|Balkan Timeline, 1989-1993: from "Breakdown
in the Balkans," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Serbs account for nine
million of Yugoslavia's population of 23.3 million. The Yugoslav
officer corps is approximately 70% Serbian.
Slovenia is a primarily
Catholic republic of two million that contains about 50,000 ethnic
Croatia has a population of
4.5 million, 600,000 of whom are Serbs who live mainly in the
southwest, near the border with Bosnia. An estimated 320,000 Serbs
live in the Krajina region.
Bosnia's population is
approximately 32% Serb, 42% Muslim Slav, and 18% Croat.
Macedonia is home to 43,000
Serbs and some 300,000 Albanians.
Montenegro is 25% Albanian or
Muslim, 10% Serbian, and 65% Montenegran.
Serbs have administrative powers in
Kosovo, which is 90% ethnic Albanian. Kosovo had defacto
republican status under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.
An estimated 427,000 ethnic Hungarians
reside in Yugoslavia.
EVENTS OF 1989
The Serbian Republican Assembly amends its
constitution to allow for greater Serbian control over
Kosovo and Vojvodina. [The ratification of these changes on
March 28 generates what is termed a ``holiday atmosphere''
Between 500,000 and 700,000 Serbs march in Belgrade
to protest what they term the "chauvinism
and separatism'' of Kosovo's Albanians. They are upset
because a February 20 strike by miners in Kosovo forced three top
local Serbian officials to resign.
Ante Markovic of Croatia, the Yugoslav Prime
Minister since January 19, gives a speech to the Federal Assembly
that the Financial Times calls ``one of the most sweeping
commitments ever heard in Belgrade to radical,
Ethnic Albanians in at least three cities in Kosovo riot.
Police fire at protesters in Pristina, Kosovo. Nine
are killed. [By March 29 at least 23 have died.]
Janez Drnovsek, a Slovene, becomes Yugoslav
Croatian Serbs clamor for autonomy.
The Slovenian Republican Assembly amends its
constitution to describe Slovenia as "an independent,
sovereign, and autonomous state'' with the right to
self-determination and secession.
Over 50,000 gather in Titograd, Montenegro to
protest Slovenia's constitutional changes. Serbs
rallying in Novi Sad call for the military takeover of Slovenia.
Slovenian leaders ban a Serb rally scheduled to
take place in Ljubljana on December 1.
Slovenia closes its border with Serbia.
The Croatian Republican Assembly decides to
support Slovenia against Serbia.
Over 500,000 Serbs strike to protest
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic's economic package.
EVENTS IN 1990
The Croatian and Slovenian Governments say they support the rights
of ethnic Albanians increasingly impinged upon by Serbs.
Serbia launches an economic blockade against
Former communist Franjo Tudjman, head of the
right-wing nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), initially
demands a confederated Yugoslavia but then says, ``We are already
expanding Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina because it is also a
state of the Croatian people.''
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic pushes for ``dialogue'' between the
armed forces and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, but only if Albanians
agree ``to maintain the integrity of the country.''
Serbian President Milosevic declares a state
of emergency and threatens to send ``hundreds of thousands'' of
Serbs to Kosovo to colonize it.
DEMOS (the separatist, pro-Western ``Democratic Opposition of
Slovenia'' party) wins Slovenia's election. It seeks confederation,
or, if that fails, outright independence. Milan Kucan, head of the
Democratic Renewal Party, retains the presidency. [A second round is
held on April 22.]
In Croatia's first free elections since World War II, Croatian
Democratic Union leader Tudjman dominates the race. He has pledged
to remove Serbs from many power positions in Croatia and has focused
his nationalist campaign on the annexation of parts of Bosnia and
secession from Yugoslavia.
Borisav Jovic, a Serb, becomes Yugoslav President and describes
Yugoslavia as on the verge of ``civil war.'' [Two weeks later he
will accuse the victors in the Croatian and Slovenian elections of
winning by ``typical fascist methods.'']
An estimated 30,000 anti-communists rally in Belgrade for early
Serbian President Milosevic says he will declare Serbian
independence if Yugoslavia becomes a confederation.
In a referendum in Serbia, 86% of voters favor a new constitution.
Most citizens in Kosovo boycott the vote because the new
constitutional amendments would strip them of their autonomy.
114 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo's parliament
declare Kosovo an independent republic.
The Slovenian Republican Assembly proclaims Slovenia sovereign. The
Slovenian Constitution and laws are now to take precedence over
those of Yugoslavia.
Serbia suspends the Kosovo Provincial Assembly and Government,
seizes radio and television stations in Pristina, and dismisses the
editors of the Albanian press.
The Croatian Republican Assembly approves twelve constitutional
amendments. One calls for the removal of ``Socialist'' from the
republic's name to make it ``Republic of Croatia,'' while another
``derecognizes'' the Cyrillic alphabet in areas where it does not
Leaders of Croatia's Serbian minority denounce
the changes and declare their sovereignty and autonomy ``to
determine with whom and under what regime their people will live,
and how they will integrate with the other nations in Yugoslavia.''
Armed Serb irregulars enter Croatia ``to protect the villages of
ethnic Serbs from discrimination.'' The troops take over Knin,
Croatia to ensure that voters can safely participate in a referendum
Yugoslav jets prevent Croatian helicopters from interfering in the
vote in southwestern Croatia.
Serbs in Knin, under the guidance of Jovan Raskovic, begin an
unofficial two-week referendum on the ``Serbian Autonomous Region of
Krajina.'' [It is announced on October 1 that 99% of voters favored
A delegation from the United States Congress, which includes
Senators George Mitchell and Bob Dole, visits Kosovo and accuses
Serbia of ``old-line communist repression.'' Hours before the
group's arrival, Serb police troops used tear gas and batons to
break up a demonstration of 5,000 outside the delegation's hotel.
Croatian Serbs declare their autonomy on the basis of the August
referendum. Croatia labels the declaration illegal. Serbian
President Milosevic urges federal forces to intervene to ``defend
Serbs from repression in Croatia.'' Serbian Renewal Movement leader
Vuk Draskovic calls for ``a declaration of war'' against Croatia.
The Yugoslav Collective State Presidency, which contains
representatives from the six republics and the two autonomous
regions, holds an emergency session to discuss growing unrest.
Yugoslav President Jovic pleads with citizens to ``refrain from any
actions that can make the situation worse.'' Government officials
demand that Croatia release Serbs who are being held ``unjustly.''
The Yugoslav National Army (JNA) occupies the headquarters of
Slovenia's Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) in Ljubljana. [Slovenian
commanders had already relocated when the JNA arrived.]
Serbian President Milosevic and his ruling party take 65% of the
vote in Serbia's first free election. [Although Slovenes, Croats,
Bosnians, and Macedonians ousted ruling communists in their first
free elections, Serbia and Montenegro elect to preserve the power of
the old guard.] Kosovo's ethnic Albanians protest the annexation of
their province by boycotting the election. Widespread irregularities
Alija Izetbegovic, head of the Muslim Democratic Action Party,
becomes Bosnian President.
Almost 95% of voting Slovenes choose independence. Over 93% of
Slovenia's 1.5 million voters take part. Slovenia's 50,000 ethnic
Serbs oppose such a move. The overwhelming results of the referendum
provide Slovenia's officials with the mandate first to negotiate for
the establishment of a loose confederation and, if unsuccessful
within six months, then to declare independence.
EVENTS OF 1991
Serbian President Milosevic says his government will demand
territory if Yugoslavia should ever become a confederation of
The JNA orders the disbanding of the Croatian and Slovenian Armies,
which it calls ``illegal paramilitary forces.'' The Yugoslav
Collective State Presidency threatens to intervene if the republics
do not collect weapons by January 19. [Neither Croatia nor Slovenia
meet the deadline.]
Croatia and Slovenia put troops on alert, as tensions mount between
the republics' leaders and the Yugoslav Government in Belgrade. The
Yugoslav Government extends the deadline for demilitarization by 48
Serbian President Milosevic reiterates his intention, if Yugoslavia
should break up, to incorporate all Serb areas outside Serbia into a
Croatian and Slovenian officials go public
with the contents of their January 20 mutual defense accord. If the
JNA should intervene militarily in either republic, both states have
agreed to immediately declare independence.
A Croat-Slovene statement reveals that both republics intend to
secede if Yugoslavia does not become a ``community of sovereign
republics'' by July.
Police forcibly quell anti-communist protests in Belgrade. The
Serbian Renewal Movement leads 30,000 people in nationalist,
anti-government, pro-press freedom chants.
U.S. President George Bush tells Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic
that the U.S. will ``not encourage or reward those who would break
up the country.''
Troops clash after Serbs seize land in the Krajina. Serb forces
occupy one of Croatia's biggest tourist attractions, Plitvice
National Park, and declare it part of their ``Autonomous Region.''
The worst clash since World War II takes place in Borovo Selo in the
Krajina. At least 13 police and four civilians are left dead; 29 are
wounded. Many describe the country as at the ``edge of civil war.''
Warren Zimmerman, U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia, says that the U.S.
is ``strongly opposed to Slovenian independence.''
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos boasts, ``If anyone can do
anything here, it is the EC. It is not the U.S. or the USSR or
Slovenia's first 300 regular troops are sworn
The Yugoslav Collective State Presidency says it will attempt to
save Yugoslavia by establishing a loose confederation. The plan is
put forth by Bosnian President Izetbegovic and Macedonian President
Kiro Gligorov. Slovenian President Kucan says he is ``standing
back'' from the joint statement.
Twelve policemen and three civilians are
killed in Croat-Serb gun fighting in Borovo Selo, Krajina. The
Yugoslav military is put on combat alert.
The self-proclaimed ``Serbian Autonomous
Region of Krajina'' issues warrants for the arrests of the Croatian
Defense and Interior Ministers for their alleged crimes against
Secretary of State Baker visits Belgrade and warns Slovenian
President Kucan and Croatian President Tudjman that the U.S. does
not plan to recognize the states' independence. He says that the
U.S. would support the June 6 Gligorov-Izetbegovic compromise
proposal for confederation and reiterates that the conflict should
be solved ``by negotiations and through dialogue.''
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic pleads with
Croatia and Slovenia not to secede.
European Community (EC) officials warn Slovenes and Croats that
recognition will not be forthcoming.
Croatia and Slovenia declare themselves ``sovereign and independent
states'' and begin the process of independence. Slovenian President
Kucan says his country wants to escape the ``hegemonic ambitions''
of Serbia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)
Constitution will no longer hold. Croatian President Tudjman
attributes his state's secession to ``the continuing threats and
aggression and hatred against anything that is Croatian.'' He also
signals a willingness to consider a ``union of two independent
states.'' [Both countries soon agree to postpone these declarations
for three months in order to try to negotiate a compromise.]
The U.S. says it will ``ignore'' these
``unilateral steps.'' Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger
calls the announcements ``a threat to the stability and well-being
of the peoples of Yugoslavia.'' White House Spokesman Marlin
Fitzwater contends that there are ``still opportunities for
compromise'' among contesting forces in Yugoslavia. President Bush
asserts, ``What we don't need is more violence in the world. We do
need some more peace and tranquility and people sitting down and
talking about their differences.'' Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic
reportedly knows he has U.S. support ``to preserve the unity of his
The Federal Assembly orders the JNA to
intervene to ``protect Yugoslavia's borders.''
Croats and Serbs clash in the Krajina.
In what many view as the start of the civil war in Yugoslavia, JNA
troops and machinery begin moving toward Slovenia's borders at 9
a.m.. Commander Konrad Kolsek says his troops have been ``charged
with the task of taking over all border crossings and protecting the
state borders of the SFRY.'' Any attempt to resist, he says, will
Slovenian President Kucan instructs those
4,000 Slovenes in the JNA to desert. The JNA advance is met with
Three EC foreign ministers from Luxembourg, Portugal, and the
Netherlands (Poos, Gianni De Michelis, and Hans van den Broek)
negotiate a cease-fire arrangement in Slovenia that calls for the
JNA's withdrawal, a three-month suspension of independence
declarations, and the election of Stipe Mesic to the top post in the
Yugoslav Collective State Presidency.
The EC-brokered cease-fire holds temporarily,
as the JNA claims to have ``accomplished the planned tasks'' in
Slovenia. In the last four days over 100 people have been killed.
State Department officials pressure the
Yugoslav forces to ``end the bloodshed and commence negotiations.''
They say Belgrade must ``find a way to give vent to the national
aspirations of the various elements within Yugoslavia in a peaceful
Croatia and Slovenia suspend their declarations of independence for
three months, but outbursts of fighting continue. Serbia finally
allows Stipe Mesic to become head of state, which he does on June
30. Federal troops in Slovenia are ordered back to their barracks.
The EC mediators threaten to suspend $1 billion in economic aid if
military attacks against Slovenia and Croatia continue, and they
reemphasize Europe's commitment to ``Yugoslavia.''
Fierce fighting takes place in early July in Ljubljana between the
JNA and Slovenia's well-organized Territorial Defense Forces.
Fighting also heats up in Croatia and spreads
to Zagreb. There is pressure on Croatia to intervene on the side of
Slovenia. The conflict is especially severe in Croatia's
Serb-populated regions. Thousands fearing a JNA attack on Croatia
flee to neighboring Vojvodina.
The Slovenian Government appeals to the JNA to turn over its
weapons. The Yugoslav Government mobilizes an additional contingent
of reserve troops and puts them at the ``highest state of
The June 28 EC cease-fire crumbles in Slovenia when the Yugoslav Air
Force bombs Ljubljana. Yet JNA Chief of Staff Blagoje Adzic claims
the army is being forced to fight and promises to end the war.
The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) holds
its first-ever emergency meeting to discuss the war in Yugoslavia.
It recommends sending EC-based officials to monitor the cease-fire
and facilitate political negotiations.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic refutes the notion that he ordered
federal troops into Slovenia on June 27. ``The federal government,''
he insists, ``never ordered, nor could order, any army action in the
way it was done.''
EC foreign ministers agree to impose an arms embargo and suspend
financial aid to Yugoslavia (estimated at $915 million). They also
send the foreign ministers of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and
Portugal back to the region. The U.S. signals its support for the
Slovenia announces it has demobilized 10,000
soldiers in the Territorial Defense Forces.
The three EC foreign ministers negotiate a truce between Croatia,
Slovenia, and Yugoslavia in Brioni. The ``Brioni Agreement'' calls
for: the release of prisoners of war; imminent talks on the future
of the state; the withdrawal of federal troops; the demobilization
of Slovenian forces; and the dispatch of EC observers to Croatia and
Slovenia. [The Croatian Republican Assembly ratifies the accord on
July 9; Slovenia approves it on July 10; and the Yugoslav Collective
State Presidency accepts a revised version on July 12.]
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev expresses
his support for Yugoslavia's ``unity and territorial integrity.''
Serbian President Milosevic boycotts EC-sponsored peace talks.
Croatian officials estimate that Serbs occupy 15% of Croatia.
EC foreign ministers agree to consider ending
the freeze on loans to republics that participate in the
internationally-sponsored peace process.
A federally mandated cease-fire begins at 6 a.m. and ends when Serb
forces in the Krajina shell a Croatian village. Approximately 300
people have died since Croatia's June declaration.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl threatens to
impose sanctions on Serbia and to recognize Croatia and Slovenia if
the truce in Croatia is not respected.
Reports circulate that Serbia is tightening its grip on Kosovo and
Vojvodina by restricting freedoms while world attention is fixed on
events in Croatia and Slovenia.
Serbian, Montenegrin, and Bosnian leaders convene in Belgrade to
discuss ``Greater Serbia.'' This new land would consist of Serbian
enclaves in Croatia, and it would fully absorb Kosovo and Vojvodina.
Croatia would be compensated with chunks of Bosnia. Bosnia is
represented by General Radovan Karadzic, a Serb.
JNA troops launch a full-scale offensive with ethnic Serbs against
Croat forces in Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Kijevo, and other towns.
Croatian President Tudjman meets with Yugoslav military leaders
Kadijevic and Adzic in an effort to prevent escalation.
Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock warns
Western allies that ``sometime in the future _ it could be two
months or it could be two years _ intervention will be
unavoidable.'' He recommends prompt response.
August 28 - September 1
The truce signed by Croatian President Tudjman and Yugoslav military
leaders collapses when Yugoslav and Serb forces launch attacks on
the Croatian towns of Dalmatia, Vukovar and Osijek.
Serbs have reportedly seized Croatia's Benicanci Oil Field, home to
one-third of Yugoslavia's oil.
Croatia and Slovenia formally secede from Yugoslavia. Croatia shuts
down the pipeline that sends oil supplies to Serbia.
EC-sponsored peace talks begin at The Hague
under the chairmanship of Lord Peter Carrington, a former NATO
95% of voting Macedonians opt for a ``sovereign and independent
Macedonia with the right to enter a union of sovereign states of
Yugoslavia.'' The republic's Albanian minority (20%) boycotts the
Macedonian President Gligorov says he hopes to
maintain ``neighborly relations'' with Serbia and the Yugoslav
Serb troops use tear gas and water cannons to break up
demonstrations by 15,000 ethnic Albanians in Pristina.
Bosnian Government officials plead with the EC
to send observers.
Under pressure from Britain, EC foreign ministers reject a proposal
to send peacekeeping troops to the former Yugoslavia.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic demands the
resignation of Yugoslav Defense Secretary Kadijevic, whose forces
are now fighting openly with Serbia.
A cease-fire goes into effect at 3 p.m.. Yugoslav Defense Secretary
Kadijevic says, ``Yugoslavia as it existed until now has ceased to
be'' and ``the army is therefore taking certain decisions into its
The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously adopts
Resolution 713 embargoing the sale of weapons and military equipment
to Yugoslavia. No provision is made to back up the embargo.
Secretary of State Baker says, ``clearly, the Yugoslavian federal
military is not serving as an impartial guarantor of the cease-fire
in Croatia. On the contrary, it has actively supported local Serbian
forces in violating the cease-fire, causing death to the citizens it
is constitutionally supposed to protect.'' This is seen by observers
as a signal that the U.S. has abandoned hope for a federated
Yugoslavia and is now condemning the Serbs.
The eight-member Yugoslav Collective State Presidency splits in
half, and both sides claim to represent Yugoslavia's sovereignty.
The Yugoslav Navy begins blockading seven
Croatian ports _ Dubrovnik, Pula, Rujeka, Sebenik, Split, Zadar, and
The EC's three-month ``cooling-off'' period ends at midnight, and
Croatia and Slovenia secede from Yugoslavia.
The EC delays sanctions, and the warring sides
sign a six-point peace plan.
The Slovenian Republican Assembly approves the
tolar, the state's new currency.
UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar
names former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance ``UN Envoy to
Serbian deputies storm out of the Bosnian Republican Assembly to
protest the vote for Bosnian sovereignty.
Soviet President Gorbachev and Russian
President Boris Yeltsin hold peace negotiations with Croatian
President Tudjman and Serbian President Milosevic in Moscow. They
garner a truce, but it soon falls apart.
The Serbs reject a draft settlement because they deem the
EC-designed loose confederation of states with civil rights
guarantees for minorities an ``abrogation of the Yugoslavian
Constitution.'' The EC threatens to suspend trade agreements with
Yugoslavia and to reestablish them with the other republics unless
the Serbs sign.
The first secret assembly of ethnic Albanians declares the
establishment of the ``Republic of Kosovo.''
Albania recognizes Kosovo's independence.
Yugoslav Defense Secretary Kadijevic tells the
Yugoslav Collective State Presidency that Germany is ``about to
attack Yugoslavia for the third time this century.'' He claims the
Germans are ``preparing first for an economic and then for a
military assault,'' and he orders a mobilization ``to stop the
The JNA attacks Dubrovnik and orders the city's defenders to
In a move that runs counter to the EC's plan
for confederation, top Serb leaders agree to create a rump Yugoslav
state (``Greater Serbia''). Serbian President Milosevic refuses to
consider any plan that leaves large pockets of Serbs outside the
borders of the Serbian state.
Bosnian Serbs who walked out of the October 15 session on Bosnian
sovereignty form their own ``Assembly of the Serbian Nation of
The EC suspends trade, aid, and investment in Yugoslavia but says it
will not penalize those republics fully cooperating in peace talks.
U.S. officials promise to join in the application of sanctions, and
they also call for an oil embargo. [Half of Yugoslavia's $23.3
billion in trade was with Europe in the first eight months of 1991.]
Croatian President Tudjman calls for the aid
of the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
Western sources estimate that 2,500 have died
and 400,000 have fled so far in the conflict.
Croatia's most fiercely defended city, Vukovar, falls to the Serbs
after an 86-day siege. Croatian President Tudjman and leaders of the
far Right blame one another for the military and strategic setback.
Western European Union (WEU) ministers propose the creation of a
``humanitarian corridor'' to guarantee the safe movement of
refugees. Warships would be used to protect refugee boats exiting
At UN talks in Geneva, Serb, Croat, and Yugoslav leaders sign a
cease-fire (the 14th), which will allow for the installation of UN
peacekeepers. No final decisions are made on the deployment of the
troops. Croatian President Tudjman accuses the JNA of conducting an
eleventh hour land-grab before the multinational force arrives.
UN Security Council Resolution 721 authorizes the deployment of
10,000 UN peacekeepers in Croatia, conditional on the success of the
November 23 cease-fire.
German Chancellor Kohl pledges German
recognition ``before Christmas.''
The EC normalizes trade relations with all republics except Serbia
An EC document is leaked to the press, which
reports the ``brutal aggression'' of the ``terrorist'' JNA.
The EC foreign ministers decide to recognize Croatia and Slovenia
after January 15, 1992. EC foreign ministers establish five criteria
for recognition: acceptance of the UN Charter and the CSCE Helsinki
Accords; a guarantee of the rights of ethnic minorities; respect for
internationally-recognized borders; agreement to uphold arms control
and disarmament treaties; and support for the political resolution
of disputes. Serbian officials criticize the EC move.
Under the guidance of Milan Babic, Serbs in two Serb enclaves in
Croatia _ the ``Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina'' and the
``Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem'' _
declare their own Serbian Republic of Krajina. [The enclaves are not
adjacent, but they account for approximately 300,000 people and
one-third of Croatia.]
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung estimates
that around 500,000 citizens in Croatia have already been dislocated
in the war.
Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic, a Croat, resigns over the ``war
budget'' for 1992. [76% of funds are allotted to the JNA when the
budget is passed on December 29].
Bosnian Serbs declare their independence.
Germany, followed by Belgium and Denmark, recognizes Slovenia and
Croatia. It also offers economic aid to Croatia. This upsets
officials in the EC, who had planned joint recognition in
mid-January. [Over 700,000 Yugoslavs, most of whom are Croats, live
and work in Germany.]
Bosnian President Izetbegovic requests that
the UN dispatch peacekeepers to Bosnia.
Croatia issues its own currency.
Serbia recognizes the independence of the
On his fifth visit to Yugoslavia since October, Vance wins formal
agreement from Serb and Yugoslav officials for the following:
- a cease-fire.
- the deployment of UN peacekeepers.
- the withdrawal of the JNA and Serb
irregular units from occupied Croatia.
If the ``Vance Plan'' is implemented,
the UN will contribute 10,000 military, police, and civilian
personnel to the peacekeeping force, including battalions of lightly
armed infantry, 100 military observers, and 500 un-armed police
monitors and support personnel.
Once the peace forces are deployed, the 22 UN
Protected Areas (UNPAs) will be demilitarized. The UN team will be
charged with protecting civilians and ensuring that Croatian and JNA
troops leave or disarm. Regional and local police forces will
continue to operate in the UNPAs.
The operation's initial mandate will run for
six months, with the UN Security Council deciding on further
extensions. UN members will foot the bill, but Yugoslav authorities
are to supply fuel, food, and accommodation.
Many observers are pessimistic about the Vance
- UN peacekeepers will not be deployed
until a cease-fire holds; and given the 14 previous failures,
this seems unlikely.
- Serb forces have taken control of
one-third of Croatia and proclaimed a separate independent
state. Serbian leaders say that troop withdrawal would have no
effect on that claim.
- Croatian leaders say they will not
surrender any territory.
Meanwhile, invigorated by Germany's
recognition, Croatia is on the offensive. Western diplomats are
quoted as saying that the Croats have violated the November 23
cease-fire more often than the Serbs.
The Serb-dominated rump Yugoslav Collective
State Presidency approves the UN plan to deploy peacekeepers.
Radio Free Europe estimates that 550,000 have
been displaced, 6,000 killed, and 15,000 wounded in the war between
Serbs and Croats.
EVENTS OF 1992
Following the German lead, all twelve EC members _ plus Austria,
Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey _ recognize Croatia
and Slovenia. The EC says it will only respect pre-war borders.
France and Britain say they will not send ambassadors to Croatia
until human rights issues are resolved. Germany officially turns its
consulates in Zagreb and Ljubljana into embassies. The U.S. refuses
to go along with recognition, insisting that independence be
peacefully attained and ethnic minorities be respected.
Bulgaria becomes the first to recognize Bosnia
and Macedonia as well. Greek officials say Bulgaria's move is
``forced and incorrect.''
German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher
boasts that European recognition is evidence that ``German policy on
Yugoslavia has proven correct.'' And Chancellor Kohl says,
``Everyone will soon realize that this policy [of recognition] was
right. Without our decision, this civil war would not end.''
Croatian and Slovenian state-run television and radio play the tune
Serbia and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav
Government denounce the recognition. Serbian Foreign Minister
Vladislav Jovanovic warns the EC of the ``very serious precedent''
it has set by fostering the break-up of a ``multinational state.''
The Yugoslav Collective State Presidency describes the EC move as
``a gross violation of the principles of the UN Charter.''
Bosnian officials report that Croatian
President Tudjman and Bosnian Serb leader Nikolai Koljevic met on
January 11 to plot the partition of Bosnia between Croats and Serbs.
The Washington Post discloses the contents of a confidential EC
report on Serb atrocities in Croatia. The EC observers place most of
the blame on the Serbs and claim that 10,000 have died and over one
million have been displaced since June, 1991.
Italy follows Germany's lead and establishes
diplomatic relations with Croatia and Slovenia.
The Helsinki Watch estimates that 10,000 have died in the war in
Croatia, and 5,000 are still missing. The Yugoslav Red Cross says
Croatia has 170,000 refugees; Serbia, 157,768; Hungary, 20,000; and
In Resolution 740 the UN Security Council urges Serb leaders to
accept the Vance Plan, which is ``in no way intended to prejudge the
terms of a political settlement.''
The UN Security Council passes Resolution 743 unanimously. Nearly
14,400 peacekeepers, in a unit called the United Nations Protection
Force (UNPROFOR), will be sent to monitor the cease-fire and protect
the rights of those in the 14 Serbian minority enclaves in Croatia
for one year ``unless the Council subsequently decides otherwise.''
This is described as an ``interim measure'' intended to ``create the
conditions of peace and security required for the negotiation of an
overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis.''
Bosnians vote for independence in a two-day referendum. Most Serbs
(32% of Bosnia's population) obey their leaders' call to boycott the
referendum, but many Muslim Slavs and Croats participate. Overall,
63% of eligible Bosnians vote, 99.4% of whom choose independence.
[The EC had responded to Bosnia's December request for recognition
by requiring a referendum.]
The Bosnian Serbs who have already declared
their own ``Serbian Republic'' threaten to militarily defend the
Bosnian territory they now control if the independence of Bosnia is
internationally recognized. Bosnian President Izetbegovic says,
``There may be a few isolated incidents, but a general armed
conflict will not erupt.''
Bosnian Serb leaders approve a constitution for the ``Serbian
Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,'' which they say will be a state
in the reconstituted ``all-Serb state of Yugoslavia'' that will also
contain Serbia, Montenegro, and the Serbian parts of Croatia.
Bosnian leaders appeal to the UN for
peacekeepers as fighting rages for a third day in Bosanski Brod. The
JNA appears to be openly fighting alongside Serb guerrillas.
The epicenter of the Serb attack moves to Bosnia. ``Ethnic
cleansing'' becomes rampant.
Serb troops intensify their shelling attack on the Muslim quarter in
Sarajevo. The Croat unit that captured Kupres is now advancing
eastward toward Croat enclaves in central Bosnia.
Macedonian President Gligorov again insists
his republic has no claims on Greek Macedonian territory. He warns
that the international community's continued refusal to recognize
his state will have ``severe consequences.''
The EC recognizes Bosnian independence, thus igniting more Serbian
violence. Due to Greek pressure, the EC does not recognize
Macedonia. The EC ends sanctions against Serbia as long as Serbs
continue to participate in the peace process, reestablish air-links
with the other republics, and respect the authority of the UNPROFOR.
[These decisions were made on April 6 but announced today in order
to accommodate the U.S..]
The White House recognizes the independence of
Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia within their pre-war borders. The
Administration says it will also lift economic sanctions against
Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia but will not do so for
Montenegro and Serbia until the rump Yugoslav Government stops
impeding traffic and trade with Macedonia and Bosnia.
Two Bosnian Serbs, Koljevic and Biljana
Plavsic, resign from the collective Bosnian Presidency. They leave
to assume leadership positions in their own self-proclaimed,
The Serb-led JNA _ still with approximately
100,000 troops in Croatia _ attacks several Croatian towns.
In Resolution 749 the UN Security Council
recommends full UNPROFOR deployment and a $26 million cut in
The Bosnian Government announces an ``impending war emergency'' and
urges the various ethnic militias to come together to combat the JNA
and Serb militias. Heavy fighting is now occurring throughout the
republic. Sarajevo's defenders say they have no weapons to stop
daily Serbian artillery attacks.
UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali refuses to expand the mandate of
peacekeepers in Croatia to cover Bosnia.
``All-out war'' erupts in Sarajevo.
Serbs detain Bosnian President Izetbegovic, but the UNPROFOR wins
The EC foreign ministers announce that the EC
is ``willing to recognize Macedonia as a sovereign and independent
state within its existing borders and under a name that can be
accepted by all parties concerned.''
Bosnian Vice President Rusmir Mahmutcehajic tells Bosnian Serbs and
Croats ``to stuff [their ethnically-based maps] up their shirts.''
The EC pulls its ambassadors out of Yugoslavia. The EC foreign
ministers declare that ``by far the greatest share of the blame
falls on the JNA and the authorities in Belgrade which are in
control of the army, both directly and indirectly by supporting
EC monitors are pulled out of Sarajevo due to deteriorating
security. The U.S. recalls Yugoslav Ambassador Zimmerman. The CSCE
prohibits Yugoslavia's representative from participating in a
discussion on the war.
The UN Security Council passes Resolution 752, which calls for
Yugoslavia to cease its interference in Bosnia and to start
demobilizing its troops still stationed there.
On the recommendation of UN Undersecretary for
Peacekeeping Goulding, UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali says a
Bosnian peace force is ``not feasible'' given the brutal pitch of
the fighting. He warns that the Vance Plan is being jeopardized by
the Croatian Serbs' refusal to demobilize. He orders UN troops to
withdraw from their base in Sarajevo. [Most have left by May 17.]
Serb militants seize UN relief supplies bound for Sarajevo.
The UN General Assembly formally admits
Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
Secretary of State Baker announces that
Yugoslavia's consulates in New York and San Francisco will be closed
and its military attaches will be expelled from Washington. He
describes the situation in the Balkans as a ``humanitarian
Serb officials report the establishment of the first detention
center in northern Bosnia near Prijedor.
The JNA stops pulling out of the Krajina.
The JNA begins withdrawing from Sarajevo.
Serbs are reportedly rounding up civilians in
dozens of northern Bosnian towns and cities.
In unofficial elections in Kosovo, Ibrahim
Rugova, leader of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (DSK), is
At the ``Lisbon Conference'' Secretary of
State Baker reprimands his European cohorts for not forcefully
confronting the war in the former Yugoslavia. He says that ``anyone
who is looking for reasons not to act, or arguing somehow that
action in the face of this kind of nightmare is not warranted at
this time...is on the wrong wave-length.'' He recommends Chapter
Seven sanctions, saying ``before we consider force, we ought to
exhaust all of the political, diplomatic, and economic remedies that
might be at hand.''
Serb forces shell civilians waiting in line for bread in Sarajevo.
The attack kills 16.
The EC imposes a trade embargo against
Yugoslavia. EC representatives encourage the UN Security Council to
launch its own financial and oil embargo. [Before the war the EC
accounted for approximately half of Serbia and Montenegro's imports
At a NATO meeting U.S. Secretary of Defense
Dick Cheney says military intervention is not being considered ``at
UN Security Council Resolution 757 for sanctions against Serbia and
Montenegro is passed 13-0. Russian President Yeltsin gives the
sanctions his support. Like its predecessor, Resolution 752, this
resolution demands that ``outside'' forces stop interfering in the
Bosnian conflict. It orders Croat troops out of Bosnia; it requires
Serbs to stop forcing non-Serbs out of their homes; it calls for all
``irregular forces'' in Bosnia to be disbanded; it places a ban on
exports (except food and medicine) to and foreign investment in
Yugoslavia; it freezes Yugoslavia's foreign assets; it reduces the
number of diplomatic personnel in Yugoslavia; and it restricts
Yugoslavia's participation in international sporting, science, and
cultural activities. Shipments of goods through Yugoslavia are still
President Bush implements the freeze on
Yugoslav assets in the U.S..
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel downplays
talk of military action, saying ``we should expect the sanctions to
have an effect.''
A convoy of UN trucks enters Sarajevo with the first 15 tons of food
and medicine. A battalion of Canadian peacekeepers arrives to ensure
that Sarajevo Airport is kept open.
UN Security Council representatives attempt to
reassure Serbs living near UN-protected Serbian enclaves that they
will not be mistreated as Croatia reestablishes control.
Serb forces ignore the orders of the Group of Seven (G-7) to end
their military offensive, and they instead begin a major assault on
Gorazde, the last large Muslim-controlled city in eastern Bosnia.
UN aid workers are accompanied by armed
peacekeepers and at last manage to supply Dobrinja, a suburb of
Sarajevo cut off for 71 days.
Serbia commemorates the 100th day of its siege on Sarajevo by
launching a new attack on both Sarajevo and Gorazde.
UN Security Council Resolution 764 authorizes
the dispatch of 500 more peacekeepers to Sarajevo (from 1,100 to
1,600) to help keep Sarajevo Airport open for the influx of relief
Sarajevo loses electricity and water after Serb shells hit power
A Bosnian Muslim reports a massacre in northwestern Bosnia in which
160 detention camp prisoners were killed by Serb guards. The
Washington Post quotes the man claiming, ``In the morning, they
would collect the remains in a wheelbarrow _ brains, blood, pieces
Presidential candidate Bill Clinton criticizes President Bush for
exhibiting little ``real leadership'' on the Balkan crisis. In a
statement Clinton calls on Bush to squeeze Serbia's economy with a
tight blockade, and he suggests selective bombing. He also insists
that Serbian President Milosevic be brought to justice for his
``crimes against humanity.''
EC peace talks reopen in London under EC chief negotiator Cutilheiro.
White House Spokesman Fitzwater derides
candidate Clinton's foreign policy statement as ``reckless,'' adding
that Clinton is ``a long way from being qualified to lead the
The leaders of Bosnia's three factions meet in London for
EC-mediated talks (the 10th round), but Bosnian Foreign Minister
Silajdzic rejects the EC proposal for cantonization.
Bosnian President Izetbegovic pleads with UN
officials to exclude Bosnia from arms embargo so his people can
Bosnian President Izetbegovic sends a letter of appeal to the UN
Security Council to lift the arms embargo and allow Bosnia ``to
achieve the right to individual and collective self-defense''
guaranteed in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
The International Committee of the Red Cross
presses for access to Serb-run concentration camps.
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher
confirms that the U.S. has evidence of camps in Bosnia.
The State Department backtracks, as Assistant Secretary of State
Thomas Niles reports no ``substantial information'' on camps.
UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali condemns
the shelling of Sarajevo Airport and is forced to suspend relief
deliveries. A U.S.-sponsored UN Security Council resolution also
condemns the use of detention camps.
Sarajevo UNPROFOR Commander MacKenzie says
that too much attention is being paid to Sarajevo and not enough to
the rest of the country. He lists UNPROFOR goals in Sarajevo:
cease-fire; the centralization of all weapons under UN observation;
the creation of secure corridors; and the opening of Sarajevo
Airport. The UNPROFOR has carried out the last step but not the
first three. He says that Bosnian President Izetbegovic will only
speak with Belgrade and JNA representatives, not with the Bosnian
The International Committee of Red Cross
visits ten prison and detention camps and reports blatant human
rights violations by all sides.
Russia recognizes Macedonia.
Candidate Clinton says that the UN should bomb Serbian artillery
positions from the air.
President Bush urges the Security Council to authorize the use of
all necessary measures to ensure relief delivery; to establish
diplomatic ties with Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia; to dispatch
monitors to prevent spill-over into neighboring territory; and to
increase its coordination with NATO. He also demands that
humanitarian agencies be allowed entry into camps but rules out
using force to free prisoners. British and French officials call
Bush's statement a hasty and ill-prepared reaction to political
concerns in the U.S..
Meanwhile, Serb forces intensify their attack
Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger appeals
for war crimes investigations into the reports of atrocities in
Bosnian detention centers.
The UN Security Council passes Resolution 770, allowing for ``all
necessary measures'' to be taken to ensure the delivery of
humanitarian aid. The resolution also requires that international
humanitarian organizations gain unlimited access to camps and
detention centers in Bosnia. Bosnian UN Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
describes the measure as ``the minimum [required] to appease public
opinion.'' [He had hoped the UN would lift the arms embargo.]
Resolution 771 is also passed, pertaining to
war crimes. The Security Council condemns ``ethnic cleansing'' and
promises to punish war criminals.
ABC producer David Kaplan is killed in
``Sniper's Alley'' between Sarajevo and its airport.
Yugoslavia recognizes independent Slovenia.
The EC- and UN-sponsored International Conference on Yugoslavia
convenes in London. The ``London Conference'' brings all the main
players from the former Yugoslavia and the international community
together for the first time. Serb leaders agree to lift the siege on
Sarajevo and other Bosnian cities; to close detention camps; to
cooperate with humanitarian relief operations; and to turn over
heavy arms to the UN. The accord stipulates that the international
community will recognize no territory gained by force. Flights over
Bosnia are prohibited.
Serbian President Milosevic agrees in
principle but claims to have little real control over Bosnia's Serb
nationalists. Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic for his part denies that
his forces have anything to do with the assault on Sarajevo. The
meeting will resume in Geneva on September 3 under Vance and Owen.
Many doubt the Serbs will keep their
commitments. Secretary of State Eagleburger says, for instance, that
he does not ``have any particular confidence [Milosevic] will live
up to his end of the bargain,'' but he praises the UN-EC effort.
Croatian officials intercept a planeload of arms sent by Iran to aid
Bosnia. This is the first tangible proof that Islamic nations are
attempting to aid Bosnia.
For the first time, the UN General Assembly expels a country,
Yugoslavia. The vote is 127-6 in response to the Serb offensive in
Bosnia. Yugoslav Prime Minister Panic tells the Assembly that such a
move will only bolster ``militant nationalists.''
Croatian President Tudjman swears that Serbs
in Croatia have full civil rights, so the UNPROFOR will not be
needed after its mandate ends in 1993.
The U.S. requests the creation of a war crimes
The UN Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 780 to set up
a war crimes commission to ``examine grave breaches of international
humanitarian law.'' It calls on governments and organizations to
collect data on suspected war crimes and submit it to the UN within
30 days. The ``Commission of Experts'' is to be modeled after the
Allied War Crimes Tribunal, but the resolution lays out few
specifics. The Security Council also calls for the disbanding of
Serb paramilitary units.
The Security Council also approves Resolution
779, which again authorizes the UNPROFOR to take control of the
Peruca Dam, monitor the JNA's ``complete withdrawal'' from Croatia,
and oversee the complete demilitarization of the Prevlaka Peninsula.
The Serbian evacuation of the Prevlaka
Peninsula commences. [The area is officially ``demilitarized'' by
Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona) and Representative Frank
McCloskey (D-Indiana) call on President Bush to ``take immediate
additional steps to reverse Serbian aggression.'' In a letter that
warns of spill-over to Macedonia and Kosovo, they urge Bush to do
the following: recognize Macedonia; admit more Bosnian refugees into
the U.S.; downgrade the U.S. diplomatic presence in Yugoslavia; seek
an expansion of the UNPROFOR mandate; establish a war crimes
tribunal; and ``stress peacemaking rather than peacekeeping'' by
bombing Serbian artillery sites and lifting the arms embargo.
The Islamic Conference Organization calls for military intervention
in Bosnia and the arming of Bosnia's Muslims.
Slovenia holds its first general election since gaining independence
in 1991. Kucan, the incumbent independent, tallies 64% of the vote.
The Serbs' intensified attack on Sarajevo has
shut down telephone, water, and electricity systems. The Serbs
tighten their grip by capturing Oates, a valuable western suburb.
UN High Commissioner Ogata says that the
former Yugoslavia's estimated three million refugees _ 1.7 million
of whom are in Bosnia _ face grave danger in the coming winter.
Former Secretary of State George Shultz calls for military
intervention in Bosnia. He says the war makes him ``stop and think
about Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz because it's the same problem:
ethnic cleansing...And if we say never again, we're saying that we
believe there is a need to do something about it, but we are seeing
The U.S. submits its fourth report on war
crimes to the UN.
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic is elected president of the ``Serbian
Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.''
The UN Security Council condemns Serb-run
detention centers and mass rapes in Bosnia.
A large crowd jeers UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali as he arrives
in Sarajevo. He has come to persuade the Bosnian Government not to
launch a counter-offensive against Serbia. Bystanders shout
``Fascists!'' and ``Criminals!'' at him and Vance as they drive
through the city's center. He says later, ``I understand your
frustration, but you have a situation that is better than ten other
places in the world...I can give you a list.''
Approximately 150 young ethnic Serbs protest
the removal of Serbian President Milosevic's pictures from a
merry-go-round in Macedonia, shouting ``this is Serbian land.''
Police use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
EVENTS OF 1993
Leaders of the factions involved in the Bosnian war gather in Geneva
to discuss the Vance-Owen Plan and to attempt to reconcile their
territorial demands. The plan's ten provinces are described by
negotiators as ``as geographically coherent as possible, taking into
account ethnic, geographical, historical, communication, economic
viability, and other relevant factors.''
The Vance-Owen Plan has three parts:
- the reorganization of Bosnia into ten
provinces, according to the Vance-Owen maps.
- the creation of a new constitution, which
would allow the provinces autonomy within a decentralized state.
- the establishment of a cease-fire.
Each of the main groups would predominate in
three provinces; Sarajevo would become a mixed, demilitarized ``open
city;'' and the Serbs would be forced to relinquish over 20% of
Bosnia. There would be absolutely no ``ethnically pure'' provinces.
Owen also proposes five ``throughways,'' which would allow ``full
freedom of movement'' and be guaranteed by UN forces. UN observers
would be posted at the republic's border-crossing points. Serb and
Croat troops would have to withdraw from specific provinces. The ban
on military flights over Bosnia would remain in effect.
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic says he will
``stay as long as necessary'' to achieve a peace settlement but also
refuses to relinquish what he calls ``Serb lands'' in Bosnia.
EC investigators estimate that 20,000 Muslim women have been raped
by Bosnian Serb soldiers in recent months as part of a systematic
campaign to force them out of their homes in Bosnia.
Serb nationalist troops murder Bosnian Deputy
Prime Minister Hajika Turajlic after dragging him from a UN vehicle
headed to Sarajevo.
Bosnian Government officials announce that
they will not return to peace talks until they are convinced that
the Serbs support peace.
Bosnian President Izetbegovic meets with Bush
and Clinton aides.
Radio Free Europe reports that Owen told the
Croatian weekly Globus that most of Bosnia's problems can be solved,
except for the Bosnian Serbs' ``demand for their own republic.'' He
says Vance-Owen can not incorporate such a demand. In the same issue
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic boasts that ``it is not difficult to
procure nuclear weapons on the open market.''
The Bosnian Army shells Bajina Basta (just across the Drjna in
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic prepares to put
the Vance-Owen Plan before his parliament. He believes Serbs and
Muslims can not ``live with one another,'' but suggests maybe
``beside one another.'' He insists that the territory his forces now
occupy is ``legitimate Serbian territory,'' and he ignores the fact
that Muslims once constituted a majority in many of the regions. He
denies that any form of ``ethnic cleansing'' has occurred and
instead calls it ``ethnic shifting.''
The Vance-Owen peace talks in Geneva break down.
Both Serbs and Croats report offensives by the other.
With the collapse of talks, EC foreign
ministers discuss tightening sanctions. However, British Foreign
Secretary Hurd says, ``The Community is drawing up a range of
possible sanctions, but I don't think anybody is talking about
trying to apply them.'' Owen emphasizes the need for pressure, not
action, saying ``nothing should be done at the moment.''
EC and U.S. officials are increasingly fearful
that Russian intransigence will hinder Western responses to the
conflict. One U.S. official calls it ``the looking-glass war''
because ``Moscow sees exactly the opposite of what we see there.''
Signaling a more active stance, Secretary of State Christopher
reveals the Clinton Administration's new six-step plan for Bosnia.
He says, ``The continuing destruction of a new United Nations member
challenges the principle that internationally recognized borders
should not be altered by force.'' The U.S. plan is grounded on the
premise that the three parties must negotiate a solution.
Christopher calls for tougher economic sanctions, the creation of a
war crimes tribunal, and tighter enforcement of the no-fly zone. He
says that the U.S. will ``do its share to help implement and
enforce'' an agreement, ``including possible U.S. military action.''
Clinton taps Reginald Bartholomew, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, to
become Special Envoy to the former Yugoslavia. The Administration
opposes both lifting the arms embargo _ a move Christopher says
would be ``unwise'' _ and bombing Serbian positions.
Christopher condemns Serbian ``ethnic
cleansing'' as ``mass murders, systematic beatings, the rapes of
Muslims and others, prolonged shelling of innocents in Sarajevo and
elsewhere, forced displacement of entire villages, [and] inhumane
treatment of prisoners in detention camps.'' He also announces that
a high-level team will go to Bosnia in an attempt to find a way to
end the bloodshed.
Bosnian President Izetbegovic says the new
policy warrants his ``cautious welcome,'' and Bosnian Serb leader
Karadzic describes it as ``very good.''
Serb troops continue their heavy shelling of Sarajevo for an eighth
day. They also launch an offensive against Croatian positions near
Russia's parliament votes almost unanimously
to ask the UN to lift sanctions against Serbia and levy them against
Serb planes bomb Gladovici and Osatica in eastern Bosnia. Although
the Security Council prohibited flights over Bosnia on October 9,
over 465 minor violations have occurred since. [UN troops have not
been authorized to enforce the measure.]
Broadcasting from Srebrenica, UN Bosnian
Commander Morillon pleads for the safe passage of humanitarian aid
deliveries and for an end to Serbian aggression. The town's
inhabitants have essentially ``kidnapped'' Morillon, but UN
officials confirm his statement is voluntary.
The UN Security Council calls an emergency session to condemn the
Bosnian Serbs' new attacks.
The Bosnian Serb Assembly formally votes to
reject the Vance-Owen Plan (68-0), calling instead for three
``ethnically pure'' provinces. Though Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic
terms the plan ``a good basis for agreement,'' one assemblyman
speaks for many when he declares, ``We Serbs must militarily defeat
our enemies and conquer the territories we need.''
The UN sends 16 trucks _ eight containing 85
tons of food and medicine and eight empty ones _ to Srebrenica. UN
officials had hoped the empty trucks would remain on the city's
outskirts, but Bosnian Serb officials insist that all 16 enter to
give more Muslims the opportunity to leave.
Speaking at the Vancouver Summit, President
Clinton promises to press for tougher UN sanctions. Nine months of
sanctions have effectively crippled the Yugoslav economy. According
to the New York Times, inflation tops 250% a month; industrial
production has decreased by 50%; and 30% of the population is
unemployed. However, many Serbs do not believe that conditions can
get any more dire and thus ignore Western threats.
Bosnian Serb forces push to within 2,000 yards of Srebrenica's city
center, and Bosnian leaders start discussing the terms of a
surrender that would allow Srebrenica's 60,000 trapped Muslims to
safely evacuate. The Bosnian Government allows only five civilians
to depart with a UN convoy.
Serbian troops also step up their attack on
In response to public demand, the Clinton
Administration releases the report recommending the creation of
``safe havens'' for Bosnian Muslims. The report also suggests that
force ``could have a beneficial impact in humanitarian terms.''
However, Secretary of State Christopher dismisses any suggestion
that the U.S. will intervene militarily to protect the besieged
Muslims. He declares, ``The use of American force is not the
solution to the problem at the present time. It's not being
Negotiations (which now include eleven UN personnel) continue, as
Bosnian Serb troops inch to within 1,000 yards of Srebrenica's city
center. UN officials report that the Canadian contingent is
preparing to enter the city to disarm its Muslim defenders.
In New York Bosnian Government representatives
demand that the UN Security Council respect Chapter Seven of the UN
Charter, which calls for the provision of force in defense of a UN
member. The Security Council adopts Resolution 819, which was
proposed by the Council's non-aligned nations to make Srebrenica a
``safe area.'' Further advance by the Serbs is prohibited, and UN
peacekeepers are to enter. However, the Security Council notes that
a UN-assisted evacuation could be construed as ``ethnic cleansing.''
President Clinton says he is now considering
steps that ``previously have been unacceptable.'' Claiming that only
ground troops have been ``ruled out,'' Clinton reiterates that all
action will be taken with the support of U.S. allies. U.S. officials
reportedly also inform their Russian counterparts that, if
Srebrenica falls, the U.S. will push for an immediate vote on
In a television interview Owen recommends the
bombing of Serbian supply lines.
In Oslo Bosnian President Izetbegovic faults
the West for its ``moral weakness'' and ``betrayal.''
Russian UN Representative Voronstov says he
has been instructed to veto any resolution for more sanctions that
arises before April 26.
The UN Security Council's non-aligned nations successfully team up
with France to force a vote on sanctions. Thirteen members (Russia
and China abstain) approve Resolution 820 to impose tighter
sanctions on Serbia unless the Bosnian Serbs sign Vance-Owen in the
next eight days. If the resolution goes into effect, a maritime
exclusion zone will be imposed; Yugoslav assets abroad will be
frozen; and no goods will be permitted through Serbia or Montenegro.
Although communications links and borders will remain open,
Yugoslavia will face extreme diplomatic and economic isolation.
An unreported peace agreement, reached in
Sarajevo after 16 hours of negotiation, embarrasses uninformed
Security Council members. The ``Srebrenica Agreement'' calls for the
following: an immediate cease-fire; the evacuation of sick and
wounded Bosnians; the installation of Canadian peacekeepers into
Srebrenica; the creation of corridors to allow for unimpeded relief;
and the disarming of Srebrenica's defenders within 72 hours. Both
sides agree to the principle of a ``safe haven,'' and they create a
``liaison board'' to help implement the terms. UN Bosnian Commander
Morillon, who negotiates the cease-fire, is unable to convince the
Security Council to delay its vote until his truce has been tested.
Senator Biden releases a statement that
confirms reports that Belgrade is sending money, arms, and soldiers
to the Bosnian Serbs. Senator Dole publicly pushes for an ultimatum
that would force Serbian troops to withdraw from Srebrenica within
24 hours or face selective NATO air-attacks. NATO Commander John
Shalikashvilli says such air-strikes would be logistically difficult
and would not necessarily achieve the desired results.
Feeling the heat from both Belgrade and Washington, Bosnian Serb
leader Karadzic signs the Vance-Owen Plan. However, he says the plan
must next win approval from the Bosnian Serb Assembly in Pale. Owen
declares it ``a happy day in the Balkans, a day of sunshine.'' He
says that ``it would be crazy'' for the U.S. to proceed with
air-strikes. Although Karadzic promises to step down if the Bosnian
Serb Assembly does not accept the plan, he also warns that his
people's ``ambitions are neither dead nor buried, but merely
President Clinton reminds optimists that
``other agreements in this protracted war have raised hopes but not
changed behavior.'' Secretary of State Christopher describes himself
as ``hopeful but skeptical,'' and says, ``The news from Athens today
is good news, so far as it goes.'' [Christopher has just arrived in
London to consult with European leaders on intervention in Bosnia.]
Appearing on ``Meet the Press,'' Vice President Gore says the U.S.
wants to make the Bosnian Serbs respect the cease-fire, end their
assault on cities ``like Sarajevo,'' and stop impeding the passage
of relief convoys.
Serbian President Milosevic pleads with the
Bosnian Serb Assembly to reject extremists within its ranks. He says
hard-liners who willingly sacrifice Serbian soldiers and are ``not
put in hospital'' should ``at least [be] banned from holding public
French Foreign Minister Juppe implicitly
criticizes U.S. policy when he says, ``There is a division of tasks
which I don't think is acceptable, that of having some flying in
planes and dropping bombs and others, the Europeans _ especially the
French _ on the ground.''
Declaring that ``reasons no longer exist for further assistance in
money, fuel, and raw materials,'' the Serbian Government suspends
all but humanitarian aid to Bosnian Serbs. It blames Bosnian Serb
leaders for the ``asphyxiation'' of Serbia's economy. Democratic
Party leader Dragoljub Micunovic says ``Serbia will now become
hostages of the Bosnian Serbs.'' Serbian Radical Party leader Seselj
pledges to continue supplying the Bosnian Serb forces with
assistance and volunteers.
The UN Security Council votes 15-0 to make
Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, and Bihac ``safe areas.'' Serb
forces must withdraw from these cites and provide UN relief vehicles
Russian President Yeltsin releases a statement
on Bosnia: ``Russia will extend firm support to all those who will
honestly follow the path of peace on the basis of the Vance-Owen
Plan, but will not back anyone who would seek to avoid it.'' Deputy
Foreign Minister Churkin meets with Yugoslav President Cosic in
Belgrade. Saying the Vance-Owen referendum is of ``extreme
importance,'' Churkin appeals to Bosnian Serbs to vote ``yes.''
President Clinton tells an audience at the
Export-Import Bank that the referendum is just a ``delaying
tactic.'' He calls ``for the international community to unite and to
act quickly and decisively.''
After referendum polls close, Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic declares,
``Bosnia never existed, and it will never exist.'' He insists the
Vance-Owen Plan is ``now dead'' and recommends new negotiations
under former Soviet President Gorbachev and former Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger. Karadzic boldly dismisses talk of Western
reprisals. ``If they want to do it, they can, they have the capacity
to do it,'' he notes, ``But why would they want to come to intervene
here on a single side? Why would they come to destroy a small state
that exists? We see no reason for them to intervene.''
Bosnian Serb General Mladic asserts that
Western military forces would ``leave their bones'' in Bosnia.
Mladic warns, ``If [the West] bombs me, I'll bomb London.'' Implying
that terrorism would be an easy route, he remarks, ``There are Serbs
in London, there are Serbs in Washington.''
Speculation mounts today that Serbs and Croats
have agreed to partition Bosnia. Although Croatian President Tudjman
says he will use all his influence to stop the Croat-Muslim
fighting, Bosnian Serbs and Croats fuel doubts by signing a
cease-fire in Sarajevo that will apply to all of Bosnia.
Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev says the
Vance-Owen Plan should be implemented with or without Bosnian Serb
acceptance. ``We don't have to wait until the last Bosnian fighter
endorses'' the plan, he contends, ``we can put out the fire in the
former Yugoslavia step by step.''
Bosnian Serb officials release the results of the referendum (1.2
million turnout) in which approximately 96% of voters oppose the
Vance-Owen Plan, and 96% desire an independent Bosnian Serb state.
Meeting in Pale, Bosnian Serb Assembly leaders say they now hope to
consolidate their control over Bosnia with the help of an augmented
UNPROFOR that will police the 750 miles of ``confrontation lines.''
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic proclaims, ``the peace plan is dead,
long live the peace process.''
He urges minorities in occupied Bosnia to stay
where they are, as ``all their rights will be guaranteed and
protected as in the most liberal constitutions in Europe.''
Romanian President Iliescu meets with Yugoslav
President Cosic and Serbian President Milosevic. He says he opposes
Western military intervention and favors the gradual implementation
of Vance-Owen, in spite of the plan's many ``imperfections.''
After talks mediated by Owen and Stoltenberg,
Croatian President Tudjman and Bosnian President Izetbegovic
reportedly agree to begin implementing Vance-Owen in the regions
under their control. Bosnian Croat leader Boban says this is
``nothing new'' but just a restatement of old accords. Not long
afterwards, Muslim-Croat fighting erupts in Vitez.
President Clinton describes safe havens as ``shooting galleries.''
Skeptical of the new plan under discussion, he says, ``I don't want
to see the United States get in a position where we're recreating
Northern Ireland, Lebanon, or Cyprus or anything else.'' A senior
U.S. official reveals that Secretary of State Christopher has
dropped his opposition to safe havens, as long as they are
Commenting on Russian leadership in recent
days, Senator Richard Lugar exclaims, ``Only two weeks ago we had
the impression that the United States had a plan. Now, lo and
behold, due to an almost total vacuum of American leadership, you
have the Russians, of all people, doing the most active diplomacy.
The reversal of roles is rather breathtaking.''
The U.S. identifies 165 Serbian ``front
companies'' that Belgrade has been using to evade UN economic
At least 20 die and 150 are wounded in the most vicious Bosnian Serb
assault on Sarajevo in months. Offensives are also launched against
Gorazde and Brcko. UN officials do not officially condemn either
side, but they do report that, between 4 p.m. yesterday and 9 a.m.
today, 300 Serb shells were fired at Bosnian-held territory, while
only three shells were sent in the other direction.
UN officials are increasingly frustrated by
their inability to enter ``safe areas.'' UNPROFOR Spokesman Frewer
says, ``this has been a pattern from the beginning...They have been
turned back, and each time we have been given the very strongest
protests. We must be witness to what is going on.''
Croatian President Tudjman accuses Western
nations of blaming Croatia for fighting in order to mask their own
indecision and inaction.
A New York Times article quotes an anonymous
Bosnian Government official as saying, ``The United Nations will not
even stand by its own resolutions. The arms embargo is the only
resolution being enforced. The United Nations has thrown up its
hands as far as we are concerned. It's Gorazde today. Sarajevo will