Negotiators may not even sit around the same table
The Kosovo peace talks at Rambouillet chateau near Paris will bring to gether a heady mix of hardline Serb socialists, academics, editors and former political prisoners.
Among the Serb negotiators there are five notable allies of President Slobodan Milosevic. The eight others are representatives of smaller Kosovo communities - Muslims, ethnic Turks, pro-Serb ethnic Albanians and Gypsies.
Analysts consider the composition of the Serb team indicates that Serbia will insist on its stand that ethnic Albanians, although they form 90% of Kosovo's population, should have no more rights in the province than other ethnic groups.
Ratko Markovic: Close to President Slobodan Milosevic
Ratko Markovic: Serbian Deputy Prime Minister. Delegate President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party and from Mr Milosevic's home town Pozarevac. Professor of law and constitutional expert.
Nikola Sainovic: Federal Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister, also a delegate from the Socialist Party. Metallurgist and former minister of economy. Main point of contact on Kosovo for the international community, handling negotiations on the exchange of prisoners and ceasefires.
Denied US accusations based on alleged wire-taps, that he authorised the attack on Racak village last month, in which 45 ethnic Albanians were killed by Serbian police.
Vladan Kutlesic: Federal Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister.
Vladimir Stambuk: Serbian Deputy Speaker.
Vojislav Zivkovic: Chairman of the Socialist Party's branch in Kosovo.
Guljbehar Sabovic: Member of the Kosmet Provisional
Refik Senadovic: Representative of the Muslim national
Zejnelabidin Kurejs: Representative of the Turk
national community and Turkish Democratic Party.
Ibro Vait: Representative of Goranies national
Faik Jasari: President of the Kosovo Democratic
Initiative (ethnic Albanian political party).
Sokolj Cuse: President of Democratic Reform Party of
Ljuan Koka: Representative of the Romanian national
community and president of Co-ordinating Council of the Yugoslav
Association of Romanies.
Cerim Abazi: Representative of the Egyptian national
Ethnic Albanian delegation
The ethnic Albanians, deeply divided, have 16 delegates, including:
Ibrahim Rugova: Advocate of non-violent approach
Ibrahim Rugova: Leader of the Kosovar Albanian community, President of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo since 1992 and re-elected in 1998.
Writer who was partly educated in Paris. Adopted a non-violent approach in the struggle to achieve independence for Kosovo.
Under increasing criticism from more radical forces for the apparent failure of his policy and for his reluctance to include in the Kosovar Albanian leadership those who disagree with his policies.
Fehmi Agani: Mr Rugova's long-standing lieutenant. Regarded as the brains behind the dominant ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK). A professor of philosophy. Appointed by Mr Rugova last year to head the Albanian negotiating team in the abortive talks on finding a settlement.
Veton Surroi: Much-travelled publisher and journalist with excellent contacts in Western capitals. Known for his pragmatic views and ability to stay out of the faction-fighting among the ethnic Albanian parties.
Revolutionised Kosovo's Albanian-language publishing in recent years with his successful daily and weekly newspapers and has recently started up a radio station.
Rexhep Qosja: Respected academic who has long been arguing in favour of a greater Albania, bringing together in one state Albanians from Albania, Kosovo and ethnic Albanians in neighbouring countries. Formed the United Democratic Movement last year to bring together Mr Rugova's radical opponents but on the eve of the talks he held a reconciliation meeting with him.
Jakup Krasniqi: Ex-teacher from the guerrilla stronghold of the Drenica region west of Pristina. Emerged into the limelight last year as the KLA's spokesman.
Ram Buja: Former member of the presidency of Mr Rugova's LDK. Senior KLA official as director for civilian affairs of its general staff.
Some of the main characters of the Kosovo conflict are not present at the Rambouillet talks.
Slobodan Milosevic: Yugoslav President. Used the ethnic tension of Kosovo, highlighting the grievances of the provinces small Serb minority, to become the supreme leader of Serbia in 1989. Abolished Kosovo's autonomy in 1989.
During peace negotiations in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995, he abandoned Serb claims for a Greater Serbia and was rewarded with a partial lifting of the international sanctions that had crippled the Serbian economy since 1991.
Adem Demaci: "The Albanian Mandela" who spent 27 years in gaol for criticising Serbian rule in Kosovo. Over the past three years
has become the best-known critic of Rugova's non-confrontational approach.
He became the first prominent Kosovar Albanian politician to support the KLA and became its political representative last year. However, the KLA general staff has ignored his recommendation to stay away from the peace talks.