1999-2

Friday, October 1, 1999 - During a demonstration of American military readiness in Vitina, Kosovo, a paratrooper died after jumping out of a C-130 and landing badly. The five-day exercise included C-130s, F-18s, F-16s.

Demonstrators
[Image: BBC]
October 2, 1999: demonstrators
demanded president Milosevic's
resignation

Saturday, October 2, 1999 - After two nights of violent clashes between police and demonstrators, Yugoslav authorities took action in an attempt to crush anti-government protests. Opposition leaders said they were banned from holding more demonstrations. The public prosecutor has begun legal proceedings which could lead to arrest warrants being served on members of the opposition group Alliance for Change. Some 10,000 demonstrators intended to rescue opposition leader Cedomir Jovanovic, threatened with arrest in the Alliance for Change headquarters. Police surrounded the building after Thursday's clashes, but supporters escorted him out and opposition sources said police made no attempt to seize him. Security near president Milosevic's house was stepped up and routes to the neighborhood were blocked by hundreds of riot police. The Serbian Renewal Movement, headed by opposition veteran Vuk Draskovic, did not joined any of the protests, insisting that the current protests could trigger civil war in Serbia.

Sunday, October 3, 1999 - Italian troops seized rifles, an anti-tank rocket and other weapons during a search of a former KLA house in Djakovica. Six people were arrested by German forces after raids in Prizren and Orahovac turned up submachine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and ammunition.

Monday, October 4, 1999 - Hashim Thaci — leader of the former KLA — swore that Serbia never would be allowed to retake control of Kosovo. In the US, officials said privately that they were moving toward accepting the idea of independence for Kosovo because the ethnic Albanians will accept nothing less. The Washington Post said independence has become "the mostly unspoken assumption" of all American policy makers. The European partners in the peace keeping operation think differently.

Two British men, previously believed to have been kidnapped were reported held in a Serbian prison, according to the British Foreign Office. The two, who work for SNG Broadcast Services Ltd., disappeared September 25 while driving from Pristina to Greece. They were detained for allegedly illegally entering Serbia.

Tuesday, October 5, 1999 - Without incidents, British troops and Italian UN police — backed by tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters — removed a barricade that Serbs erected September 28 across the main east-west highway in Kosovo. KFOR also cleared a second, smaller, barricade, some 600 feet away, set up by ethnic Albanians in response to the Serb blockade. The Serbs felt NATO was unable to protect them.

The Washington Post reported that the former KLA is clearly moving to take control of the new Kosovo corps. Chief UN administrator Bernard Kouchner said "We are here to move together with you toward free democratic-controlled elections that will gain a wide autonomy for Kosovo", while former KLA head Thaci stated he believed that international officials would recognize the right of the free will of the people in Kosovo, who would vote for independence in a referendum.

Monday, October 11, 1999 - A meeting in Luxembourg, intended to bring together the European Union and 30 leading Serb opposition figures, was largely boycotted at the last moment by almost all important Serb leaders, amongst which Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), and Zoran Djindjic of the Democratic Party (DS). During the meeting a pilot plan was supposed to be discussed — strongly opposed by the US — in which the EU would provide $5 million in heating and oil to two Serbian cities controlled by opposition parties. The Serb parties refused to attend because the EU, under pressure from the US, had added the condition that the Serbs’ sign an undertaking to extradite Milosevic and others wanted as war criminals if they come to power.

Despite the absence of the Serb delegates, the Europeans resolved to go ahead with the scheme to aid the opposition-controlled municipalities. US officials oppose any assistance that alleviates public discontent, hoping that public misery "could lead to protests in Yugoslavia, early elections, or even Milosevic's ouster or resignation."

During a visit to Bosnia, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan apologized for the world's failure to take stronger action to stop the war in Bosnia.

Tuesday, October 12, 1999 - In Pristina, a Bulgerian UN employee was mobbed, beaten and then shot in the head after enraging a group of ethnic Albanian teen-agers by speaking Serbian, after being asked for the time, also in Serbian. It was for the first time a UN employee was killed since the UN began running Kosovo in June 1999.

Thursday, October 14, 1999 - Serbia's traditionally fractured opposition parties signed an agreement. They called for parliamentary elections to be held as soon as possible, not in 2000. They warned that if Milosevic would reject their election conditions — which include foreign monitoring of the vote and abolishing restrictive media laws — they would organize more street protests against him.

Friday, October 15, 1999 - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that as long as Kosovo is under UN administration, it will remain part of Yugoslavia. He reminded that the UN's resolution on Kosovo called for autonomy, not independence.

In an attempt to control the number of stolen cars in Kosovo, UN police began issuing license plates to drivers with dubious claims to their vehicles. From January on, all cars without license plates will be seized. Car owners claimed their license plates, registration, and other identification papers were taken by the Serbs, as they fled Kosovo and crossed the border during the Serb crackdown.

During a clash in Kosovska Mitrovica, French KFOR troops clashed with hundreds of Albanians who tried to storm across a bridge to the Serb side. More than 100 people were injured in the two hour riot. The French used barbed wire, armored vehicles, tear gas, and stun grenades. The odd end to the riot came when members of the Kosovo Protection Corps told the demonstrators to go home.

Monday, October 18, 1999 - A Serb man was shot to death in Pristina, Kosovo's capital. One suspect was arrested.

Tuesday, October 19, 1999 - KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt announced he would put more troops and military vehicles on the streets of Kosovo's capital to maintain order.

Serb leaders in Kosovo — alarmed by continued attacks by ethnic Albanians — decided to form their own defense corps and work to establish self-rule in areas they are most concentrated. Estimates of remaining Serbs vary from 20,000 to 100,000. The Serbs claim the new Kosovo Protection Corps is in fact the KLA under a new name. Hashim Thaci, former KLA commander, responded that the corps is also open for Serbs. However, ethnic tensions preclude immediate Serb participation. The Washington Post called the Serb announcement a major setback to international efforts to free Kosovo of the ethnic divisions.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999 - Yugoslavia issued an order barring commercial flights passing through Macedonia from landing in Kosovo, affecting about four flights a day.

NATO said it feared more violence after the discovery in several towns of bogus lists of suspected war criminals. Some of the lists bore the name of the banned Kosovo Liberation Army or local self-declared ethnic Albanian police units.

Thursday, October 21, 1999 - The UN investigated several UN police officers suspected of pressuring Serbs to sell their homes to ethnic Albanians at prices below market value.

Saturday, October 23, 1999 - NATO peacekeepers are screening some Serb refugee convoys to track down suspected war criminals in Kosovo. The new Secretary-General George Robertson pledged to turn his attention to the rash of violence against Kosovo's minority Serbs. The same day, KFOR troops detained two Serb war crime suspects in Orahovac, where local residents continued to prevent a contingent of Russian peacekeepers from entering the town.

In Pecane — some 28 miles southwest of Pristina — three children were killed and one injured in a mine accident.

A man tending his garden in the village of Dolovo — 30 miles east of Pristina — told peacekeepers he discovered three corpses. Investigators said the corpses were believed to be about six months old.

Monday, October 25, 1999 - In an attempt to counter hostility from ethnic Albanians, Kosovo Serb representatives set up a new political organization, the Serb National Council. Earlier plans to establish a Serb Protection Force were dropped. The new organization was unlikely to be accepted by the UN.

Tuesday, October 26, 1999 - KFOR troops arrested three Yugoslav soldiers who had crossed into the province from Montenegro. They were taken to the city of Pec by Italian peacekeepers and were handed over to the Yugoslav authorities later.

The bodies of one woman and two men were found near Pristina. They had been shot in the chest, head and neck.

Three men, presumably ethnic Albanians, were killed in the village of Sepoinica near Gnjilane — in the American sector — when explosives they were working with exploded. Two of the victims carried identification cards of the officially disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999 - In Albania, president Rexhep Meidani appointed Ilir Meta as the nation's new prime minister; he won by a vote of 67-46. Meta promised to continue his predecessor's pro-Western programs.

The chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, said her top priority was the arrest and trial of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb wartime leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. She said more than 400 forensic experts had completed investigations at a quarter of the 450 alleged mass graves and war crimes sites in Kosovo. The tribunal accused Serbia and Croatia of hampering efforts to bring suspected criminals to justice. So far, 35 people named in public indictments remained at large, mostly in the Balkans.

In one of the most serious incidents since the arrival of KFOR, ethnic Albanians stormed a convoy of Serbs leaving Kosovo, setting fire to vehicles and forcing dozens to take refuge in an Italian military garrison. The 155 Serbs were escorted by German and Dutch troops. Trouble started after the convoy split in two while passing through Pec. One part went through the outskirts, the other group went through the center, when it was mobbed. The attack was strongly condemned by NATO, the UN, and the OSCE.

Thursday, October 28, 1999 - French and Belgian peacekeepers used tear gas and bulldozers to remove a roadblock put up by local Serbs in Lesak, 23 miles north of the ethnically tense industrial city of Kosovska Mitrovica. The population demanded that peacekeepers would find two Serbs who disappeared after going to work.

Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal, said the tribunal was considering additional charges against Slobodan Milosevic, including "offenses committed in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as offenses committed in Kosovo during 1998, including the charge of genocide." He was already indicted for war crimes allegedly committed in 18 months of violence against ethnic Albanians, but he was never charged with offenses committed during wars elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, such as Croatia and Bosnia.

Friday, October 29, 1999 - Russia complained that NATO and the UN were not doing enough to protect Kosovo's Serbs from ethnic Albanian attacks.

Saturday, October 30, 1999 - NATO deploying troops to sensitive areas in Kosovo in a show of force to discourage attacks. KFOR commander Gen Klaus Reinhardt had more forces at his disposal than his predecessor, British Lt Gen Mike Jackson. There are 45,000 troops in Kosovo, up from 40,000.

Sunday, October 31, 1999 - Macedonians voted for a new president. The winner must receive support of more than half the registered voters to avoid a second round of balloting. First results were not expected before Monday.

The head of Kosovo’s provisional government said he was in discussions with NATO and the United Nations to resolve a 120-day impasse over deployment of Russian troops in Orahovac. A spokesman for Thaqi said there was a plan calling for deployment of UNMIK policemen in place of the Russians.

Serbia’s top opposition leaders flew to Washington to discuss US policy towards the isolated nation. Managing to secure easing of the sanctions would mean scoring a major point among voters at home.

UNHCR flew 60 tons of warm clothing into Kosovo to help hundreds of thousands of people cope with the coming Balkan winter. The EU said about 300,000 of the province's 1.4 million people lacked adequate shelter. Delays in committing funds and other bureaucratic hurdles have prevented a major reconstruction effort.

Zagreb newspapers reported that about 300 ethnic Croats arrived in the Croatian capital from Kosovo. They were evacuated after they complained to the Croatian government that they were not allowed to speak Croatian, that their houses had been burned and their fruit trees cut down.

Yugoslavia's independent Beta news agency reported two weekend grenade attacks on Kosovo's dwindling Serb community. Three Serb youths were injured when someone in a passing car hurled a grenade at them in the village of Lipljan — six miles south of Pristina. A grenade was also hurled into the home of a Serb couple in the northern town of Zubin Potok, injuring them.

Investigators traced an arms shipment seized the previous winter in Italy to a charity worker of a Mother Teresa charity in Switzerland, who allegedly was trying to send the weapons to Albania disguised as humanitarian aid. The 46 rifles, 30,000 rounds of ammunition and other weapons were destined for the former KLA.

Monday, November 1, 1999 - In Macedonia, the first unofficial election results showed Tito Petkovski, representing the former communist Social Democratic Party, with 38 percent of the vote — not enough to avoid another runoff. The constitution requires the winner to capture an absolute majority. Observers from the OSCE and the Council of Europe said that the balloting was "well-conducted with only minor incidents" and that it was "a further, clear improvement on past elections."

Momcilo Trajkovic — top moderate Kosovo Serb leader of the Serb National Council — was shot in the leg at his Pristina apartment. Trajkovic was normally guarded 24 hours a day, but he had requested a break in protection.

British correspondent Dessa Trevisan, who is a critic of the Yugoslav government, was arrested in Belgrade and sentenced to 10 days in jail for an immigration infringement. She had a valid visa but no entry stamp and they charged her with entering Yugoslavia without legal permission.

Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia worked on a UN General Assembly resolution to end Belgrade's "no-man's land" status of the past seven years in the United Nations and call for the existing Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) — Serbia and Montenegro — to apply for UN membership. The four states also wanted to underline that the truncated Yugoslavia is not the successor to the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and that it must follow the example of Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia if it wants UN membership.

In September 1992 the General Assembly adopted resolution 777, which states that "the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) cannot continue automatically the membership of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations."

The UN said the Assembly resolution dealt with an issue that was not foreseen in the UN Charter — the consequences for the purposes of UN membership of the disintegration of a member state on which there was no agreement among the immediate successors of that state or among the UN membership at large.

Vuk Draskovic, the leader of Serbia’s strongest opposition party, accused Serbia’s secret police of attempting to assassinate him in a car accident that claimed the lives of four people. He told a court investigating the cause of the October 4 crash that a truck driver approaching from the opposite direction intentionally swerved toward the convoy of vehicles in which he was traveling.

Tuesday, November 2, 1999 - In a major step towards independence from Serbia, Montenegro planned to introduce the German mark as its second currency, next to the Yugoslav dinar. Pensions and salaries were paid in marks with immediate effect. It is considered an interim step before the introduction of a separate currency for the republic. Excess printing of the Yugoslav currency by the Serbian government, fueled inflation. There were widespread fears that a failure of Montenegrin demands for more independence from Serbia, could trigger a military crackdown by Milosevic.

The head of the Yugoslav army began a "regular" inspection of the Second Army, responsible for Montenegro.

A top Yugoslav government official dismissed demands by opposition parties for early elections.

The Sunday Times said the number of civilians killed during the war in Kosovo may be no more than 2,500. Spanish pathologist Emilio Perez Pujol was quoted, saying "I calculate that the final figure of dead in Kosovo will be 2,500 at the most. This includes lots of strange deaths that can’t be blamed on anyone in particular." He said the numbers of dead were far lower than the 44,000 he had been warned of, and few were in mass graves. United Nations was expected to announce next month that the total number of victims uncovered is fewer than 2,000.

In Kosovska Mitrovica, two UN officers were roughed up by a crowd. Later, the UN admitted it was a mistake to send an inexperienced, unarmed Albanian police woman on patrol to the Serb-dominated side of the volatile Kosovo town of Mitrovica. The patrol was attacked by a crowd of 60-100 Serbs on the northern side of Mitrovica.

British correspondent Dessa Trevisan, 74, was released from a Belgrade prison because of health problems, the independent Beta news agency reported.

Wednesday, November 3, 1999 - The 54-nation OSCE warned that the wave of ethnic violence against minorities in Kosovo could dissuade potential donors from funding reconstruction.

Thursday, November 4, 1999 - President Milo Djukanovic of the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro on pledged to cooperate with a Balkans war crimes tribunal. It remained unclear why Montenegrin Premier Filip Vujanovic met Wednesday in the republic's capital, Podgorica, with Gen Dragoljub Ojdanic — the Yugoslav army chief-of-staff — who was charged by a UN war crimes tribunal earlier.

US State Secretary Madeleine Albright said the US supports democracy in Montenegro and its remaining in Yugoslavia. The US contributed $55 million to Montenegro. She also said the United States would permit oil sales and airline travel to Serbia if a free and internationally supervised presidential election were held, indicating a major change in policy.

Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic used the Israeli Amos-1 satellite for television broadcasts, which triggered the anger of the US. The Israeli satellite company stopped the broadcasts.

Friday, November 5, 1999 - Due to a potentially controversial visit to Kosovo by Russia's ambassador to the United Nations — Sergei Lavrov — the UN warned its Slav international staff in Kosovo of an increased risk over the next few days and advised them to avoid public places.

Branko Vasiljevic — security advisor to Democratic party leader Zoran Djindjic — was found dead in his apartment, shot in the back of his head. Local media say police are treating the case as suicide.

German soldiers near Kosovo’s border with Albania were shot at. The bullets fell short of the guards’ position and they returned fire. A suspect was arrested.

Saturday, November 6, 1999 - At the international meeting in the US, pledges were made of 1 billion $ in aid, and the promises to lift the ban on oil sales and flights to Serbia — provided free and fair elections were held. It was considered a success by the Yugoslavian opposition leaders. Fuel deliveries were scheduled to commence November 15-20.

A cache of TNT tore up a railroad track and shattered a pillar holding up a railway bridge in northeastern Kosovo, halting a Serb passenger train and rocking a nearby encampment of peacekeepers. A UN statement called the blast an act of sabotage.

Monday, November 8, 1999 - President of the UN tribunal, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, said it was about time international troops arrested Bosnia war criminals and the Security Council went after Belgrade and Zagreb for defying the court.

Wednesday, November 10, 1999 - Yugoslavia demanded that the "illegal" introduction of a separate currency and customs duties in Kosovo be nullified and renewed a demand to allow its troops back into Kosovo.

Thirty Serbian towns — many of them controlled by the ruling Socialist Party — started seeking help from an EU scheme to provide heating oil to ease winter hardships and boost democracy. The EU's Energy for Democracy scheme was intended to help opposition-run towns cope with severe fuel shortages as winter approaches.

NATO said that of the 379 people murdered since June 1999 — when NATO took control of the province — 135 were Serbs and 145 were ethnic Albanians. The murder rate in Kosovo was not diminishing.

Thursday, November 11, 1999 - UN investigators announced to have exhumed the bodies of 2,108 people killed in the conflict over the past five months – mostly ethnic Albanians. The UN war crimes tribunal said it had intelligence that indicated some 11,334 people were buried in 529 common graves in Kosovo. Initially, the UN assumed 4,266 would be exhumed, but warned that there was tempering at a great number of sites.

Friday, November 12, 1999 - The Serb National Coucil accused peacekeeping forces of purposely reducing the number of Serbs murdered in Kosovo to cover up their failure to protect non-Albanians. The Serbs claimed the NATO figures were incorrect and said 357 Serbs have been killed and 450 kidnapped from the time the peacekeepers were deployed in June 1999 until September 1, 1999.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Henry H. Shelton expressed frustration with the slow pace of progress. He said the international community should step forward to provide money needed to fund UN police and other governmental institutions to prepare the southern Serb province to solidify its peace.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said the exhumation so far of more than 2,000 bodies from Kosovo mass graves was more than enough to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia.

The UK announced another 1,200 of its troops were sent home from Kosovo, leaving less than 4,000 in Kosovo. The decision was endorsed by General Klaus Reinhardt, KFOR commander. An Swedish battle group was added instead.

The Milosevic administration showed no intention of early elections, despite the country-wide protests by the opposition.

The Yugoslavian parliament also passed a law giving Serbian presidents lifelong privileges once they retire, including houses, security guards, secretaries, cars and chauffeurs, all paid by the state.

Saturday, November 13, 1999 - Canada announced it would withdraw most of its 1,450 peacekeepers from Kosovo by summer of 2000 to relieve its "thinly stretched military". Canada said it would expand its presence slightly in the NATO-led force in nearby Bosnia but would reduce its overall Balkan presence from 2,800 at present to about 1,800. All but 100 Canadian troops were scheduled to leave Kosovo, while the Bosnian force was scheduled to grow to 1,700 or 1,800 from 1,350 now. NATO planned to reduce its overall presence in Bosnia to 20,000 from 30,000 by April 2000, while keeping the force in more volatile Kosovo at 50,000.

A plane bringing aid workers of the UN World Food Program into Pristina, Kosovo, crashed on a remote mountain ridge, killing all 24 people on board.

Sunday, November 14, 1999 - Humanitarian agencies expressed concern. Rules imposed by Macedonian authorities at the key border crossing at Blace have stalled virtually all aid coming into Pristina. Because of the war, roads to Kosovo from Serbia are not an option for most aid traffic, and roads in Albania are generally too poor to support heavy trucks.

Yugoslavia started releasing dozens of ethnic Albanians seized from refugee convoys during the NATO air campaign after prosecutors admitted they had no evidence against them.

Monday, November 15, 1999 - Moderate candidate Boris Trajkovski from the ruling party won nearly 70 percent of the votes.

An anti-government activist, Bogoljub Arsenijevic, was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of instigating clashes with police.

Tuesday, November 16, 1999 - UNHCR said that up to 240,000 non-Albanian refugees had fled Kosovo and that the chances would be "very slim" that these people would return.

A US soldier died after his vehicle hit a land mine near Kosovska Kamenica. He was the 18th NATO victim since the arrival of KFOR troops in Kosovo.

A Serb prosecutor has charged a Kosovo Serb with murdering three ethnic Albanians in the southern Serbian province during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - The World Bank is seeking $1.1 billion for 2000, half of which is to be provided by the EU. It included $970m for reconstruction and recovery programs, $47m for projects such as local elections and support for free media, and $18m in humanitarian aid. The World Bank and the European Commission estimated that some $2.3 billion would be needed over the next five years.

Five Serb army reservists — one in the rank of captain — who fought for Yugoslavia in Kosovo earlier this year have been charged with spying for NATO.

After 59 straight days, the opposition movement Alliance for Change (SZP) ended its daily street protests. Instead, a weekly rally was announced.

The UN administration in Kosovo started setting up a banking system by establishing the Banking and Payments Authority of Kosovo (BPK).

Thursday, November 18, 1999 - At an OSCE meeting in Istanbul, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced the US and the EU will join with Serb opposition leaders to begin planning "the economic recovery and regional integration of a democratic Yugoslavia." Yugoslavia was not invited.

The new president of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal — Judge Claude Jorda, replacing Gabrielle Kirk McDonald after her two-year term — said his top priority now is to secure the arrest and trial of Slobodan Milosevic, but he warned that the UN court was "overheating" as a result of lengthy trial procedures.

A Yugoslav army Lt. Col. was beaten and seriously injured in Montenegro.

Friday, November 19, 1999 - British war crimes expert Catherine Nettleton said that Serbian forces tried to hide evidence of atrocities by burning the bodies of their victims, dropping them into rivers, or burying them in cemeteries. British experts remain convinced that their original estimate of 10,000 victims is accurate, but the real number of victims may never be known.

After accusations back and forth, NATO and Macedonia agreed to ease traffic congestion at the Blace border crossing between Macedonia and Kosovo.

An agreement was reached between the EU and Serbian opposition members to participate in the Balkan Stability Pact, an international effort to develop democratic policies and market economies in the Balkans. Several Stability Pact projects were planned to be carried out over the next two months, involving humanitarian assistance, support for local independent media, aid to Kosovo Serb refugees and plans for economic reconstruction — once democratic changes take place in Serbia.

Saturday, November 20, 1999 - In Nis, a firebomb damaged an office of the Democratic Party, one of the opposition parties demanding the ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Sunday, November 21, 1999 - A Serb police vehicle set off an anti-tank mine near Kursumlija — six miles north of Kosovo. Two officers were killed and six injured. Ethnic Albanian militants were blamed for the attack by Serb media.

Monday, November 22, 1999 - Anti-Russian protesters blocking the roads to Orahovac dismantled part of a barricade, allowing free passage on most roads for badly-needed humanitarian aid. The protesters said it was agreed with NATO that Russian peacekeepers would not enter the town. NATO denied this and said the Russian peacekeepers were under NATO command and were allowed the same freedom of movement as other members of the peacekeeping force.

Wednesday, November 24, 1999 - A shipment of 350 tons of heating oil from the EU crossed into Yugoslavia, as part of the Energy for Democracy project. The 14 oil trucks were held up at the Serbian border for hours. The oil is intended for the cities of Nis and Pirot, run by democratic opposition parties. Another shipment of 3,500 tons is scheduled for next week.

Earlier, Yugoslav and Iraqi officials discussed possible imports of Iraqi oil in exchange for Yugoslav food products and medicines. Russia did not join the EU sanctions against Yugoslavia, but it appeared Russian deliveries for natural gas were no longer sufficient, now that temperatures dropped below freezing.

In Vucitrn, a grenade was thrown at a butchery shop. One individual was injured. KFOR troops handed over the case to UNMIK police for investigating.

In the village of Konculj — about 175 miles southeast of Belgrade — a Serb police vehicle was fired upon. Two officers were seriously injured. Tanjug blamed ethnic Albaniansfor the attack.

Convoy
[Image: BBC]
November 25, 1999: Serbs:
delays are normal procedure

Thursday, November 25, 1999 - After more than 24 hours, a convoy of trucks with heating oil was still being held up at the border by Serbian authorities. In Belgrade, a spokesman of the Socalist Party said the convoy was being subjected to normal customs procedures.

Friday, November 26, 1999 - Yugoslav authorities arrested five Serbs, claiming the "Spider" group devised four different scenarios for assassinating president Milosevic. The Serb government claimed that the French secret service was behind the plot but France denied the allegations. Yugoslav police sources said that, having infiltrated the VJ, the group of 25 members provided data to the French for the NATO forces during the bombing campaign. It was also said the five were involved in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and belonged to a "10th Commando Detachment" within the Bosnian Serb Army. (Also see June 27, 2000.)

Saturday, November 27, 1999 - The Belgrade newspaper Vecernje Novosti claimed Germany was involved in an alleged French plot to kill Milosevic.

The Macedonian supreme court nullified the results of the presidential balloting in 199 of the 2,793 polling stations. Most of the 199 stations were in western Macedonia, where center-right candidate Boris Trajkovski finished ahead. Earlier, OSCE observers had declared both the first and second round of voting as "generally satisfactory", although they too noted irregularities in a number of polling stations in the west of the country and around Skopje.

The body of an Albanian man, apparently killed by gunshots, was found in Podujevo. Seven km northeast of Pristina, the body of a dead woman was discovered. UNMIK police were investigating both cases.

Monday, November 29, 1999 - After the EU started its pilot project Energy for Democracy, the United Nations' Balkan envoy, Carl Bildt, warned the EU could rightly be accused of double standards.

In Pristina, a mob dragged a Serb man and his Serb wife and mother-in-law from their car, beat all three and fatally shot the man. The two women were seriously injured. When NATO peacekeepers arrived, they found the car overturned and set on fire.

Two Kosovo Albanian men were reported killed and five other men suffered gunshot wounds during a shooting in a bar in Gnjilane. Later, four individuals were arrested.

The Serb National Council — a self-styled body — met in Pristina and named an executive board.

Tuesday, November 30, 1999 - The UN started the distribution of (green-and-white) car license plates in Pristina, in order to help reduce organized crime. Not surprisingly, Serbian authorities considered it a violation of Serbian sovereignty.

Serbian police arrested Bozidar Spasic, a top former state security operative, who recently criticized President Slobodan Milosevic's government. In the early 1990s he became a public figure when he revealed how the Yugoslav secret service used criminals in its covert operations abroad. Before his arrest, he appeared in the independent Studio B television's panel discussion where he sharply criticized the regime of the Yugoslav president.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - Top UN administrator Bernard Kouchner called the murder on a Serb man on November 29 "a grave misuse of the liberty awarded to the people of Kosovo".

An ethnic Albanian man was shot five times while leaving his house yesterday morning in Leskovac, 8 km north of Klina.

Thousands of demonstrators rallied against Milosevic, whose customs authorities are holding up a shipment of oil.

In the US, disaster relief officials started investigating a possible misappropriation of money intended to go relief programs in Kosovo. Some $800,000 to $1 million was said to be missing.

Thursday, December 2, 1999 - Officials of 13 Serbian opposition parties agreed in Belgrade to demand that the government decide within one week whether to launch talks with the opposition on holding new elections.

Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze accused UN administrator Bernard Kouchner and KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt of being responsible for continuing violence in Kosovo.

In Krusevac, the home of an official close to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Milutin Levic, was hit by a Molotov cocktail.

Opposition parties demanded that Milosevic would clearly state whether his party would start negotiations on free and fair elections or not, but Milosevic rejected calls for elections.

In Nis, several thousand people protested against the hold up by the authorities of EU-funded heating oil destined for their town.

Montenegro's president, Milo Djukanovic, accused Yugoslav president Milosevic of instigating wars across the Balkans and said he should surrender to the UN tribunal.

In Ljumbarda — 12 km south east of Pec — a civilian driver was killed when a tractor ran over an antitank mine.

A KFOR AH-64 helicopter accidentally cut a power line near Gnjilane. The aircraft performed a controlled emergency landing near the location.

Friday, December 3, 1999 - Britain suggested to put the Franco-German Eurocorps in charge of the Kosovo peace mission next year. NATO officials raised some concerns.

Russian Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov said that Moscow could review Russia's involvement in the KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo if NATO continued to "ignore international norms". "First it carried out a military aggression against sovereign Yugoslavia," he said, referring to NATO's bombing campaign earlier this year. "Now it is encouraging the chaos of Kosovo separatists and terrorists."

In Velika Hoca — two km southeast of Orahovac — two Serb men were killed. They were shot by two or three unknown assailants.

In an upsurge of anti-Serb violence, several incidents were reported by NATO. An explosion in Kosovska Kamenica — 20 mi southeast of Pristina — destroyed a home, killing a woman and injuring two others. Two other Serbs were killed about 30 miles southwest of Pristina while gathering firewood. In another incident two Serbs from Velika Hoca — a mile from the town of Orahovac — were shot in a forest while collecting firewood. Separately, villagers threw stones and shattered the windows of a bus carrying Serbs between the Kosovo town of Gracanica and Nis, Serbia.

Saturday, December 4, 1999 - NATO reported that three KFOR soldiers who were detained December 3 after inadvertently crossing the boundary to Serbia, were released and were back in Kosovo. Apparently, a French major and sergeant and a Belgian warrant officer was on their way from Pristina using a KFOR vehicle and unintentionally took the wrong road. They crossed the boundary in the northwestern part of Kosovo.

Macedonia faced its third presidential election in a month as the first two attempts were marred by irregularities, nullified votes, ethnic tensions and political bickering. The second try left Boris Trajkovski about 77,000 votes ahead of rival Tito Petkovski of the Social Democrats.

Sunday, December 5, 1999 - In Macedonia, voting for the President of State took place in 230 voting stations. The presidential elections were held for the second time in the West of the country with an Albanian majority. OHR said several incidents occurred during the voting.

Referring to the many attacks of ethnic Albanians on Serbs in Kosovo, the Associated Press wondered whether the West underestimated the cost of securing Kosovo's peace.

Monday, December 6, 1999 - The presidential candidate of Macedonia's ruling pro-Western coalition, Boris Trajkovski, secured his victory in the second election. OSCE observers said that the elections went "fairly smoothly", but added that violence and irregularities had skewed the results. Trajkovski's rival, Social Democrat Tito Petkovski, enjoyed broad support from the ethnic Albanian community, which makes up roughly a quarter of Macedonia's 2 million people. The presidential elections have heightened ethnic tensions between the majority Slavs and the ethnic Albanians.

NATO secretary general George Robertson urged western countries to make investments in Kosovo. He said the "UN civilian effort hasn't moved quickly enough." He said a 4,200-strong civilian police force was scheduled to take over work being done by KFOR, but fewer than 2,000 police was available in the province. KFOR commander Reinhardt already indicated earlier that the United Nations was $120 million short to pay civil servants and $10 million short in funding the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Serb police arrested a Kosovo Albanian lawyer was about to defend some of almost 2,000 Kosovo Albanians held in jails in Serbia.

The EU extended a list of Yugoslav officials banned from traveling to the EU with 305 names, bringing the total to 688. The visa ban was imposed in 1998 as a sanction against Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, December 7, 1999 - After a two-week blockade, the EU shipment of 350 tons of heating oil was allowed to enter Yugoslavia. The oil was destined for opposition-run cities. When the EU last week decided to move the trucks back to Macedonia, the Yugoslav authorities would not let the trucks out of the country unless the EU first paid parking fees of $60 per truck per day, or close to $12,000 total.

Later, ten trucks reached Nis; four others arrived in nearby Pirot. That kind of quantity of oil will be sufficient for just a few days, but it was a pilot project.

The UN withdrew its staff from the last camp in Macedonia with Kosovo refugees, following a decision to close all of 9 camps. There were some 1,200 refugees still remaining in the camp who refused to accept shelter within Macedonian, hoping for resettlement in a third country.

Wednesday, December 8, 1999 - Tito Petkovski, leader of the Social Democrats, announced his decision to accept defeat by his pro-Western rival in Macedonia's presidential elections. He withdrew the fraud complaints his party submitted a day earlier.

The Yugoslav army blocked the main runway of Podgorica airport with heavy trucks and took over the control tower, banning all civilian flights — for "security reasons" — increasing tension between Yugoslav federal authorities and the independent-minded Montenegro.The move occurred one day before Montenegro's government planned to assume full control of the property. The recent steps of Montenegro towards secession were a thorn in the Serbian flesh.

Italian prime minister Massimo D'alema said: "President Milosevic should not be fomenting war at the start of the 21st century. (...) We will not tolerate this." In Egypt, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressed concern and repeated American support for Montenegro's pro-Western policies.

China granted Yugoslavia a $300 million credit to help finance the country's reconstruction. Reuters quoted a Yugoslav government source, saying: "The Chinese money will entirely finance the reconstruction". Western and Yugoslav economists estimated the war damage at around $60 billion.

Thursday, December 9, 1999 - After one day, the Serbian army pulled back and allowed Montenegrin police resume control. Podgorica airport was reopened after a mini-crisis. But the Serbian army warned they were prepared to respond with determined measures if Montenegro would try again to take control of federal property.

The United States estimated that Serbian forces killed about 10,000 Kosovo Albanians between March and June 1999 — almost five times more than the number of bodies exhumed from mass graves. The figure is at the higher end of recent estimates, but was much lower than numbers circulated during the air war against Serbia.

Friday, December 10, 1999 - Albania abolished the death penalty. This was one of the main criteria for Albania's membership in the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe was established in 1949 to promote democracy and human rights in Europe.

In Macedonia, the state election commission confirmed that Boris Trajkovski won the presidential elections, despite some concerns over voting irregularities.

Saturday, December 11, 1999 - EU international policy chief Javier Solana said that Tudjman's death should open the way for change not only in Croatia but throughout the troubled Balkans. CNN reported that elections could take place after the parliamentary elections on January 3.

US General Wesley Clark said that NATO was monitoring the situation in Montenegro "very closely".

Vuk Draskovic — head of the Serbian Renewal Movement — threatened a new wave of protests if Milosevic's government would not accept demands for free and fair elections within a week. The Alliance for Change has been organizing protests since September.

RFE/RL said that "strong contingents of Montenegrin police" deployed at Tivat airport after a brief confrontation — the second one in a short period of time — there between police and "several vehicles" belonging to the Yugoslav army.

A polish peacekeeper died in Djeneral Jankovic — along the border with Macedonia, in the US zone — when device confiscated from Kosovo Albanian rebels detonated. Three others were injured.

Russian escort
[Image: AP]
December 15, 1999: each day, Russian
troops escort Serb schoolchildren
from and to school.

Sunday, December 12, 1999 - A Serb was killed while cutting wood in a village 25 miles southeast of Pristina. Later in the day, the mostly Serb village of Partes came under a mortar attack. Nine mortars fired from the nearby ethnic Albanian village of Donja Budroga badly damaged several houses.

Yugoslavia's premier, Momir Bulatovic, warned NATO against any attempt to intervene in tensions between Montenegro and Serbia, saying the army would defend the country.

Top government officials of Yugoslavia and Russia agreed on broader economic cooperation and Russian aid to help Yugoslavia recover from the devastating NATO bombing. An agreement on the delivery of natural gas was already signed.

Monday, December 13, 1999 - In an attempt to get more grip on crime, Bernard Kouchner — head of Kosovo's UN-led administration — said he would appoint 400 extra judges and prosecutors. The commander of KFOR, Klaus Reinhardt, said his troops would mount more joint patrols with Kosovo's international police force.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - The 15 EU countries agreed to invest 360 million euro in Kosovo in 2000, significantly more than the 115 million promised earlier.

The US agreed to pay $28 miliion to China for damage done to their embassy on May 7, 1999, on top of the 4.5 million paid in July. Three Chinese were killed in the bombing.

The commander of the Yugoslav air force — General Spasoje Smiljanic — said that Yugoslav army troops at Podgorica airport remain on a "heightened state of alert".

The Greek prime minister — Kostas Simitis — said Greece is "not interested" in the political future of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Earlier, media reported that Greece offered the indicted war criminal asylum if he would give up power and leave Serbia.

Agreement
[Image: Reuters]
December 15, 1999: Thaci, Kouchner, and
Rugova signing the agreement in Pristina.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999 - Top UN administrator for Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, signed an agreement with three Kosovo-Albanian leaders, creating a new governing body aimed at bringing more political stability. The new body will consist of the three Albanians, one Serb, and four members of the UN. The UN top administrator in Kosovo acts as a governor. So far, the West tried to establish a multi-ethnic society, but was plagued by ethnic violence — mainly attacks against Kosovo-Serbs. Ibrahim Rugova, Hashim Thaci, and Rexhep Qosja agreed to cooperate with the UN, the EU, the OSCEurope and the UNHCR. Serb leaders denounced the plan and no Serb representative was present.

The UN denied that it made the deal because it was unable to run the province after six months. The administration will govern until elections, scheduled for September 2000.

Thursday, December 16, 1999 - General Dragoljub Ojdanic warned Montenegro that the Serb military will do whatever is necessary to defend the country. In Belgrade, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj accused Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic of trying to provoke a "civil war" through what Seselj called separatist activities", reported RFE/RL.

British peacekeepers in Prishtina stepped up patrols, in an attempt to protect teenagers from being abducted by prostitution rings. A KFOR spokesman said that the abductions were "the biggest problem we have." The "Frankfurter Rundschau" wrote that "gangsters and mobsters run the province under the UN's nose".

A US SSgt died in Kosovo when his Humvee struck a land mine near Kosovska Kamenica — 20 miles east of Pristina. The road was believed to be cleared of mines.

In Kosovska Mitrovica, two US policemen serving with the mission in Kosovo were struck in the head by stones during a clash between rival ethnic groups.

Friday, December 17, 1999 - In Orahovac, two or three attackers opened fire on a cafe with automatic weapons, then hurled grenades into it. One Serb was killed, ten others were injured. International police arriving were themselves attacked by a furious Serb crowd. Dutch KFOR troops were called for protection.

Saturday, December 18, 1999 - Yugoslav authorities seized computers, desks and other equipment of ABC company, which serves as a contract printer for about 100 publications in Serbia, mostly those opposed to Milosevic. Earlier, they were ordered to pay $270,000 for printing leaflets for Serbia's leading opposition group, Alliance for Change. They refused.

Sunday, December 19, 1999 - The Group of Eight gave Serbia's opposition leaders two months to come up with a joint strategy against president Slobodan Milosevic. Western countries said they would continue humanitarian help to a several opposition-run municipalities in Serbia.

Wednesday, December 22, 1999 - Serb authorities the Red Cross that they were still holding some 1,700 ethnic Albanian men and women ranging in age from 13 to 73. They were arrested during the conflict and transported out of the province before NATO-led peacekeepers arrived in June 1999.

UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte said she would double the number of Balkan war crimes inquiries between 2000 and 2004, hoping to indict more than 150 war crime suspects. She urged NATO to establish a dedicated special task force to arrest war crime suspects still at large.

The Yugosav newspaper Politika charged that UN administrator Bernard Kouchner did little to prevent the departure of thousands of Serbs from Kosovo. The UN called it ridiculous allegations.

Thursday, December 23, 1999 - Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev condemned the NATO-backed United Nations mission in Kosovo as a failure.

Friday, December 24, 1999 - Russia's defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, criticized NATO during a visit to Kosovo. In Belgrade, he decorated Yugoslav army chiefs for their heroic defense of the country during the NATO attacks. Among the decorated was Yugoslav army chief of staff, General Dragoljub Ojdanic, who was indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal.

The Yugoslav parliament allotted 73 per cent of its budget — $1.5 billion -– to the armed forces, loyal to Milosevic.

Yugoslav president Milosevic decorated several Chinese officials and journalists for their "courage and solidarity" when the Chinese embassy was hit during the NATO air strikes. China donated $300 million in aid to help Yugoslavia's reconstruction.

Sunday, December 26, 1999 - Greek police confiscated the car of Albania's public order minister, Spartak Poci, after having discovered the vehicle was stolen.

Monday, December 27, 1999 - UN police arrested a man suspected of involvement in the slaying of a Serb professor and the beating of wife and her mother on November 29, 1999. At the time, the hundreds of witnesses were reluctant to point out those responsible.

Tuesday, December 28, 1999 - The Alliance for Change and the Serbian Renewal Movement — two rival opposition groups — agreed on a meeting to discuss developing a joint strategy to oust President Slobodan Milosevic. Two other opposition group also agreed to attend the meeting.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999 - Russia said it would still upgrade military and technological cooperation with Yugoslavia but would not sell major weapons systems to Belgrade, due to a UN weapons embargo.

Thursday, December 30, 1999 - A Serbian court sentenced eight ethnic Albanians for membership in the officially disbanded rebel Kosovo Liberation Army. One was tried and sentenced to five years in absentia. The remaining seven, all in police custody, received prison sentences ranging from two to five years.

Two Russian peacekeepers were injured when their vehicle struck a land mine near where an American soldier was killed in a similar incident on December 16, 1999.

Friday, December 31, 1999 - In Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs and Albanians pledged to cooperate.

UN top administrator Bernard Kouchner said Western governments were failing to provide the UN with enough funds and international police to run Kosovo.

Source: CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, NRC Handelsblad, Washington Post, SHAPE, de Volkskrant, The Independent, BBC News, RFE/RL, Institute for War & Peace Reporting, OHR.