Kosovo becomes latest Muslim-majority country to recognise IsraelFebruary 1, 2021
Kosovo normalises relations with Israel – the latest Muslim-majority country to do so following the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan
- Kosovo has become the latest Muslim-majority country to recognise Israel
- The tiny Balkan state has pledged to set up its embassy in Jerusalem in a move at odds with Arab nations that have recently normalised relations with Israel
- The move will bolster Kosovo’s attempts to legitimise its independence from Serbia, which it declared in 2008
Kosovo has established diplomatic ties with Israel, becoming the latest Muslim-majority country to do so in a US-brokered deal.
The tiny Balkan state also recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a move that puts it at odds with the rest of the Islamic world.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his counterpart from Kosovo Meliza Haradinaj Stublla signed a joint declaration establishing ties in a ceremony held over Zoom on Monday.
Ashkenazi said he had approved Kosovo’s ‘formal request to open an embassy in Jerusalem’.
In a statement on January 29, Haradinaj-Stublla said: ‘Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for Kosovo, coming at a key moment for us, thanks to the United States of America, our common and eternal ally.’
Kosovo has established diplomatic ties with Israel, becoming the latest Muslim-majority country to do so in a US-brokered deal. Pictured: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (seated) and his counterpart from Kosovo Meliza Haradinaj Stublla (on screen) signed a joint declaration establishing ties in a ceremony held over Zoom on Monday
Kosovo, a tiny Balkan state, also recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a move that puts it at odds with the rest of the Islamic world. Pictured: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (left) signs a deal establishing ties with Kosovo
Last year, Israel inked a series of deals brokered by former US president Donald Trump to establish diplomatic relations with Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Those agreements, known collectively as the Abraham Accords, triggered criticism in many majority-Muslim countries which have previously shunned Israel in opposition to its illegal occupation of the West Bank, as well as Lebanese and Syrian territories, and its blockade of Gaza.
Arab parties to the Abraham Accords have all maintained that their diplomatic missions in Israel will be in Tel Aviv.
That position is in line with the global consensus against recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while the Palestinian conflict remains unresolved.
Jerusalem is disputed between Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel considers the entire city to be its capital, whereas the Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.
East Jerusalem has been occupied by Israel since 1967 but Jordan has control over Islamic holy sites throughout the city.
On December 6, 2017, Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and later moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, drawing condemnation from the majority of United Nation member states.
In September 2020, Trump announced at a summit originally organised to work towards long-stalled normalisation between Kosovo and its former war foe Serbia that Kosovo and Israel would establish diplomatic ties.
Kosovo also promised 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. Pictured: Israeli, US and Kosovar flags
The announcement, along with Serbia’s pledge to would follow Washington’s lead in moving its embassy to Jerusalem by June 2021, largely overshadowed the intended aim of the event.
Serbia has not yet moved its embassy, with some officials claiming the deal was non-binding.
Kosovo also promised 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.
As of September 2020, 98 out of 193 UN member states recognised Kosovo, including a majority of Western countries.
Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state, nor does its allies Russia and China.
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