Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex A (continued)


DateMain Events on the Ground Political/Diplomatic/Military Actions
5 January 1999Grenade attack on Serb café in Pristina.   
8 January 1999KLA ambushes MUP convoy near Suva Reka and kidnaps eight VJ members at Stari Trg. KVM broker deal leading to release of eight VJ hostages on 13 January and nine KLA members on 23 January.

VJ mortar Slapuzane.
10 January 1999Heavy fighting between MUP and KLA in Decane area. Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Albright. Agree on need to move rapidly ahead with Hill process.
11 January 1999MUP operations with VJ artillery support against KLA in Decane area.   
13 January 1999VJ tanks firing against KLA positions in Gornji Ratis. John Maples, Opposition Defence Spokesman, writes to Defence Secretary seeking clarification of KVM and EF. Defence Secretary stresses incremental nature of build-up and offers briefing.
14 January 1999Concerted MUP/VJ assaults against KLA in Decane area.

MUP/VJ shelling in Luznica and Suva Reka area.
15 January 1999UK KVM verifier and interpreter slightly injured in shooting incident near Rznic in Western Kosovo.

Extensive VJ tank and mortar fire and MUP APCs attack Racak.
15-16 January 1999Racak massacre: 45 Kosovar Albanians found killed.   
16 January 1999   KVM Head of Mission attributes Racak massacre to FRY forces.
17 January 1999   NAC issues statement condemning Racak massacre, calls for those responsible to be brought to justice, for Milosevic to comply with his commitments and reaffirms ACTORDs for air operations remain in effect. EU démarche delivered in Belgrade condemning massacre and insisting on independent investigation of it.
18 January 1999FRY refuses to allow Judge Arbour to investigate Racak and orders Ambassador Walker (KVM Head) to leave FRY.

KLA admit responsibility for shooting UK KVM verifier on 15 January.
Foreign Secretary makes statement to the House of Commons on Kosovo condemning the massacre at Racak and the continued activity in the area of Serb security forces. Calls on both sides to get down to meaningful negotiations on the basis of the Contact Group proposals.

UN Security Council condemns Racak massacre in press statement and calls for an immediate and full investigation including full and complete co-operation with ICTY.

Similar statement also issued by OSCE.
19 January 1999   SACEUR and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visit Belgrade to press Milosevic on VJ compliance and ICTY access.
20 January 1999   NATO decides to increase readiness of assigned forces so air operations could be executed within 48 hours of a decision to begin.

Defence Secretary announces deployment of four additional Harrier GR7s and a tanker to Italy, bringing UK total to eight Harrier GR7s and two tankers.
21 January 1999FRY decision to expel Ambassador Walker is rescinded following international pressure. Prime Minister and Clinton discuss Kosovo by telephone.

Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Vedrine.
22 January 1999   UK chairs meeting of Contact Group Political Directors in London.

Prime Minister and Chirac discuss Kosovo by telephone.

Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Ivanov.
24 January 1999Five Kosovar civilians, including two children, killed in MUP ambush in Djakovica area.   
25 January 1999   GAC supports efforts to get urgent movement in political process and agrees maximum pressure required on both sides, including credible threat of NATO airstrikes.
26 January 1999FRY border guards report killing 50 armed Albanians attempting to cross border into Kosovo. Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Albright and Vedrine.
28 January 1999   NATO issues "solemn warning" to Milosevic and the Kosovar leadership, noting that NATO is increasing its military preparedness and "stands ready to act". Demands immediate VJ/MUP compliance with the October agreement, immediate UCK ceasefire and both sides' co-operation with KVM and ICTY.

Prime Minister dines with Chirac and discusses Kosovo prior to Contact Group meeting.
29 January 1999MUP operation in Rugovo results in 24 Kosvars being killed (some KLA but some civilians). Foreign Secretary chairs Contact Group Foreign Ministers meeting in London. Group summons FRY/Serbian and Kosovar leaders to proximity talks at Rambouillet, to be co-chaired by Foreign Secretary and French Foreign Minister Vedrine.
30 January 1999   Foreign Secretary flies to Belgrade and Skopje to summon parties to Rambouillet.

NAC issues statement reaffirming NATO demands. NAC agrees that NATO Secretary General may authorise air strikes against targets on FRY territory.

EC Regulation exempting Montenegro Airlines from flight ban enters into force.
1 February 1999   NATO Secretary General confirms that if no agreement is reached by deadline set by Contact Group, NATO is ready to take whatever measures are necessary to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

Foreign Secretary makes statement to House of Commons on the outcome of the Contact Group meeting on 29 January convened to add momentum to political process and other political developments in Kosovo.
4 February 1999   Defence Secretary agrees to put a number of units on standby for possible deployment to Kosovo as contingency measure (HQ ARRC, four Armoured Brigade, artillery, engineering and logistics support, a total of around 8,000 personnel). Announced via a press release.
5 February 1999   Defence Secretary authorises deployment of HMS SOMERSET to the Adriatic with the FS FOCH Task Group.
6 February 1999Bomb kills three in Kosovar-owned shop in Pristina. Foreign Secretary and Vedrine open Rambouillet talks involving parties to conflict and Contact Group.
10 February 1999   Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Ivanov.
11 February 1999   Foreign Secretary visits Rambouillet with Vedrine to support the negotiators.

Defence Secretary makes statement to the House of Commons on deployment of vehicles and heavy equipment of units which would form leading elements of UK contribution to KFOR and gives estimate of overall UK contribution to KFOR of some 8,000.

German Government announces an enlarged German contribution to KFOR of some 4,000.
12 February 1999   FRY (UN Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 1999 comes into force.
13 February 1999   President Clinton announces intention to contribute nearly 4,000 US troops to NATO peace implementation force.
14 February 1999   Contact Group Foreign Ministers meet in Paris and decide to extend Rambouillet talks until 20 February.

Prime Minister writes article for Independent on Sunday explaining why troops are being deployed in Balkans. Will not ignore war and instability in Europe. Force must be ready to deploy quickly to follow up the momentum of any peace agreement. Will not agree to deploy British troops into Kosovo without a clear mission and clear objectives based on a political settlement agreed by both sides.
16 February 1999   Hill sees Milosevic in Belgrade.

Prime Minister meets Solana.
17 February 1999   Foreign Secretary visits Rambouillet to take stock of the negotiations with Vedrine following Hill's visit to Belgrade.
19 February 1999   Prime Minister discusses Kosovo with Clinton by telephone.

Foreign Secretary arrives in Rambouillet to press parties to conclude agreement and to prepare for 20 February Contact Group.

(Further to 11 February entry) Defence Secretary agrees to deployment of personnel of four Brigade HQ and battle group to Greece and Macedonia and of HQ ARRC units. Press release issued and Opposition defence spokesmen informed.

Hill flies to Belgrade again. Milosevic refuses to see him.
20 February 1999   Contact Group Foreign Ministers meet at Rambouillet and decide to extend Rambouillet talks until 23 February. Albright stays on to try to persuade Kosovars to sign up to agreement.

Prime Minister discusses Kosovo by telephone with Primakov and urges Russia to use all its influence with Milosevic to persuade him to agree to a settlement.
21 February 1999   Foreign Secretary and Vedrine brief GAC on Rambouillet. Conclusions urge both sides to come to agreement now.
22 February 1999Serbs begin two day operation west of Vucitrn resulting in 4,000 Kosovar villagers fleeing. Defence Secretary confirms to House of Commons deployment of some 2,225 personnel of four Armoured Brigade HQ and the Lead Armoured Battle Group to Greece and Macedonia, plus enablers for HQ ARRC.
23 February 1999   End of Rambouillet talks, with neither side signing the Rambouillet Accords but consensus being reached on substantial autonomy for Kosovo and both sides committing themselves to attend a follow-up conference covering all aspects of implementation. Key outstanding issue: FRY/Serb unwillingness to accept deployment of international troops in Kosovo to underpin a settlement. The Kosovars demand a referendum on independence after three years.

Meeting of UK/US/French/German/Italian Development Ministers, London.
24 February 1999   Foreign Secretary makes statement to House of Commons on outcome of Peace Talks at Rambouillet.
25 February 1999Eight KVM verifiers detained by FRY customs at Djeneral Jankovic border post. Walker declares a hostage situation and EF deployed to border. Situation satisfactorily resolved without intervention of EF late on 26 February. Foreign Secretary speaks by telephone to Albright.
26 February 1999Serbs attack three villages near Macedonian border. Over 500 Kosovars flee to Macedonia. Defence Secretary announces to Parliament deployment of majority of remaining equipment of four Armoured Brigade HQ and the Lead Armoured Battle Group.
27 February 1999   Foreign Secretary and Vedrine send a joint personal message to Milosevic urging him to accept the Rambouillet accords.
28 February 1999   UN Security Council mandate for UNPREDEP (UN Preventative Deployment force in Macedonia) expires.
1 March 1999   Defence Secretary agrees to voluntary mobilisation of individual reservists for deployment on Kosovo-related operations.
2 March 1999Serb operation against KLA west of Kacanik-Djeneral Jankovic road.   
2-3 March 1999   Defence Secretary visits British troops in Macedonia. Also meets Prime Minister of Macedonia Georgievski and Defence Minister Kljusev.
5 March 1999UNHCR estimate there are 210,000 displaced people in Kosovo. Foreign Secretary/Vedrine joint statement notes follow-up conference scheduled for 15 March: those who block successful finalisation of Rambouillet "will be held responsible".
9 March 1999Serbian Interior Ministry issues arrest warrant for eight KLA leaders including Thaci and Krasniqi. Subsequently forward international arrest warrant for Thaci to Interpol.

Serbs attack Ivaja and five other villages near Kacanic, displacing 4,000 Kosovars and burning houses.
9-15 March 1999   Senior international figures hold talks with both sides to prepare for next round of talks. These include Fischer, Van den Broek, Holbrooke, Ivanov, Papandreou.
10 March 1999   Announcement to Parliament that additional engineering and support assets are being deployed to provide necessary engineering infrastructure support to cover a longer than anticipated stay in Macedonia, and that NATO had decided to deploy advance elements of HQ ARRC to manage to build up on NATO forces in Macedonia.
12 March 1999   Mr Henderson and Mr Lloyd write to all MPs explaining the key issues, goals and possible outcomes of Kleber talks.
15 March 1999   Talks resume at Kleber Centre in Paris.

Foreign Secretary and Vedrine attend first day of Kleber talks.

Kosovo Albanian delegation say they accept
23 February agreement in its entirety. FRY/Serbian delegation begins week of obstructionism, citing procedural irregularities as excuse not to engage on substance of agreement.

Defence Secretary agrees diversion of HMS Splendid (first RN submarine with TLAM capability) to Adriatic for possible operations against the FRY.
16 March 19997,500 Kosovars reportedly driven from their homes in Central Kosovo by Serb shelling.

Albanian Ministry of Public Order reports that FRY soldiers have crossed border into Albania.
17 March 1999   Albright/Foreign Secretary telephone conversation concerning state of play at Kleber.
18 March 199940,000 VJ and MUP troops (one third of total VJ armed forces) and 300 tanks massed in and around Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians sign Rambouillet Accords.

FRY Foreign Minister Jovanovic calls on UN Security Council to order NATO to end its threat of force against FRY.
19 March 1999UNHCR reports up to 250,000 IDPS in Kosovo and a further 180,000 in need of assistance.

Reports at NATO that major VJ/MUP campaign in Kosovo underway.
Paris peace talks adjourned. Co-chairs make clear talks will not resume unless Serb side accepts Rambouillet Accords, and warn against any FRY military offensive on the ground.

Foreign Secretary and Vedrine write to Thaci welcoming Kosovar signature of the Rambouillet Accords and urging the KLA to avoid all provocations and respect the commitment the Kosovar delegation made to a peaceful solution.

OSCE Chairman-in-Office announces immediate withdrawal of KVM.
20 March 1999KVM verifiers complete their withdrawal. Foreign Secretary and Vedrine send a joint message to Milosevic urging him to accept the Rambouillet accords and warn him against any military offensive in Kosovo.
21 March 1999Major VJ/MUP offensive continues in central Drenica resulting in 25,000 Kosovars fleeing their homes in a three day period. Reports of MUP separating Kosovar men from women and executing up to 20 men.

All remaining British subjects advised to leave FRY—including humanitarian agencies.
Prime Minister speaks to Clinton and Schroeder.
22 March 1999Most of Srbica reportedly burnt to the ground, with male residents taken away to the ammunition factory. 15,000 people displaced from Central Drenica region. Foreign Secretary meets Holbrooke, Vedrine, Fischer and Solana in Brussels before Holbrooke flies to Belgrade for last ditch attempt to secure agreement and avoid bombing. Agree that Holbrooke will press Milosevic on compliance on the ground and to accept the Rambouillet accords. Solemn tone of meeting reflects recognition that military action is looming.

Secretary General NATO consults Allies on moving to air operations, and NAC authorises Secretary General to decide, subject to further consultations, on a broader range of air operations if necessary.

Defence Ministers of France, Italy and UK issue joint statement reaffirming readiness to take whatever measures are necessary to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

Foreign Secretary briefs GAC on latest diplomacy and deteriorating situation on the ground. Says military action not the preferred action but unless Milosevic de-escalated, there was no alternative. GAC expresses alarm at large scale FRY offensive in Kosovo and calls on Milosevic to stop violence immediately and seize opportunity offered by Rambouillet Accords.

Milosevic rejects Foreign Secretary and Vedrine's request to accept peace plan.
23 March 1999FRY General Staff denies that an offensive is underway in Kosovo.

Macedonia closes border with Kosovo.

British Embassy in Belgrade closed.
Prime Minister makes statement to the House of Commons confirming Britain stands ready with its Allies to take military action.

Albright briefs Foreign Secretary by telephone on failure of Holbrooke mission. Foreign Secretary and Vedrine conclude therefore that there is no point in their visiting Belgrade.

Prime Minister discusses Kosovo by telephone with President Clinton.

Following consultation with all Allies, NATO Secretary General orders operations to begin.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 20 April 2000