With little hope of success, Serb and Kosovan leaders have begun last-ditch talks in Austria over the future of the breakaway province.
The two sides are completely opposed and a compromise is not seen as likely in this latest and final round of discussions.
Counting on Western support, the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo has threatened to declare independence from Serbia when mediation officially ends on December 10.
Belgrade, with the backing of Russia, refuses to let Kosovo go. Moscow says it will insist on further negotiations beyond the December date when mediators must report to the UN.
Kosovo has been under the wing of the United Nations since the 1999 war with Serbia.
Serbia has drawn up an action plan in case of a unilateral declaration of independence.
Analysts predict roadblocks, obstruction of trade and electricty supplies and possibly the establishment of Serbian-controlled areas in Kosovo, as happened in Bosnia and Croatia 16 years ago.