The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in 1918. Its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941 was resisted by various paramilitary bands, which fought each other as well as the invaders. The group, headed by Marshal Tito, took control of the region upon German expulsion in 1945. Although communist, his new government and its successors managed to steer their own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for nearly 45 years. In the early 1990s, post-Tito Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines. Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were recognized as independent states in 1992. Slobodan Milosevic tried to bring them under his control by force but failed.
The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new 'Federal Republic of Yugoslavia' (FRY) in April 1992. Trouble started in 1998 in Serbia's southern province Kosovo, which resulted in military intervention by the international community. NATO bombed Serbia and after the truce, an international peacekeeping force - United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) - was stationed in Kosovo. Federal elections in the fall of 2000 brought about the ouster of the then President Slobodan Milosevic and installed Vojislav Kostunica as President. Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to be tried for crimes against humanity. He died in his cell, undergoing trial at the Hague, on 11 March 2006. He is buried in Serbia.
In 2001, FRY was readmitted to the UN and its organizations under the name of Yugoslavia. Kosovo has been governed by the UNMIK since June 1999, under the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. In 2002, the Serbian and Montenegrin components of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) began negotiations to forge a looser relationship. These talks became a reality in February 2003 when the lawmakers, with the active mediation of the EU, restructured the country into a loose Union of two republics called the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (SCG). An agreement was also reached to permit a referendum in each republic in three years on full independence. The referendum took place on 21 May 2006 and as a result Montenegro separated from Serbia and became an independent sovereign state on 3 June, 2006.
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