With Kosovo expected to declare its independence on Sunday (17 February), Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told the UN Security Council that his country would never tolerate a "breach of its territorial integrity" and threatened sanctions.

"Not now. Not next year. Not in ten years," Jeremic told the UN’s highest organ, which had convened for an urgency session on 14 February upon Serbia's request. 

Serbia would take "all diplomatic, political and economic measures" to avert and reverse such a "direct and unprovoked attack on our territorial integrity," Jeremic told the Security Council, without giving further details. 

Foreign Minister Jeremic cautioned that Kosovo's independence may lead "to an uncontrolled cascade of secession," adding that it was "not too late" for diplomats to prevent such a step. 

For Serbia, "there would be no greater humiliation, if it in any way signed or agreed to this puppet state," Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told the Serbian daily Glas Javnosti ahead of the UN session in New York. 

His divided government coalition closed ranks in its refusal to accept Kosovo's secession. "All acts and activities of provisional authorities in Kosovo unilaterally declaring independence will be declared null and void for breaching the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia," the coalition declared in a statement on 14 February. 

But the Security Council session on 14 February showed that its members are largely supportive of Kosovo's independence. 

Ahead of Kosovo's declaration of independence, the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (Kfor) has stepped up its patrols and state of alert in case of clashes between Serbs and Albanians. The latter account for about 95 percent of the province's population of 2.1 million.