The 90 per cent ethnic Albanian majority region is widely expected to declare independence on Sunday.
 
Serbian warning
 
Serbia has urged the UN Security Council to oppose Kosovo's declaration of independence, saying it will do everything to stop the secession short of using violence.
 
The call came as the council held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of the province.
 
Highlighting the tensions in the region over the province's intention to secede, Serbian police reported an explosion on Thursday in a northern border town divided between Serbs and Albanians.
 
Police said early reports show that the explosion in Mitrovica was near the site earmarked as the base of the future European Union mission.
 

Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia's prime minister, said an independent Kosovo would be a "puppet state" that would be a great humiliation for his country.

 

In New York, Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian foreign minister, warned the Security Council that any endorsement of independence for Kosovo would be "a disaster of unfathomable proportions".

 

"Not now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never"

Vuk Jeremic, Serbian foreign minister

Jeremic said Serbia, like its close ally Russia, saw Kosovo's planned secession as a violation of international law and would never accept it.

 

"We shall never recognise Kosovo's independence. Not now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never," he said.

 

"For Kosovo and Metohija shall remain a part of Serbia forever."

 

The closed-door security council meeting was called by Russia at Serbia's request.

 

'Null and void'

 

Jeremic said the government would move to declare Pristina's act of declaring independence "null and void".

 

The province is just days away from
declaring its independence [AFP]
"We shall undertake all diplomatic, political, and economic measures designed to impede and reverse this direct and unprovoked attack on our sovereignty."

 

But he ruled out using violence, vowing to "bring a peaceful settlement to the Kosovo crisis".

 

But Serbia's threats and Moscow's disapproval appear to have done little to derail plans in Kosovo, where Hashim Thaci, the prime minister, has given strong indications that independence will be declared in the coming days.

 

The security council is deeply divided on the issue of Kosovo's future, with Russia opposed to the secession while Britain, France and most members of the European Union support the Kosovo Albanians, who constitute 90 per cent of the population in the province.