Kosovo Crisis: The Countdown To War

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The Independent Online
15 January 1999: 45 ethnic Albanians killed outside Racak, spurring international efforts for a peace settlement.

29 January: Serb police kill 24 Kosovo Albanians in a raid on a suspected rebel hideout. Western allies demand warring sides attend peace conference or face Nato air strikes.

6-17 February: First round of talks between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in Rambouillet, France.

February-March: Yugoslav forces sweep through Macedonian border region, digging in opposite territory where thousands of Nato forces are gathering for a possible peacekeeping mission, and bombard KLA positions in the north. Rebels launch several attacks on Serbs.

18 March: Kosovo Albanians unilaterally sign peace deal calling for a broad interim autonomy and 28,000 Nato troops to implement it. Serbs refuse; talks suspended.

20 March: International peace monitors evacuate Kosovo, as Yugoslav forces build up and launch offensives against rebels. Nato aircraft and ships ready for possible bombardments.

21 March: Four Serb policemen killed in provincial capital, Pristina. Violence escalates in other regions of Kosovo.

22 March: The US special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, visits Nato headquarters before continuing to Belgrade to warn President Slobodan Milosevic of air strikes unless he signs peace agreement. President Milosevic refuses to allow Nato troops into Yugoslavia; talks between the two suspended.

23 March: After an unsuccessful meeting with President Milosevic, Mr Holbrooke declares talks failed. US and European embassies prepare to evacuate Belgrade as Nato allies drum up support for air strikes.