Key dates in Kosovo’s decades-long drive for independence
February 16, 2008 at 5:02 PM EST
1968: First pro-independence demonstrations by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, when it was part of Yugoslavia; many arrested.
1991: As Yugoslavia implodes, separatists proclaim Kosovo a republic, which is recognized by neighbouring Albania.
1996: Pro-independence Kosovo Liberation Army emerges, claims responsibility for bombings of police targets.
March-April, 1998: Dozens killed in Serb police action against suspected Albanian separatists. Serbs overwhelmingly reject international mediation on Kosovo in referendum. New international sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia.
July-September, 1998: KLA seizes control of 40 per cent of Kosovo before being routed in Serb offensive. Serb forces attack villages; 22 ethnic Albanians found massacred in central Kosovo.
October, 1998: NATO allies authorize airstrikes against Serb military targets.
Jan. 15, 1999: 45 ethnic Albanians slain outside Racak, a Kosovo villiage. International officials demand war crimes investigation.
March, 1999: Belgrade authorities reject the internationally brokered peace deal, while ethnic Albanians sign it.
March 24, 1999: NATO launches 78 days of airstrikes against Yugoslavia.
March-June, 1999: Serb forces push out 800,000 ethnic Albanians who flee Kosovo into Albania and Macedonia.
June 10, 1999: Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops from Kosovo after agreeing to a proposal for NATO to move in and the province to be run by UN Airstrikes halted. Some 50,000 NATO-led peacekeepers begin deploying in Kosovo, refugees stream back while Serbs flee in the wake of revenge attacks.
Oct. 6, 2000: Mr. Milosevic resigns after mass demonstrations protesting his refusal to accept electoral defeat.
June 28, 2001: Mr. Milosevic extradited to The Hague to face trial for war crimes, dies before trial ends.
February, 2002: Kosovo elects parliament and government with Ibrahim Rugova as president.
October, 2003: First direct talks between Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders since 1999 end without agreement.
March, 2004: Ethnic Albanian mobs attack Serbs in worst outbreak of violence since the war.
January, 2006: Mr. Rugova dies of lung cancer in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital.
February, 2006: UN-mediated talks on Kosovo’s future status begin.
October, 2006: In Serbian referendum, Kosovo is declared an integral part of Serbia.
Jan. 26, 2007: UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari unveils recommended guidelines to Kosovo’s eventual statehood.
April, 2007: Russia rejects Ahtisaari proposal in the UN Security Council.
June, 2007: U.S. President George W. Bush says Kosovo needs to be independent “sooner rather than later.”
July, 2007: Kosovo’s prime minister says UN-sponsored process has failed and calls for declaration of independence by year’s end.
February, 2008 : Kosovo prepares to declare independence.