( AP ) - Talks on the future of Kosovo resumed Monday in Vienna, where international mediators were presenting rival Serbs and ethnic Albanians with a new list of conditions that envoys hope will "open a path to a solution."
The 14-point document, a copy of which was obtained Sunday by The Associated Press in Kosovo, does not explicitly mention independence.
But it assures Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority that Serbia "will not re-establish a physical presence in Kosovo." The breakaway province has been administered by the U.N. and NATO since 1999, when former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic sent in troops to crush a pro-independence rebellion.
It also says the international community will retain a civilian and military presence in Kosovo even after its status is worked out. About 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers still patrol the province, which formally remains a part of Serbia.
Ethnic Albanians - who make up 90 percent of the province's 2 million people - demand full independence, while Serbia offers only broad autonomy while insisting the province remain within its borders.
Representatives of the so-called troika - the U.S., Russia and the European Union - have been mediating talks seen as a final attempt at brokering a compromise.
EU representative Wolfgang Ischinger told reporters Monday that the new document was an attempt to shift "away from slogans and into the substance."
"We've entered a new phase in our effort toward a possible status solution," he said, but added: "I would be very surprised if it were going to be easy."
Ethnic Albanians have said that if there is no agreement by Dec. 10, the envoys' deadline to report back to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, they will unilaterally declare independence for Kosovo.
Serbian leaders have repeatedly rejected Kosovo's moves toward independence, and have promised everything short of military action to keep the province as part of Serbia. Kosovo's leaders, meanwhile, have refused to moderate their demands for full independence.
Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has said that if independence is granted, it would bring protracted instability to the region and that Serbia would be forced to retaliate, although he didn't say how.
Although the U.S. strongly supports independence and has signaled it would recognize such a declaration, its European allies have expressed serious misgivings about recognizing any new state if the U.N. Security Council has not done so.
A previous attempt to negotiate Kosovo's final status collapsed earlier this year, when Serbia and Russia rejected a U.N.-brokered plan to grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence.
The 14-point plan to be discussed Monday bears a close resemblance to the U.N. plan drafted by special envoy Martti Ahtisaari.
In Kosovo's capital, Pristina, senior ethnic Albanian negotiator Vetyon Surroi said the document "is about raising the quality of the discussion."
"It will certainly be an interesting debate," he said.
Serbian officials did not immediately comment on the document, which includes the blunt provision: " Belgrade will not govern Kosovo."
Belgrade's B-92 radio said Serbia had "reservations" about the text but would not make them public before the latest round of talks, which were to be held behind closed doors at the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
The mediators' document says Belgrade should not hinder Kosovo's membership in international financial institutions or have a say over its finances.
It makes no mention of whether Kosovo would have its own foreign policy. Serbia's past offers to Kosovo's Albanians have not included a seat at the United Nations or control over defense and foreign policies.
The document calls on Kosovo's Albanian leadership to implement "broad measures to enhance the welfare" of the province's minority Serbs, and on both sides to set up common bodies aimed at boosting cooperation.