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Kosovo before and after independence

15 February 2013, 16:53 CET
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(PRISTINA) - Kosovo, which celebrates the fifth anniversary of its independence on Sunday, is currently recognised by 98 countries including the United States and most of the European Union.

It has been controlled by Serbia and Albania for most of its history.

- 12th century: Kosovo is in the heart of a Serbian empire ruled by the Nemanjic dynasty in a period when many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries are constructed.

- June 28, 1389: The Ottoman army defeats Serb forces in the Battle of Kosovo Polje, heralding several centuries of Turkish rule which changes the ethnic balance of Kosovo in favour of Muslims and Albanians.

- 1913: Serbia retakes control of Kosovo after the Balkans wars.

- 1946: After World War II Kosovo is integrated into communist dictator Josip Broz Tito's Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It obtains autonomy within Serbia 28 years later.

- 1989: Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic reduces Kosovo's autonomy.

- 1995: The Dayton peace accords, which bring an end to the wars in the former Yugoslavia, neglect Kosovo.

- Late Feb-early March, 1998: Milosevic forces begin a brutal crackdown on the recently formed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and its civilian supporters. The conflict claims several thousand mostly ethnic Albanian lives.

- March 24, 1999: NATO launches an air war against the Serb forces. At around the same time, Serb forces expel some 800,000 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. After 78 days, the NATO action ends and some 200,000 Serbs flee in fear of reprisals.

- March 17, 2004: NATO peacekeepers fail to quell three days of anti-Serb rioting by ethnic Albanians that leaves 19 dead.

- January 26, 2007: After leading about 13 months of mostly fruitless talks between Pristina and Belgrade, UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari presents a plan envisaging Kosovo's "internationally supervised" independence.

- December 10, 2007: Kosovo says it will begin talks with the United States and EU on independence after another round of talks ends in failure.

- February 17, 2008: Kosovo's ethnic Albanian-dominated parliament declares independence, which is rejected by Serbia and Russia.

- June, 2009: Kosovo joins the IMF and the World Bank.

- July 22, 2010: the top UN court gives its backing to Kosovo's independence declaration, saying it conformed to international law. Serbia says it will never recognise the move.

- September 10, 2010: The UN General Assembly passes a landmark resolution calling for dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

- December 12, 2010: Parlimentary elections are held in Kosovo. European observers say there were "serious allegations of fraud".

- March 8, 2011: Serbia, which wants to join the EU, and Kosovo, launch their first EU sponsored high-level direct talks since independence.

- September 10, 2012: Western powers end their supervision over Kosovo, with the territory assuming full sovereignty, which is rejected by ethnic Serbs in the north.

- October 19, 2012: First meeting between Serbian and Kosovo prime ministers Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci in Brussels as a part of ongoing EU-sponsored dialogue.

- November 29, 2012: Former prime minister and rebel chief Ramush Haradinaj is acquitted by the Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal of charges of war crimes during the 1990s conflict.

- February 6, 2013: The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo meet for the first time in talks mediated by the EU.

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