Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex A


DateMain Events on the Ground Political/Diplomatic/Military Actions
16 December 1997   NATO Foreign Ministers confirm NATO's interest in stability extends beyond Bosnia to the surrounding region, and express concern at escalating ethnic tension in Kosovo.
January-February 1998Escalating number of murders, kidnappings, KLA ambushes on MUP and heavy handed security force responses.   
2 February 1998Security Forces begin show of force in villages in Vucitrn municipality; large deployment in Djakovica and surrounding area.   
25 February 1998   Contact Group Political Directors meet in Moscow. Group calls for dialogue and condemns both Serb repression and terrorist actions, including by the KLA. Calls on the FRY to address the Kosovo question urgently and offers its good offices to help. Reiterates position that it supports an enhanced status for Kosovo within the FRY, not independence.
28 February-1 March 1998 Following attack on police patrol, security forces launch heavy handed operations in Drenica area leaving up to 30 Kosovars dead.   
3 March 1998Tens of thousands of Kosovars attend funerals of the victims of Drenica.   
4 March 1998KLA swears to avenge dead of Drenica.   
5 March 1998   NAC expresses profound concern over violent incidents in Kosovo, in particular Serbian police's brutal suppression of peaceful demonstration in Pristina on 2 March 1998. Condemns the violent repression of non-violent expression of political views as well as terrorist acts to achieve political goals. Calls on all sides to take immediate steps to reduce tensions: the FRY has the obligation in particular to undertake early initiatives to avoid deterioration of the situation. Authorities in Belgrade and leaders of the Kosovo Albanian community should enter without pre-conditions into serious dialogue in order to develop mutually acceptable political solution. NATO and the international community have a legitimate interest in developments in Kosovo, inter alia because of their impact on the stability of the whole region.

Foreign Secretary holds talks in Belgrade with Milosevic and Jovanovic. Foreign Secretary urges Milosevic to offer moderate Kosovars a political alternative to violence and stresses that improvement of FRY/EU relations were impossible while current policies in Kosovo continued. Milosevic, in uncompromising mood offers nothing new and denies overreaction by security forces.

Meeting is preceded by a telephone call with Rugova in which the Foreign Secretary reassures the Kosovars that he will deliver a clear message condemning violence and calling for dialogue. Rugova calls for an international protectorate for Kosovo.
5-8 March 1998MUP launch further operations in Drenica killing at least 51 people.   
6 March 1998   Contact Group Ambassadors visit Kosovo to meet Rugova and other Kosovo figures. Kosovars call for military action.
9 March 1998   Foreign Secretary chairs Contact Group Ministerial meeting in London. Group agrees tough message to Belgrade. It also agrees to consider immediate UN arms embargo and refusal of supply of dual use equipment to the FRY that might be used for internal repression. Russia alone does not sign up to UK-proposed selective visa ban or moratorium on export credit finance (but these are pursued in EU).
10 March 1998Belgrade invites Kosovars to open dialogue. Kosovars do not respond, insisting that independence from Kosovo rather than talks based on the Serbian Constitution is the only option. Kosovars claim offer was directed at the International community, not the Kosovars themselves. Foreign Secretary makes statement in the House of Commons condemning Drenica killings.
11 March 1998   Mr Lloyd visits Belgrade to explain firm Contact Group message to Milutinovic and Jovanovic.
13-14 March 1998   Informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Edinburgh appoints OSCE envoy Gonzalez as EU Special Envoy for Kosovo.
17 March 1998   On behalf of EU, Foreign Secretary delivers message to Rugova urging flexibility in talks with Serbian Government representatives.
18-19 March 1998Mass demonstrations by Kosovars in Pristina and other towns. Serbs organise mass demonstrations in Pristina and Pec: clashes with Kosovars on fringes of both.   
19 March 1998   EU adopts common position confirming arms embargo, and imposes a ban on equipment which might be used for internal repression or terrorism; a moratorium on Government-financed export credit for trade and investment; and a visa ban on senior FRY and Serbian officials. Gonzales appointed Personal Representative of OSCE Chairman-in-office for the FRY.
23 March 1998Rugova re-elected "President" of Kosovo.   
24 March 1998Clashes between KLA and police in several villages in Decani/Djakovica area: five killed.   
25 March 1998   Contact Group Foreign Ministers meeting, Bonn. Group calls for an end to violence and start to dialogue. Meeting agrees to support an SCR imposing an arms embargo. Threatens "further measures" against FRY if Milosevic remains obdurate over the next four weeks.

Foreign Secretary chairs meeting in Bonn of Contact Group Ministers with Foreign Ministers of regional states and the EU Troika to brief on work of Contact Group and hear concerns of regional states over Kosovo.
26 March 1998   UK Political Director Jeremy Greenstock and US envoy Robert Gelbard hold talks in Belgrade with Milutinovic and Jovanovic to convey message of 25 March Contact Group of urgent need for dialogue. The two envoys also meet Rugova and other Kosovar representatives in Pristina to press for early dialogue and rejection of violence.
31 March 1998   UNSCR 1160, co-sponsored by UK, highlighting the impending humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and imposing an arms embargo on the FRY adopted. Russia votes in favour. China abstains. The Resolution also included a ban on arming and training for terrorist activities in the FRY/Kosovo.
3 April 1998   Foreign Secretary sends his personal envoy
Mr Roberts to Belgrade to see Milosevic. Roberts urges Milosevic to end violence and begin substantive dialogue and stresses that the international community is willing to help.
6 April 1998Bodies of six Kosovars found in forest near Orahovac. UK chairs meeting of Contact Group Political Directors in London to discuss Kosovo. Agreement to press Belgrade and Pristina to open discreet talks about talks with restricted negotiating teams.
22 April 1998   US Deputy Secretary of State Talbott briefs NAC. Presents a two-phase approach to defuse the immediate crisis and set long-term negotiation in train. Broad support from Allies.
23 April 1998Serbian referendum on foreign mediation in Kosovo crisis: 95 per cent vote against.

Up to 26 Kosovars killed trying to cross border with Albania near Kosare.
24 April 1998   The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1998 comes into force.
27 April 1998Several violent incidents: three Kosovars and four soldiers killed in separate incidents near Decani. Kosovars claim 12 killed by Serb tank fire south of Pec. Eight KLA members killed by MUP in Glodjane.   
29 April 1998   Contact Group Political Directors meeting, Rome. Determines that Belgrade not compliant with Group's demands of 9 and 25 March. "Fork in road" offer to Belgrade: if they agree to framework for dialogue etc Contact Group will promote clear and achievable path towards Belgrade's full integration in international community, including participation in OSCE. If dialogue blocked because of Belgrade's non-compliance, all except Russia agree to take action to put into effect further measures (freeze on funds held abroad by FRY and Serbian Governments and ban on new investment in Serbia) if Belgrade remains non-compliant.
29 April-1 May 1998Serbs shell several villages in Drenica. At least three Kosovars killed.   
1 May 1998   EC Regulations imposing a ban on sale or supply of equipment that might be used for internal repression or terrorism come into force.
4 May 1998A number of clashes in Drenica and near border with Albania. Several fatalities on both sides.   
6 May 1998   NAC commissions advice on options for more active PfP engagement in Albania and Macedonia and options for a NATO military contribution to international and Albanian efforts to monitor the security situation on the Albania/Kosovo border.
7 May 1998   EU adopts common position imposing a freeze on funds held abroad by FRY and Serbian Governments.
8 May 1998KLA ambush police patrol in Drenica. Serbs shell village on Pristina-Pec road. At G8 meeting in London, all except Russia agree to implement or (Japan) supportively study the scope for freeze on funds held abroad in the FRY and Serbian Governments and to stop new investments in Serbia.
12 May 1998At least 16 Kosovars and one policeman killed in a number of incidents, mainly Serb attacks on villages.   
14 May 1998   As EU Presidency, Foreign Secretary sends messages to Milosevic and Rugova welcoming the planned meeting on 15 May and urging a sustained negotiation to achieve a durable settlement in Kosovo.
15 May 1998Serbs shell/attack four border villages. Six Kosovars killed in two further incidents. Milosevic and Rugova meet in Belgrade.
16 May 1998   UK chairs Contact Group meeting at Political Director level in margins of G8 Summit in Birmingham. Group agrees need for continued pressure on both sides. In light of Rugova/Milosevic meeting, action to bring investment ban on FRY into effect halted. But ready to be reactivated along with other measures, should Milosevic fail to demonstrate commitment to peaceful solution. Promise of consideration of incentives should Belgrade behave well.
25 May 1998   GAC hears downbeat assessment from Gonzalez. Foreign Secretary says while EU should be ready to take forward new measures quickly, it was important for the international community to move together.
25-26 May 1998Serbs shell villages in Drenica and attack further villages in Decani and Pec municipalities and on Albanian border.   
28 May 1998   NATO Foreign Ministers meet. They express concern at situation in Kosovo and deplore continuing violence; state support for a political solution providing an enhanced status for Kosovo, preserving territorial integrity of the FRY and safeguarding human and civil rights of all inhabitants of Kosovo whatever their ethnic origin; and decide to enhance and supplement Partnership for Peace activities in Albania and Macedonia.
28 May-1 June 1998Serbs heavily shell a number of border villages and villages of central Drenica. Kosovar delegation visits US: meets Clinton, Albright, Annan, and calls for action by NATO and UN.
5 June 1998Belgrade announces successful completion of operation to clear Pec-Decani-Djakovica road of "terrorists".   
8 June 1998   In light of continued Serb repression, EU adopts common position prohibiting new investment in Serbia.

Foreign Secretary telephones Solana to brief him on the GAC's unity and robustness on Kosova. Says that the priorities are diplomatic activity at the UN and military planning in NATO.
9 June 1998   Prime Minister sends a letter to Milosevic urging him to end violence and launch a genuine political process. Says UK and international community as a whole ready to help.
10-11 June 1998   Mr Lloyd meets Jovanovic and Sainovic in Belgrade. Hands over message from Prime Minister to Milosevic and stresses that while we stood ready to help, the international community was ready to take further measures against the FRY if necessary. In Pristina, Mr Lloyd urges both sides to end violence and begin dialogue.
11 June 1998Serbs attack/shell a number of villages south of Decani and in Obilic municipality. Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary meet Rugova, Bukoshi, Surroi in London. Rugova calls for international action. The Prime Minister outlines continuing efforts by the Contact Group and EU and says that the UK is seeking support for deterrent action against Milosevic. Foreign Secretary tells visitors that any international intervention in Kosovo would be in support of a negotiated settlement, not in support of KLA action.
11-12 June 1998   NATO Defence Ministerss meet in Brussels. They direct NATO Military Authorities to assess and develop full range of options for operations that might become necessary to reinforce or facilitate efforts to achieve a solution.
12 June 1998   Foreign Secretary chairs meeting of Contact Group Foreign Ministers in London. Meeting puts to Belgrade a series of points for immediate action (including withdrawal of security units, international monitoring, refugee return, access for humanitarian agencies, rapid progress in dialogue). Threatens "further measures" including those requiring Security Council authorisation if steps not taken. Minus Russia, confirms decision to implement investment ban, freeze FRY/Serbian government funds abroad and take steps towards banning air links.
15 June 1998   European Council in Cardiff issues declaration on Kosovo. Reiterates tough line of 12 June Contact Group, including reference to further measures.

Exercise Determined Falcon over Albania and Macedonia demonstrates NATO's capability to project power rapidly into region. Over 80 aircraft involved, including four RAF Jaguar aircraft. All allies except Iceland and Luxembourg participate.
16 June 1998   Milosevic (in Moscow) promises Yeltsin inter alia that he will not carry out any repressive actions against the peaceful population of Kosovo.
21-22 June 1998Fighting in Rudnik and Decani areas.   
23 June 1998KLA takes control of Belacevac coal mine, near Obilic. EU regulations imposing freeze of funds comes into force.
24 June 1998   NAC commissions contingency planning on a precursor stage of air options—including exercises and surveillance.
29 June 1998Serbs begin operation to retake Balacevac coal mine. Numerous Kosovar civilian casualties result. GAC agrees to expand ECMM presence in Kosovo. Adopts common position imposing flight ban on Yugoslav carriers.
2 July 1998   Foreign Secretary sends his envoy Mr Roberts to meet Milosevic. Roberts reiterates Contact Group demands and urges Milosevic to withdraw security forces and kick start dialogue with the Kosovars.
3 July 1998   Four Harrier GR7s deploy to Goia del Colle to replace Jaguar aircraft deployed for Exercise Determined Falcon.
6 July 1998Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission patrols begin, including UK personnel.   
7-8 July 1998   Contact Group meeting in Bonn at Political Director level. Agreement on principles governing future status of Kosovo to be put to parties and that Group should work up more detailed blueprints for settlement.
9 July 1998Serbs shell refugees in forest near Padeshi close to Albanian border.   
13 July 1998   GAC calls for end to violence and start of political process with direct international involvement. Expresses its support for ICTY, UNHCR's efforts, and Gonzalez.
15 July 1998KLA attack Trepca mine; MUP fire on villages nearby. Contact with parties to be taken forward by US Ambassador to Macedonia, Christopher Hill.
17-22 July 1998   PfP Exercise Co-operative Assembly (Albania).
18 July 1998VJ ambushes 700 strong KLA group entering Kosovo from Albania near Padeshi. Heavy KLA casualties.   
18-22 July 1998KLA attack Orahovac but driven back by Serbs.   
21 July 1998   UK chairs meeting of Contact Group to discuss options paper. Broad agreement on parameters and that UK should refine its non-prescriptive options paper as a Contact Group document to be handed to parties in early August.

EC Regulation prohibiting new investment in Serbia comes into force.
24-27 July 1998Successful Serb operation to regain control of Pristina-Pec road.   
25 July 1998Serbs begin siege of Junik.   
27-28 July 1998Serbs recapture Lapusnik and Malisevo. 20 members of the same Kosovar family reportedly executed in Junik.   
28-30 July 1998   EU Troika at Political Director level holds talks in Kosovo and Belgrade. Stresses need to end violence and begin substantive negotiations. Urges Kosovars to form united front urgently to deny Serbs the excuse that there is no-one with whom to negotiate.
30 July 1998   British Embassy in Belgrade establishes first formal (ie non-accidental) contact with KLA in the Crnoljevo area to press for Kosovar unity and negotiation rather than violence.
2 August 1998Serbs launch major offensive in Drenica.   
4 August 1998KLA attack Trepca mine.   
7-8 August 1998   Contact Group options paper handed to FRY and Kosovar leaderships.
12 August 1998   NATO Secretary General issues statement confirming that NAC had reviewed a full range of ground and air options to bring an end to violence and create the conditions for negotiations, and that informal force generation was to begin.
13 August 1998Serious exchange of fire across Yugoslav-Albanian border at Padeshi border post.   
16 August 1998Serbs capture Junik after two week siege.   
18 August 1998Serbs claim all of Kosovo now under their control. Serbs fire 17 Mortar shells into Albania at Padeshi border post.   
23 August-5 September 1998 Serbs launch major offensives in Suva Reka, Lipljan, Stimlje, Malisevo, Glogovac and Prizren areas. Heavy Kosovar civilian casualties. During this period, Serbs announce opening of 11 relief centres in Kosovo and find lime furnace in Klecka that they allege was used by KLA to cremate bodies of 22 executed Serb civilians.   

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