Kosovo and Israel feel they have made history twice. On the one hand, they have established diplomatic relations. On the other, the agreement has been signed by Zoom in an unusual ceremony in diplomacy but forced by the coronavirus. The diplomatic and virtual connection, maintained this Monday between Pristina and Jerusalem, is the result of months of dialogue following the announcement of bilateral relations made by former US President Donald Trump in early September.
“We share a historical bond,” said the Kosovar Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj, highlighting that both countries made “a long and challenging road to exist as a people and become states.” His wish is that the alliance has important effects in various fields, especially the economic, technological, and cultural. “We defend the same values of democracy and freedom,” he added.
On the other side of the screen, his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi spoke of a “historic moment” and stressed that the Kosovo embassy will be in Jerusalem expected to be at the end of March. In this way, it will become the third country – and the first with a Muslim majority – to have its diplomatic headquarters in Jerusalem after the United States and Guatemala. A step criticized by the Palestinian leadership that aspires to declare the capital of its future state in the eastern part of the city occupied by Israel in the war of ’67.This agreement is an important and exciting step in diplomatic relations between us.
In our conversation, the Foreign Minister emphasized Kosovo’s commitment to recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” Ashkenazi said. He also revealed that Haradinaj told him about his program to promote the remembrance and tribute to the victims of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, the preservation of Jewish graves, and the opening of a Jewish cultural center in Kosovo. The two sides today recalled the action of the Albanians who saved Jews during the Holocaust and the reception of Kosovar refugees by Israel. The US and the vast majority of Western countries recognized the independence of Kosovo declared unilaterally in 2008 despite strong opposition from Serbia. Among the countries that have not recognized Kosovo are Russia, Spain, and China.
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The virtual link had as witnesses on Monday representatives of the Jewish community of Kosovo and American diplomats. It is no coincidence since the officialization of relations was announced by Trump on September 4 in the framework of the economic agreement that he promoted between Serbia and Kosovo. On that day, he also proclaimed that Serbia would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to holy and disputed Jerusalem. A step that Belgrade has not yet taken by maintaining its diplomatic representation in the Israeli coastal city like the vast majority of countries. Ashkenazi expressed his desire for the “stability of the Balkans” reiterating that Israel considers Serbia a close partner in that area.
Like the Israeli, Haradinaj did not forget to quote the powerful mutual friend: “Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for Kosovo and comes at a crucial moment for us thanks to the United States, our common and eternal ally.” The minister recently spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to verify the support of the new US president Joe Biden for the diplomatic and economic agreement with Israel with Serbia.Congratulations to Israel and Kosovo for the formal establishment of diplomatic relations.
This is a historic day. When our partners are united, the United States is stronger. Deepening international ties helps promote peace and stability in the Balkans and the Middle East. “US diplomacy spokesman Ned Price tweeted. The establishment of relations between Israel and Kosovo was part of the diplomatic campaign of the White House, under the leadership of Trump and his adviser Jared Kushner, who since August has made possible the normalization of relations between the Jewish state and four Arab countries. : United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Everything indicates that Biden will continue to promote rapprochement between Israel and the Persian Gulf countries – with the great unknown of Saudi Arabia – while trying to reactivate the forgotten and paralyzed peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.