - UN sets out conditions for final status talks in 2005.

Mitrovica clashes

2004 March - 19 people are killed in the worst clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians since 1999. The violence started in the divided town of Mitrovica.

Policeman guards bridge linking divided communities in Mitrovica, 2006
Mitrovica - a flashpoint for inter-ethnic tensions

2004 October - President Rugova's pro-independence Democratic League tops poll in general election, winning 47 seats in 120-seat parliament. Poll is boycotted by Serbs.

2004 December - Parliament re-elects President Rugova and elects former rebel commander Ramush Haradinaj as prime minister. Mr Haradinaj's party had entered into a coalition with the president's Democratic League.

2005 February - Serbian President Boris Tadic visits, promises to defend rights of Serbs in Kosovo.

2005 March - Mr Haradinaj indicted to face UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, resigns as prime minister. He is succeeded by Bajram Kosumi.

President Rugova unhurt when explosion rocks convoy of vehicles in which he is travelling through Pristina.

2005 July - Nearly-simultaneous blasts go off near UN, OSCE and Kosovo parliament buildings in Pristina. No-one is hurt.

2005 August - Two Serbs shot dead and two injured when their car is fired at.

Ibrahim Rugova (1999 picture)
Former president Ibrahim Rugova fought for independence

2006 January - President Rugova dies in Pristina after losing his battle with lung cancer. He is succeeded in February by Fatmir Sejdiu.

2006 February - UN-sponsored talks on the future status of Kosovo begin.

2006 March - Prime Minister Kosumi resigns following criticism of his performance from within his own party. He is succeeded by former KLA commander Agim Ceku.

2006 July - First direct talks since 1999 between ethnic Serbian and Kosovan leaders on future status of Kosovo take place in Vienna.

2006 October - Voters in a referendum in Serbia approve a new constitution which declares that Kosovo is an integral part of the country. Kosovo's Albanian majority boycotts the ballot and UN sponsored talks on the future of the disputed province continue.

Independence plan

2007 February - United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari unveils a plan to set Kosovo on a path to independence, which is immediately welcomed by Kosovo Albanians and rejected by Serbia.

2007 July - US and European Union redraft UN resolution to drop promise of independence at Russian insistence, replacing it with pledge to review situation if there is no breakthrough after four proposed months of talks with Serbia.

2007 November - Hashim Thaci emerges as winner in general elections.

2008 February - Kosovo declares independence. Serbia says declaration illegal. Europe's major powers and the United States recognise independence.

2008 March - Serb opponents of independence seize a UN courthouse in Mitrovica, and more than 100 people are injured in subsequent clashes with UN and NATO forces. A UN police officer is killed.

New constitution

2008 April - Parliament adopts new constitution.

2008 June - New constitution transfers power to majority ethnic Albanian government after nine years of UN rule. Kosovo Serbs set up their own rival assembly in Mitrovica.

Woman crosses bridge that divides Serb- and Albanian parts of Mitrovica
Mitrovica is a focal point of Kosovo's ethnic divide

2008 October - The UN General Assembly votes to refer Kosovo's independence declaration to the International Court of Justice.

2008 December - European Union mission (Eulex) takes over police, justice and customs services from UN. Serbia accepts EU mission.

Serbia arrests 10 former ethnic Albanian rebel fighters suspected of war crimes, including murder and rape, prompting protests from Kosovo.

2009 January - New multi-ethnic Kosovo Security Force launched under NATO supervision, replacing a unit dominated by veterans of independence campaign against Serbia.

2009 February - UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague acquits former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic of charges that he ordered a campaign of terror against Kosovo Albanians in the 1990s.

2009 April - Serbian President Boris Tadic makes rare visit to Kosovo, coinciding with the deadline for parties to submit arguments to the International Court of Justice on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

2009 August - Ethnic clashes break out in Mitrovica.

2009 November - First post-independence local elections.

2010 May - Serbs hold local elections in two Serb-controlled districts in northern Kosovo. The vote sparks violent protests in the divided town of Mitrovica.

UN ruling

2010 July - The Hague War Crimes Tribunal orders new trial for former PM Ramush Haradinaj and two other ex-members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) on charges of war crimes, saying that an earlier trial was marred by witness intimidation.

The International Court of Justice rules that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 was not illegal under international law, in response to a complaint from Serbia that it had violated its territorial integrity.

2010 September - President Fatmir Sejdiu resigns after court rules that he breached the constitution by staying in a party post while in office.

2010 October - Caretaker president Jakup Krasniqi calls early general election for February 2011. Fatmir Sejdiu's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) pulls out of governing coalition.

2010 November - Parliament passes vote of no-confidence in minority government. Election date brought forward to 12 December.

2010 December - PM Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) wins narrow majority in parliamentary election.

Council of Europe publishes report alleging that Kosovo Liberation Army rebels then led by Mr Thaci were involved in organ trafficking and other crimes after 1999 conflict with Serbia. Mr Thaci rejects the allegations.

2011 February - Kosovo-Swiss tycoon Behgjet Pacolli becomes president after winning narrow majority in third round of voting in parliament. Hashim Thaci is re-appointed as prime minister.

2011 March - Serbia and Kosovo begin direct talks to try end their dispute - their first talks since Kosovo broke away from Serbia.

President Pacolli steps down after the high court rules parliament had not been in quorum during his election. Parliament elects senior police officer Atifete Jahjaga to be Kosovo's first female president in April.

2011 July - October - Violence as Serbs resist efforts of Kosovo government to impose its authority.

2011 December - Kosovo and Serbia reach agreement on regulating border crossings.

Nonetheless, tension rises as the European Union's Eulex mission blocks a Russian aid convoy to Serbian-dominated northern Kosovo on the Serbian border, saying it must accept a Eulex escort or enter via a Kosovo government-controlled crossing.

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Compiled by BBC Monitoring


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