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Kosovo says to establish diplomatic ties with Israel next week

In September, Trump announced at a summit originally organised to strike a deal between Kosovo and its former war foe Serbia that Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel would establish diplomatic ties

AFP , Friday 29 Jan 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters
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Kosovo and Israel will establish diplomatic relations next Monday, months after a US-brokered deal on mutual recognition, the foreign ministry in Pristina said on Friday.

In September, former US President Donald Trump announced at a summit originally organised to strike a deal between Kosovo and its former war foe Serbia that Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel would establish diplomatic ties.

"Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for the Republic of Kosovo", Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla said in a statement.

It "has been made possible thanks to our friend and eternal ally, the United States of America," she said.

Bitter rivals Kosovo and Serbia signed a deal that was branded "historic" on economic normalisation in Washington.

But the most eye-catching part of the summit was an announcement by Kosovo that it mutually recognise Israel and Serbia saying it would follow Washington's lead in moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

So far, however, Serbia has failed to honour its pledge, with some officials claiming the deal was non-binding.

Kosovo also said it was ready to set up its Israel mission in Jerusalem, in exchange for Israel's recognition, as it seeks to further legitimise its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and statehood.

The European Union has led the negotiations between Kosovo in Serbia for nearly a decade, without making significant progress.

In 2020, the US took the initiative in overseeing the talks in what many analysts saw as former US President Donald Trump's pre-election diplomatic offensive.

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