Sunday, 28 Feb 2021 - 16 of Adar, 5781

Muslim-majority Kosovo establish diplomatic relations with Israel

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Kosovo also agreed to open its embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the third nation to do so after the United States and Guatemala.

Israel and Kosovo have officially established diplomatic relations in a ceremony held via Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signed the agreement, which was then scanned and sent to his counterpart in Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, who was joined by representatives of Kosovo’s Jewish community for the event.

The two ministers signed two cooperation agreements, one setting the diplomatic relations and the other relating to the activities of Israel’s international development agency Mashav.

The ceremony ended with the unveiling of a sign that will hang at the entrance to the future Kosovar embassy in Jerusalem. Kosovo also agreed to open its embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the third nation to do so after the United States and Guatemala.

“The establishment of relations between Israel and Kosovo is an important and moving historical step that reflects the many changes the region has experienced in recent months,” said Ashkenazi. “Today, Kosovo officially joins the circle of countries that aspire to peace and stability and recognize Israel, and Jerusalem as its capital.”

Kosovo becomes the latest Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel, following the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords with several Arab states in the fall of 2020.

The decision on mutual recognition between Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel was achieved last September at a summit of Kosovo-Serbia leaders at the White House in the presence of then-President Donald Trump.

At the meeting Belgrade also agreed to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something it hasn’t done so far.

Israel last year inked a series of deals brokered by former US President Donald Trump to establish diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Kosovo had not recognized Israel so far not because its Muslim majority was opposed to it, but because Israel had not recognized Kosovo yet, either. Ironically, Israel refused to recognize Kosovo because it did not want to support a unilateral declaration of statehood, which Jerusalem feared could create a dangerous precedent followed by the Palestinians.

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