Kosovo is a province of Serbia-Montenegro, encompassing 10,900sq km - about the size of Belgium - bordering Albania and Macedonia.
The provincial capital is Pristina.
Serbia-Montenegro, with its capital in Belgrade, is a union of the former republics of Serbia and Montenegro that replaced Yugoslavia when that country broke up in the early 1990s.
About two million. Ninety per cent are ethnic Albanian; most of the remaining 10% are Serb.
Kosovo has been run by the UN and Nato since 1999, when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic's forces were ousted after a Nato air war ended his crackdown on
independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.
Ethnic Albanians, who say they are descendants of Kosovo's first inhabitants, want Kosovo to become an independent state. Serbs want the province to revert to tighter integration within the Serbia-Montenegro union.
Serbs consider Kosovo the birthplace of their identity, as it was the scene of an epic battle between Serbs and Turks in 1389 CE.