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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 10:42 GMT

Build-up to conflict: Timeline

Serbian forces on the move in Kosovo

Kosovo: Special Report
BBC News Online tracks the developments in the months leading up to Nato's air strikes against Yugoslavia, with links to key news stories and analysis and the best audio and video.

Use the options on the left to return the latest news, the background behind the conflict, and other BBC coverage.

March 1999

Nato carries out its threat to bomb Serbia over Kosovo, attacking a sovereign European country for the first time in the alliance's history.
Nato bombs Serbia (24 March)

Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana orders air strikes against Yugoslavia after the failure of diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the Kosovo crisis.
Nato to strike Yugoslavia (23 March)

US President Bill Clinton orders his special envoy Richard Holbrooke to leave Belgrade, after Slobodan Milosevic continues to refuse to accept an autonomy plan for Kosovo's Albanians secured by Nato troops.
Trapped in Kosovo (23 March)
"Caravans for misery": Ben Brown in Kosovo (23 March)
Nato action draws nearer (23 March)
Tony Blair: "Britain stands ready to take military action" (23 March)

US envoy Richard Holbrooke flies to Belgrade to try to get Slobodan Milosevic to agree to a peace plan, but there is no immediate sign of progress. An offensive by Serb forces in Kosovo, meanwhile, continues.
No progress in Holbrooke mission (23 March)
Fleeing the fighting: Story in pictures (22 March)
"More flee in fear": Orla Guerin in Kosovo (22 March)

International monitors are ordered out of Kosovo as the peace talks break down following Serbia's continued refusal to sign up to the proposed peace deal. The Serb side is told the talks will not resume unless they agree to the deal.
Peace monitors to quit as peace talks adjourn (19 March)

At a second round of talks on the future of Kosovo in Paris, the Kosovo Albanians agree to the peace deal on offer, while there is continuing defiance from Serbia. Violence in the province, meanwhile, continues.
Kosovo killings remain a mystery (17 March)
Albanians say yes to deal (15 March)
Blasts threaten talks (14 March)
If the talks fail: Angus Roxburgh reports

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, speaking after talks in Belgrade with Slobodan Milosevic, says the Yugoslav president remains defiant about the proposed peace plan for Kosovo.
Milosevic defiant (12 March)

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Leaders of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army say they need more time to consider the terms of the proposed peace accord, and Belgrade sticks to its rejection of the deployment of any foreign troops. Meanwhile clashes continue near the border with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.
Rebel leaders play for time (9 March)

A key figure in the Kosovo Liberation Army, Adem Demaci, who has opposed the international plan to end the conflict in the province, resigns as the KLA's political representative.
Rebel leader quits (2 March)

February 1999

The Yugoslav army moves 4,500 troops, more than 60 tanks and other military equipment to the Kosovo border amid stern warnings from Nato and the US. Thousands of ethnic Albanians flee their homes as a result of fighting, many crossing into Macedonia.
Serb tanks spark Kosovo fears (26 February)
Refugees flee to Macedonia (3 March)

The major powers welcome the progress made at the Kosovo peace talks in Paris, but both the Serbs and ethnic Albanians stress many obstacles still stand in the way of a definitive deal.
Mixed response to deal (24 February)

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The warring sides in Kosovo reach conditional agreement at the Rambouillet talks near Paris on substantial autonomy for the province. They agree to meet again on 15 March to discuss implementing the deal.
Partial deal in Kosovo talks (23 February)
Rambouillet talks: Final statement (23 February)

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says the "stalemate" has been broken but full agreement has not been reached on either a political or a military deal.
Analysis: The danger remains (23 February)
"We've done a lot": UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook defends the deal (BBC's Today programme 24 February)

The deadline is extended by two more days for the two sides in the Kosovo peace talks to strike a deal. Nato policing remains the major sticking point.
Kosovo deadline extended (20 February)

US President Bill Clinton has given a fresh warning to Serbia that Nato is ready to attack if it refuses to accept a peace agreement to end the conflict in Kosovo..
Clinton warns Serbs (19 February)

President Boris Yeltsin says Russia has warned the US not to use force against Yugoslavia even if the Kosovo peace talks fail.
Yeltsin: 'Don't touch Kosovo' (18 February)

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic reiterates his insistence that Nato forces will not be allowed into Kosovo as part of a peace deal.
Milosevic: No foreign troops (17 February)

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins the Kosovo peace conference at Rambouillet chateau near Paris and gets the Serbian and ethnic Albanian delegations to talk face to face for the first time.
Face-to-face meeting at peace talks (14 February)

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The 40 ethnic Albanians killed by Serbian police in January are buried in the village of Racak. Thousands of people attend the hillside funeral.
Thousands bury Racak dead (11 February)

The Kosovo peace conference organised by the six-nation Contact Group begins at Rambouillet. For the first week, the Serbian and the ethnic Albanian delegations do not meet face to face, but stay on different floors, with the mediators shuttling between them.
President Chirac opens talks (7 February)
Cellphone leaks plague talks (10 February)

The ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army names a team of negotiators to take part in the peace talks in France. The Serbian parliament agrees that Serb delegates should attend, but urges them to take a tough stance.
Albanians name talks team (3 February)
Serbs back talks (4 February)

January 1999

Nato gives its Secretary General Javier Solana the authority to order military action if the latest peace initiative for Kosovo fails.
Nato prepares for strikes (30 January)

US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, give Yugoslav and ethnic Albanian leaders three weeks to finalise a settlement which would give Kosovo "substantial autonomy".
Schedule for peace (30 January)
Full text of contact group statement (29 January)

Yugoslav authorities suspend the expulsion of international monitoring mission head William Walker in Kosovo, whom they had earlier ordered out in the wake of killings in the village of Racak.
Peacekeeper allowed to stay (21 January)
Serbs snub massacre probe (19 January)

Following a massacre in the Kosovo village of Racak, Nato sends two senior officers to warn Belgrade it faces air strikes if it does not comply with the agreed ceasefire.
Massacre prompts Nato warning (18 January)
Disagreement over Kosovo autopsies
Eyewitness: Death in Kosovo

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Renewed fighting between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian security forces breaks out, and two peace monitors, one of them British, are shot and wounded during the clashes.
New fighting in Kosovo (15 January)
Preparing for war (11 January)

December 1998
Serb forces, backed by about 100 tanks and artillery, launch an offensive near the northern town of Podujevo. The move comes after a Serbian policeman was shot dead in the town.
New Serb offensive (24 December)
Serb policeman killed (21 December)

Tensions mount with two separate protests symbolising the polarisation between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
Protests mar peace efforts (20 December)

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Violence continues, with the killing of a prominent Serbian official - a deputy mayor - days after six Serb youths are killed in an attack on a bar by masked gunmen, 36 ethnic Albanian fighters are killed in a border clash.
The killings continue (18 December)
Thirty dead in Kosovo (14 December)

President Clinton's special envoy, Richard Holbooke, speaking after talks in Belgrade with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, says differences between Serbs and ethnic Albanians over the future of Kosovo remain very grave. His comments come shortly after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warns of the danger of all-out war in Kosovo in 1999.
Grave differences remain: Holbrooke (16 December)
UN war warning (15 December)

November 1998
The first international monitors begin training before going into the field to verify October's Belgrade ceasefire agreement.
Monitor mission gears up (24 November)

Nato and the US accuse both the Belgrade government and the ethnic Albanian rebels of endangering the cease-fire.
Both sides accused endangering ceasefire (21 November)

October 1998
US Balkans envoy Richard Holbrooke announces Yugoslavia's agreement to allow a 2,000-strong force into Kosovo to ensure it complies with UN demands.
Agreement in Belgrade (13 October)
Richard Holbrooke announces the agreement
Analysis: Will the deal work?

Amid intense negotiating by US envoy Richard Holbrooke, Nato countries give the go-ahead for military action against Yugoslavia, if President Slobodan Milosevic does not comply with UN resolutions on Kosovo.
Countdown to Kosovo strikes (12 October)

The UN Security Council condemns massacres of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
UN condemns atrocities (2 October)

September 1998

BBC journalists see first-hand evidence of a massacre of ethnic Albanian civilians, including women and children, in Kosovo.
Massacre evidence in Kosovo (30 September)
The BBC's David Loyn reports from the scene (30 September)

The roots of the Kosovo conflict run deep. Click on the links below for BBC News Online's in-depth explanation of the historical background:

History, bloody history, by Tim Judah
Interactive: History of a troubled region
Jim Fish looks back at a year of conflict in Kosovo (March 1999)

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