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 Serbs.

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.



February 23
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'' in Belgrade.]

February 28
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.

March 16
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, market-oriented reform.''

March 24
Ethnic Albanians in at least three cities in Kosovo riot.

March 27
Police fire at protesters in Pristina, Kosovo. Nine are killed. [By March 29 at least 23 have died.]

May 15
Janez Drnovsek, a Slovene, becomes Yugoslav President.

June 28
Croatian Serbs clamor for autonomy.

September 27
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.

November 29
Slovenian leaders ban a Serb rally scheduled to take place in Ljubljana on December 1.

December 3
Slovenia closes its border with Serbia.

December 4
The Croatian Republican Assembly decides to support Slovenia against Serbia.

December 20
Over 500,000 Serbs strike to protest Yugoslav Prime Minister Markovic's economic package.



The Croatian and Slovenian Governments say they support the rights of ethnic Albanians increasingly impinged upon by Serbs.

Serbia launches an economic blockade against Slovenia.

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.''

February 1
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.

April 8
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.]

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.

May 15
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.'']

June 13
An estimated 30,000 anti-communists rally in Belgrade for early elections.

June 25
Serbian President Milosevic says he will declare Serbian independence if Yugoslavia becomes a confederation.

July 2
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.

July 3
The Slovenian Republican Assembly proclaims Slovenia sovereign. The Slovenian Constitution and laws are now to take precedence over those of Yugoslavia.

July 5
Serbia suspends the Kosovo Provincial Assembly and Government, seizes radio and television stations in Pristina, and dismisses the editors of the Albanian press.

July 25
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 predominate.

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 on autonomy.

August 17
Yugoslav jets prevent Croatian helicopters from interfering in the vote in southwestern Croatia.

August 18
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 autonomy.]

August 29
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.

October 1
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.

October 1-2
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.''

October 4
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.]

December 9
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 are reported.

December 20
Alija Izetbegovic, head of the Muslim Democratic Action Party, becomes Bosnian President.

December 22
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.


Serbian President Milosevic says his government will demand territory if Yugoslavia should ever become a confederation of independent states.

January 9
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.]

January 19
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 hours.

February 8
Serbian President Milosevic reiterates his intention, if Yugoslavia should break up, to incorporate all Serb areas outside Serbia into a state.

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.

February 12
A Croat-Slovene statement reveals that both republics intend to secede if Yugoslavia does not become a ``community of sovereign republics'' by July.

March 9
Police forcibly quell anti-communist protests in Belgrade. The Serbian Renewal Movement leads 30,000 people in nationalist, anti-government, pro-press freedom chants.

March 28
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.''

March 31
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.''

May 2
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.''

May 29
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 anyone else.''

Slovenia's first 300 regular troops are sworn in.

June 6
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 Croatian Serbs.

June 21
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.

June 23
European Community (EC) officials warn Slovenes and Croats that recognition will not be forthcoming.

June 25
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 country.''

The Federal Assembly orders the JNA to intervene to ``protect Yugoslavia's borders.''

June 26
Croats and Serbs clash in the Krajina.

June 27
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 ``be crushed.''

Slovenian President Kucan instructs those 4,000 Slovenes in the JNA to desert. The JNA advance is met with stiff resistance.

June 28
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 way.''

June 29
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.

June 30
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.

July 1
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 readiness.''

July 2
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.

July 3-4
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.

July 4
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.''

July 5
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 arms embargo.

Slovenia announces it has demobilized 10,000 soldiers in the Territorial Defense Forces.

July 8
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.''

August 4
Serbian President Milosevic boycotts EC-sponsored peace talks.

August 6
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.

August 7
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.

August 9
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.

August 12
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.

August 25
JNA troops launch a full-scale offensive with ethnic Serbs against Croat forces in Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci, Kijevo, and other towns.

August 27
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.

August 29
Serbs have reportedly seized Croatia's Benicanci Oil Field, home to one-third of Yugoslavia's oil.

September 7
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 Secretary General.

September 8
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 referendum.

Macedonian President Gligorov says he hopes to maintain ``neighborly relations'' with Serbia and the Yugoslav Government.

September 10
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.

September 19
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.

September 22
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 own hands.''

September 25
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.

October 3
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 Ploce.

October 8
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 Yugoslavia.''

October 15
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.

October 18
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.

October 19
The first secret assembly of ethnic Albanians declares the establishment of the ``Republic of Kosovo.''

October 22
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 Croatian fascists.''

October 23
The JNA attacks Dubrovnik and orders the city's defenders to surrender.

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.

October 24
Bosnian Serbs who walked out of the October 15 session on Bosnian sovereignty form their own ``Assembly of the Serbian Nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.''(1)

November 8
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.

November 17
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.

November 18
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 Yugoslavia.

November 23
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.

November 27
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.''

December 2
The EC normalizes trade relations with all republics except Serbia and Montenegro.

An EC document is leaked to the press, which reports the ``brutal aggression'' of the ``terrorist'' JNA.

December 16
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.

December 19
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.

December 20
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].

December 21
Bosnian Serbs declare their independence.

December 23
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 Krajina.

December 31
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 Plan's prospects:

  • 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.


January 15
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 ``Danke, Deutschland.''

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.

January 17
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.

January 23
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 Bosnia, 87,470.

February 7
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.''

February 21
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.''

February 29
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.''

March 27
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.

April 6
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.''

April 7
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, independent republic.

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 expenditures.

April 8
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.

April 24
UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali refuses to expand the mandate of peacekeepers in Croatia to cover Bosnia.

May 1
``All-out war'' erupts in Sarajevo.

May 2
Serbs detain Bosnian President Izetbegovic, but the UNPROFOR wins his release.

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.''

May 7
Bosnian Vice President Rusmir Mahmutcehajic tells Bosnian Serbs and Croats ``to stuff [their ethnically-based maps] up their shirts.''

May 11
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 Serbian irregulars.''

May 12
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.

May 13
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.]

May 22
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 nightmare.''

May 23
Serb officials report the establishment of the first detention center in northern Bosnia near Prijedor.

The JNA stops pulling out of the Krajina.

May 24
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 elected president.

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 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.''

May 27
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 and exports.]

At a NATO meeting U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney says military intervention is not being considered ``at present.''

May 30
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 permitted.

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.''

July 1
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.

July 12
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.

July 13
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 supplies.

July 14
Sarajevo loses electricity and water after Serb shells hit power lines.

July 24
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 of flesh.''

July 25
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.''

July 27
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 country.''

July 28
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 defend themselves.

August 3
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.

August 4
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 Serbs.

The International Committee of Red Cross visits ten prison and detention camps and reports blatant human rights violations by all sides.

Russia recognizes Macedonia.

August 5
Candidate Clinton says that the UN should bomb Serbian artillery positions from the air.

August 6
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 on Sarajevo.

Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger appeals for war crimes investigations into the reports of atrocities in Bosnian detention centers.

August 13
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.

August 26-27
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.

September 10
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.

September 22
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 tribunal.

October 6
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 October 20.]

November 20
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.

December 2
The Islamic Conference Organization calls for military intervention in Bosnia and the arming of Bosnia's Muslims.

December 6
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.

December 7
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 inaction again.''

The U.S. submits its fourth report on war crimes to the UN.

December 18
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.

December 31
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.


January 2
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.

January 8
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.''

January 16
The Bosnian Army shells Bajina Basta (just across the Drjna in Serbia).

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.''

January 30
The Vance-Owen peace talks in Geneva break down.

February 1
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.''

February 10
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.''

February 18
Serb troops continue their heavy shelling of Sarajevo for an eighth day. They also launch an offensive against Croatian positions near Zadar.

Russia's parliament votes almost unanimously to ask the UN to lift sanctions against Serbia and levy them against Croatia.

March 13
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.

April 3
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.

April 15
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 Sarajevo.

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 contemplated.''

April 16
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 toughening sanctions.

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.

April 17
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.

May 2
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 postponed.''

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 office.''

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.''

May 6
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 with access.

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.''

May 16
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.''

May 19
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.

May 21
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 ``temporary.''

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 sanctions.

May 30
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 be next.''