Kosovo Peace Accord Nancy PayteXYZ College of Arts Kosovo Peace Accord Kosovo is the southern province of Yugoslavia and is spread over an area of approximately 4300 miles; of the two million population, 90% are Muslims and 10% are Serbs. The Muslims had been demanding independence for the past few years but the Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosovic played the butcher's role by shelling and destroying valleys of the Albanian Muslims. The Serbs, under his orders, committed heinous crimes, which included gang rapes of Muslim women and torturing thousands of Kos overs to death. The world condemned Serb atrocities but Milosovic was unmoved and continued his brutal behavior. When the situation got worsened, the European Council and the NATO took a serious note of it. NATO threatened Yugoslavia with air strikes if Milosovic did not come to terms.

Peace talks were arranged in France and draft of the peace Agreement was prepared. The Kosovo Albanians signed an international peace plan in 1999 but Milosovic did not sign it, and consequently NATO gave March 24, 1999 as the deadline to Milosovic to sign the peace plan failing which Yugoslavia would face NATO air strikes. NATO started its air strike when Milosevic failed to sign the peace accord by March 24, 1999. It bombed civil and military targets all over the Yugoslavia, which included military installations, oil refineries, ammunition stores, airfields, Radio and T. V. Stations etc.

These air strikes continued for 79 days till 10 June 1999, but during this period, the Serb atrocities continued, which forced about half the Muslim population (Muslim Albanians) to leave Kosovo and seek refuge in Albania and Macedonia. Apart from supporting NATO, the United Nations also helped the refugees by providing them food and shelter. The NATO strikes inflicted heavy damages upon Yugoslavia, which forced Milosovic to accept the international peace plan. With the acceptance of the peace plan by Belgrade, the 79 days NATO bombing was temporarily suspended on 10 June 1999. Simultaneously the Serb troops were withdrawn, and NATO and Yugoslavia military commanders held talks in Macedonia to implement the peace terms. The Serb troops were replaced by the UN peacekeeping force (KFOR); thus, began the 'Operation Joint Guardian' aiming at the return and rehabilitation of Kosovo refugees in Kosovo.

It was a huge and challenging task as the province of Kosovo was badly damaged due to the war. The UN Security Council, on 10 June 1999, had adopted the peace plan for Kosovo by 14-0 votes which asked for the replacement of the Serb forces by the 50, 000 peace-keeping force (KFOR) in Kosovo. The KFOR consisted of contingents from 30 countries and was organized in five geographical sectors under a unified NATO command. The 'Operation Joint Guardian' helped the Albanian Muslims to return to their destroyed homes. It is important to note the role played by the USSR in the process. When the UN peace-keeping forces entered Kosovo, they were surprised to see that the Russian troops had already took up positions at the Pristine airport, which was against their earlier commitment.

Later, an agreement was reached between the US and USSR according to which the Russians agreed to work under the unified KFOR command. This agreement paved the way for the Kosovo liberation Army (KLA) to contribute to the post war disarmament initiatives. Kosovo's separatist earlier had demanded that the Russians be placed under the KFOR command failing which they would not disarm themselves. Following the successful resolution of the operations of Russian troops under KFOR command, KLA signed on accord with KFOR on the demilitarization and phased disarmament of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Kosovo.

The agreement provided for cease-fire, disengagement from the zones of conflict, demilitarization and integration into the civil society. Ultimately, the control of KLA on the weapons depots would be transferred to KFOR within a period of four months in phases. The positive and constructive role played by KLA was applauded worldwide. References.