Sunday February 17 2008
Who lives there now?
The population of just under two million is split between an Albanian majority who call the country Kosova and a Serb minority who regard is as part of Serbia and call it Kosovo. Before the war of 1998-1999 it was Serbia's southern province, and remains culturally important for Serbs. Some 120,000 ethnic Serbs live in Kosovo, many next to the border with Serbia. Half of that number live under Nato protection in scattered enclaves south of the Ibar river.
What was the war about?
A rising Albanian independence movement collided with strong Serbian nationalistic sentiment over Kosovo. When a peaceful Albanian independence movement got nowhere, the Kosovo Liberation Army emerged. Attacks and Serb police reprisals followed, until the international community became involved. A 78-day bombing campaign by Nato led to an escalation of Serb-on-Albanian violence, but attacks on Belgrade forced it to back down.